QMB signs up Spirogen as latest tenant
QMB Innovation Centre,
Novel cancer therapies firm joins London’s fastest growing life science, healthcare and technology hub
The Queen Mary BioEnterprises (QMB) Innovation Centre, London’s first completely new build facility for early stage start-up and follow on life sciences and biotechnology companies, is pleased to announce the chemistry division of Spirogen, a biotech drug development company developing novel cancer therapies, as their newest tenant. .
Spirogen, which was founded in 2000, has one oncology drug, SG2000 currently in Phase II clinical trials and a proprietary potent Antibody-Drug Conjugate (ADC) technology platform that has been partnered with a number of companies including Genentech and ADC Therapeutics.
The QMB Innovation Centre is able to provide both conventional incubator and grow on space in London. Through the combination of its initial base build infrastructure design and the subsequent overlay of commercial lab fit-outs, QMB can offer both chemistry and biology category 2 laboratory and office suites. This flexibility has allowed Spirogen suites to be equipped with eight low electricity consumption chemistry fume hoods which were installed in a joint design programme with QMB.
Ramsay Richmond, Executive manager of QMB commented: “We are very pleased that Spirogen have found with us, modern and affordable commercial chemistry labs inside London. Spirogen had specific discovery chemistry needs, but the Innovation Centre was able to accommodate these in a joint fit-out, illustrating the strength of a modern, easily reconfigurable building. This validates the faith of both funders, QMUL and the GLA, in supporting an infrastructure intensive building inside London.”
Dr Chris Martin, CEO of Spirogen said: “The state of the art facilities offered by QMB will have a significant impact as we progress our various programmes and technologies. The ability of QMB to provide office space alongside laboratory space, which has been tailored for our specific needs, was a key factor in our decision to come here.”
For more information on QMB Innovation Centre please visit: www.qmbioenterprises.com
For further information
Queen Mary BioEnterprises (QMB) Innovation Centre
Ramsay Richmond, Executive Manager
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8950
Tony Stephenson, PR Consultant
Tel: +44 (0) 7899 796655
Notes to Editors
About Queen Mary BioEnterprises Limited (“QMB” or “the Innovation Centre”)
The QMB Innovation Centre provides state of the art, customisable laboratory and office space within minutes of The City of London.
QMB provides business incubation support for new ventures and aims to become a hub for science and technology entrepreneurs in London. It provides all its clients with access to the wide range of professional services required when spinning a company out of academia and supports them through the critical phases of their development. The Innovation Centre’s proximity to the City of London means that it is well placed for clients to meet with the UK investment community and other advisers.
The 39,000 square foot facility comprises three floors of high specification work space for start up science and technology businesses. Lab designs are based on varied write up / laboratory split, and have been designed with a sophisticated air filtration system to house both microbiological safety cabinets and chemistry fume cupboards. This makes QMB an ideal location for both very early stage start ups as well as more established companies looking to expand. The Innovation Centre has a 120 seat lecture theatre and regularly hosts seminars and conferences which aim to promote the growth of the biotechnology industry in the UK.
QMB’s keystone tenant is Retroscreen Virology Ltd, a virology contract research organisation, whose bespoke facilities in the Innovation Centre include laboratory space and capacity to run clinical trials. QMB signed three other tenants in 2011, iGene, MediWiSe, and Duvas who are currently housed on the first floor.
The QMB Innovation Centre is a wholly owned company of Queen Mary, University of London. It is the culmination of a four-year capital investment partnership between Queen Mary and the London Development Agency.
Notes to editors:
About Spirogen Limited
Spirogen Limited (“Spirogen”) was founded in 2001 as a spin-out from several institutions including University College, London. It is majority owned by Celtic Therapeutics.It has developed a novel class of highly potent cytotoxic warheads based on its proprietary pyrrolobenzodiazepines (“PBD’s”), DNA minor groove binding agents, which bind and cross-link specific sites of DNA of the cancer cell. This blocks the cancer cells’ division without distorting its DNA helix, thus avoiding the common phenomenon of emergent drug resistance. In contrast, many cancer chemotherapeutics distort the structure of DNA resulting in the ability of the cancer cells to develop resistance to further therapy. Spirogen has been developing its PBD technology for more than ten years, including a standalone PBD agent already in an NCI-sponsored Phase II study in cisplatin resistant ovarian cancer. Its business model is to partner its technology with pharma and biotech for use in the development of novel drugs. It has a number of industry collaborations, including collaborations with Genentech announced in 2011 and with ADC Therapeutics announced in 2012. For further information, please visit Spirogen's website, www.spirogen.com
About Antibody Drug Conjugates
ADCs are highly targeted drug constructs which combine monoclonal antibodies specific to particular types of tumor cells with potent cytotoxic agents (warheads). The antibodies bind to specific receptors (antigens) on the surface of the target cell. Once inside the target cell the cytotoxic agent is released, killing the cell directly. This minimizes the impact on normal, healthy tissues and significantly reduces the side effects associated with chemotherapy treatments. ADCs have extensive potential therapeutic applications in several disease areas, particularly in cancer. This is evidenced by the publication of very promising efficacy data by several pharmaceutical companies including Genentech, and the recent FDA approval of a novel anti-cancer ADC, Adcetris, developed by Seattle Genetics for the treatment of lymphomas. The principle can also be applied beyond antibodies, with the possibility of linking warheads to antibody fragments, peptides, vitamins and hormones.