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Selkirk-based Ryboquin buys English partner after £4.45m fund raising

Updated: Jul 24, 2018

By Victoria Masterson

12:08, 19 JUL 2018

Scottish Business Insider magazine www.insider.co.uk

https://www.insider.co.uk/news/ryboquin-acquires-nanogenic-gene-therapy-12945906

Alan Walker of Nanogenics (right) with the University of Strathclyde’s professor of pharmacy practice, Alexander Mullen

Combined business aims to revolutionise gene therapy


A Scottish biotech firm backed by funders including Sir Brian Souter has acquired its English partner after raising more than £4m from shareholders.


Selkirk-based Ryboquin, which was founded in 2013, said its combination with West Sussex-based Nanogenic Solutions would revolutionise gene therapy - the process of replacing missing or defective genes to correct genetic disorders. There are thought to be around 8,000 diseases caused by mutations in genes, from cancers to cystic fibrosis.


Ryboquin raised £4.45m in its third funding round from new and existing shareholders to acquire Nanogenic Solutions. Stagecoach founder Sir Brian Souter and home improvements entrepreneur Brian Kennedy, who has bought and sold several companies including double-glazing brand Everest, took part in a £1.8m funding round at Ryboquin last year alongside business angel group TRI Capital and Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.

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“I am thrilled we have been able to combine these two businesses," said Alan Walker, chief executive of the enlarged business, which will be called Nanogenics.


"It will offer real hope to those millions of patients living with diseases who have been unable to benefit from the advances in gene therapy because, until now, it has been so difficult to safely deliver the correct gene therapy to the right target. That can now change and we are already working with six major biotech companies who want to access this exciting delivery mechanism.”


The new business hopes to make advances in the safe, effective and regular dosing of all forms of gene therapy. Currently viruses and liposomes are used in this process, which have limited applications, severe side-effects and expensive technical problems.


Nanogenics is developing LipTide, a protein based nanoparticle which mimics natural viruses, but by-passes the many problems of viral delivery. The ability to regularly dose gene therapy payloads with LipTide could revolutionise the approach to gene therapy, the company said.

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As well as working with partners to deliver their gene therapy programmes, Nanogenics is developing its own product pipeline using the LipTide delivery platform. The lead programme, LipTide-ECP102, on which Nanogenics has US and EU patents, dramatically enhances chemotherapy and radiotherapy. A clinical trial is planned at the Christie Hospital Manchester in 2020. Currently LipTide-ECP102 is being scaled up to an industrial batch in collaboration with Strathclyde University.


“We have worked hard and convinced investors of the huge potential of LipTide and we plan to grow the company quickly to a stage where we can take it public as soon as that is feasible," said Nanogenics executive chairman Paul Murray.


"This is a great opportunity to generate real value by offsetting the high risk high return of product development with the amazing potential for multiple licence deals for the revolutionary LipTide platform. It is very rewarding to be involved in the cutting edge of medical science.”


Ryboquin was spun out of Edinburgh-based medicine developer Ectopharma in 2013 and focuses on commercialising patented intellectual property relating to the delivery of gene therapy, primarily to cancer patients. The company's aims include making chemotherapy four times more effective than current treatments.


The combined business will have five employees alongside consultants and an advisory board.

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