Kelvin lead £1.1m investment in ProFactor Pharma after breakthrough in bid to end haemophilia drug shortage
Edinburgh life sciences firm ProFactor Pharma (PFP) has secured the £1.1 million second part of a funding round after its research into haemophilia treatment surpassed expectations.
PFP believes it can significantly reduce the cost of producing human factor VIII (rhFVIII), a complex protein which induces blood clotting. There is a severe worldwide shortage of the conventional treatment for haemophilia A.
The Scottish firm has developed a cell line which produces the protein at a far higher rate than is possible at present.
Optimisation testing of its technology has since produced yields far greater than those expected and will now progress to toxicology studies. The company also plans to launch a series A funding round next year.
The World Federation of Haemophilia says there are more than 400,000 sufferers of haemophilia A worldwide but only 173,000 being treated. Annual sales of rhFVIII are worth $6 billion.
PHP, based outside Edinburgh at the Easter Bush Campus, was founded in 2009 by Professor J H McVey of the University of Surrey and Dr Ian Garner of the University of New South Wales. It received the first £900,000 of the funding round in September 2019) to advance its R&D programme.
Jaymin Amin from PFP said: “The results of our optimised process are extremely positive and are ahead of our expectations giving us greater confidence as we move towards toxicology studies in Q4 this year, prior to entering clinical trials and a Series A funding round next year.”
Kelvin Capital represents more than 240 angel investors from the UK, Europe and US and has invested £37 million in a diverse portfolio of 20 investee companies. It initially invested in PHP 2013 and has since led five rounds of follow-on funding.
Angus Hay from Kelvin Capital said: “These results are extremely exciting and reflective of the high-quality team at ProFactor Pharma. The company’s R&D activity continues to impress and exceed expectations which is very positive as we look towards a significant Series A investment in 2021.”
Kerry Sharp, director of the Scottish Investment Bank, said: “The test results are an incredibly encouraging development for the company, everyone active in the field of haemophilia research and the hundreds of thousands of people suffering the debilitating effects of the condition. It’s great to be able to support the development of a cost-effective treatment in Scotland that could have a massive global impact.”