Published: Sep 28, 2023
Focus: Growth Capital
The Maven VCTs have participated in the £13.5 million seed funding round for Stevenage based Laverock Therapeutics Limited (Laverock), a pre-clinical drug discovery company which has developed a gene silencing platform for the creation of next generation cell therapies focusing on diabetes and solid tumour immunotherapy.
Laverock is a spin-out from Tropic Biosciences, a biotechnology business that has successfully developed and commercialised its proprietary Gene Editing induced Gene Silencing (GEiGS®) platform in plants, with a focus on improved varieties of tropical crops that are easier to cultivate and healthier for people and the planet. Laverock has an exclusive license to utilise its innovative GEiGS platform in all human therapeutics and has demonstrated that these cellular engineering capabilities are stable, tunable and programmable in mammalian cells, offering improved efficacy and safety and addressing many of the limitations of existing approaches of cell therapies.
Cell and gene (C&G) therapy research has increased exponentially in recent years, offering longer lasting effects and potentially even curing certain inherited disorders as well as treating cancers or infections. However, C&G therapies have several limitations, the most notable being unwanted immune system reaction. Laverock’s uniquely programmable therapies can potentially address many of these challenges including minimising or preventing an unwanted immune response.
The funding will enable further development of the GEiGS technology and progression of its programmes in regenerative medicine and immuno-oncology, with a focus on Type I Diabetes and solid tumour responsive T-cell and macrophage based immune therapies, through to in vitro and in vivo validation. A key part of this next phase will be bringing on new members of the team and expanding lab facilities.
“GEiGS is already showing significant potential to transform the safety and efficacy of advanced therapies and we are excited that this new investment will allow us to progress towards pre-clinical candidate selection. We’re pleased to welcome such an experienced group of investors on board, bringing extensive sector expertise which will help us to grow as a company and accelerate the development of targeted, responsive treatments.”
David Venables, CEO of Laverock
“Laverock represents an exciting opportunity for our VCT investors to back proven entrepreneurs who have the collective skills and experience to capitalise on the undoubted potential the GEiGS platform has in advancing global C&G therapy in humans. The business is led by a highly experienced management team that I supported in their previous venture another gene and cell therapy technology company which they grew and successfully exited. Laverock has shown that its technology can be used to change the way we address difficult to treat diseases, with the potential to become the cornerstone of the next generation of cell therapies.”
Alexandra Lindsay, Investment Director at Maven