VirionHealth Ltd, a new biotechnology company developing novel therapeutics for respiratory viral infections, today announced that it has raised up to £13 million in Series A funding from Abingworth, the international investment group dedicated to life sciences.
VirionHealth, founded on pioneering research by Professors Nigel Dimmock and Andrew Easton at the University of Warwick’s School of Life Sciences, is a world leader in the development of precisely engineered, non-infectious, defective interfering particles. This new class of biological antiviral acts by outcompeting replication of infectious viruses to both prevent and treat viral infections.
VirionHealth is exploiting this technology to develop the first broad-spectrum therapy, potentially simplifying and accelerating treatment by removing the need for differential diagnosis. Initially focusing on influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the technology combats a range of viruses with a single therapeutic agent. In addition, the technology is far less susceptible to resistance than other approaches due to its unique viral out-competition abilities and innate immune system stimulation.
Jeffrey Almond, formerly Vice President of Discovery Research and External Research and Development at Sanofi Pasteur, joins the company as Chairman of the Board, which also includes Nicola Thompson, whose previous roles include Vice President and Head of External Drug Discovery at F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, who joins as CEO; Laura Lane, COO; Peter Goodfellow, formerly Senior Vice President for Discovery Research at GlaxoSmithKline and an Advisor to Abingworth; John Shields, formerly Senior Vice President, Research, at Cantab Pharmaceuticals and an Advisor to Abingworth; and Tim Haines, Managing Partner of Abingworth.
“We are delighted to receive this support and will use the funds to advance our novel programmes into the clinic,” said Jeffrey Almond, Chairman of VirionHealth. “Upper respiratory tract infections remain an important unmet need which includes an estimated 1 billion cases of influenza across the globe each year.”
“We believe that VirionHealth’s novel technology has the potential to have a significant impact on the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases,” said Abingworth’s Tim Haines. “We look forward to working with the team to translate its research into important new medicines.”
- About VirionHealth
Founded in 2017, VirionHealth is developing a new class of biological antivirals to create improved therapeutics for respiratory viral infections. The company is focused on prevention and treatment of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). www.virionhealth.com
- About Abingworth
Abingworth is an international investment group dedicated to collaborating with life sciences entrepreneurs to develop their ideas into products that have a dramatic impact on health. With over $1 billion under management, Abingworth invests at all stages of development, from start-ups to publicly traded companies, and across all life science sectors.
Supporting its portfolio companies with a team of 27 at offices in London, Menlo Park (California) and Boston, Abingworth has invested in 144 life science companies, leading to 64 IPOs and 42 mergers and acquisitions. www.abingworth.com
- About Warwick
Founded on a unique collaboration between academia and business, the University of Warwick is one of the world’s leading research universities – ranked in the world’s Top 100 and the UK’s top 10, with the School of Life Sciences recognised as an international centre of excellence with more than 80% of research rated as 'world leading or internationally excellent' in the REF 2014 assessment.
Through Warwick Ventures, the University commercialises innovations produced through its research by supporting academics via a range of services, including technological development, IP licensing and the creation of spin-out companies that retain close ties to the University’s expertise.
12 October 2017
Dr Nicola Thompson, CEO
Email: nicola at virionhealth dot com
Victoria Stewart, Public Relations
Tel: +44 (0)20 7534 1500
Email: stewart at abingworth dot com
- University of Warwick
Tom Frew, Senior Press and Media Relations Manager
Tel: +44(0) 2476575910, +44 (0)7785433155
Email: a dot t dot frew at warwick dot ac dot uk