Oxford University biotech spin-out receives over £2 million to take its drug discovery programme to the next level.

Oxford Drug Design Limited (ODD), a biotechnology company with a proprietary computational and machine learning platform, has raised a combined £2.2M in funding from the Angel CoFund (ACF), o2h Ventures and other new investors, and grant funding from the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)’s UK-China research competition. This brings the firm’s total amount of grant and equity funding raised in 2019 to over £9M.

This growth capital will enable ODD to further its drug research and discovery efforts, with the DHSC grant specifically funding its latest project to develop cutting-edge solutions that will tackle critical issues of anti-microbial resistance (AMR) in humans and animals.

In partnership with the University of Portsmouth and Chinese partners Huazhong Agricultural University and Wuhan HVSEN Biotechnology Co. Ltd, this project aims to discover and develop novel small molecule drugs, traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs) and TCM components for the treatment of bacterial infections in pigs using an approach that minimizes the risk of development of resistance to antibiotics used for the treatment of people.

Earlier this year the firm recently won prestigious grants from CARB-X, a global partnership dedicated to accelerating antibacterial research to tackle the rising threat of drug-resistant bacteria, and another award from DHSC to advance its lead antibacterial project with a combined value of over £7M (https://carb-x.org/carb-x-news/carb-x-awards-oxford-drug-design-funding-to-develop-a-new-class-of-antibiotics-to-treat-drug-resistant-gram-negative-infections/).

Paul Finn, CEO of Oxford Drug Design said: ”This latest funding further validates our computational design-led focus that has enabled rapid progress in building our pipeline of novel antibiotic programmes. We are excited to be working with partners in the UK and China to develop a novel solution to the major challenge of supporting animal health without contributing to the rise of AMR in human infections, with potential benefits food production and human health worldwide.”

Tim Mills, Investment Director of the Angel CoFund said: “The team at Oxford Drug Design are advancing swiftly with their pioneering programme, and winning major international funding and attracting private equity funding provide strong validation of the work they are undertaking. Antimicrobial resistance is a growing issue for the global healthcare system which only a small number of innovative companies are working to solve, so we are delighted to support ODD’s pioneering efforts.”

The research at the University of Portsmouth is being led by microbiologist Dr Roger Draheim. He said “There is a degree of urgency to overcome increased resistance to many commonly prescribed drugs and it is very exciting to be working on developments that could directly limit the initial generation of resistance at its source. This funding also further lends credibility to our in-house small molecule high-throughput in vivo screening strategies.”

About Oxford Drug Design
Oxford Drug Design is based in Oxford, UK. Founded in 2001 as a spin-out company from the Oxford University Chemistry Department by its Chairman, Professor Graham Richards, the company has developed a suite of proprietary computer-aided drug design and machine learning technologies and unique 3D chemical database technologies. Oxford Drug Design applies these technologies to its internal drug discovery portfolio, which is focused on the anti-infective therapeutic area. These computer-aided design and machine learning methods enable the company to solve problems that have proven challenging to the industry, such as obtaining activity against drug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria.
To find out more please visit www.oxforddrugdesign.com.

About the Angel CoFund
Launched in 2011, the Angel CoFund (ACF) is a privately managed and commercially focused institution that works alongside groups of business angels to invest in high potential SMEs across the UK, directly providing funding as well as encouraging the expansion and development of the business angel market.

To date the ACF has supported almost 90 companies (for example Ebury, Gousto, Crowd Vision and Hopster) providing more than £45 million in direct investment alongside more than £250m from business angels and other investors, making it one of the most active early stage investors in the country.

The ACF is a long-term investor and, in aggregate, sets aside £1 of further capital for every £1 it invests. This model gives portfolio companies and co-investors the support they need to propel strong growth.

To find out more, please visit www.angelcofund.co.uk.