Domainex Ltd, a biopharmaceutical spin-out company from University College London, today announced that it has raised £1 million from Longbow Capital LLP, which specializes in healthcare and technology investments, and The Capital Fund, the £50 million regional venture capital fund for London. Longbow invested £790,000, bringing their total invested in the Company to £1.15m, and The Capital Fund invested £250,000.
Headquartered in London, Domainex is a contract research company specialising in the provision of structural biology and chemistry services to major pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms. The Company is also developing a pipeline of pre-clinical drugs and targets.
The vast amount of information available in the post-genomic era means that many highly attractive protein targets are now known to the pharmaceutical industry but lack of protein prevents their use in drug discovery. Domainex has closed this 'discovery gap' with its unique Combinatorial Domain Hunting ("CDH") technology which enables the cloning and expression of proteins, or parts of proteins (domains), from challenging molecular targets. The proteins are then screened to select soluble, stable protein domains that are ideal reagents for use in drug discovery programmes.
Domainex has already used its CDH protein expression platform to successfully tackle a series of difficult target proteins and has fulfilled commercial contracts with a number of major pharmaceutical companies, such as leading global firm, UCB.
Domainex also provides comprehensive chemistry services to biotech and pharmaceutical firms involved in drug discovery through its subsidiary NCE Discovery, which has laboratories on the Cambridge Science Park, and is managed by Research Director, Dr Trevor Perrior, a highly experienced scientist who has been responsible for the discovery of several medicines.
The Company plans to use the new funding to develop its CDH technology and NCE Discovery chemistry services businesses. It will also seek to commercialise its drug discovery projects by forging alliances with pharmaceutical partners to develop novel drugs and by early out-licensing of key discoveries such as X-ray structures.
Dr Eddy Littler, Chief Executive Officer of Domainex, said: "We are delighted to have attracted this investment, particularly in a challenging fundraising environment. Our objective now is to realize the full value of our unique biology and build a portfolio of targets that we will out-license to clients - at an early stage, in the case of key reagents and X-ray crystal structures, and at a later stage with our associated lead series of inhibitors."
Domainex's portfolio will have an initial focus on targets for cancer treatments and the Company has started to discuss these targets with pharmaceutical companies with a view to future out-licensing.
Commenting on the fundraising, Dr Littler added: "We have worked closely with Edward Rudd and the Longbow team since their initial investment and it is a great endorsement to have them re-investing on this round. We also welcome The Capital Fund on board as new investors - Ian Cameron has been very supportive of our plans as we move into our next stage of development."
Edward Rudd, Co-founder and Partner at Longbow Capital, said: "The combination of unique CDH technology and its NCE Discovery chemistry expertise gives Domainex a strong competitive advantage and this is further supplemented by the Company's highly skilled management team. We are delighted with the progress achieved by Eddy Littler and his team and pleased to support Domainex with the additional funding needed to expand the contract services business and progress commercialization of the drug discovery projects."
Ian Cameron, Investment Director at The Capital Fund, said: "We are pleased to have the opportunity to invest in Domainex. The application of the Company's CDH platform and strengths in medicinal chemistry could play a key role in reducing drug discovery timelines."