Oxford Science Enterprises (OSE), an Oxford-based investment firm that uniquely supports startups with its partnership with the University of Oxford, announced on Thursday that its life sciences portfolio company, MiroBio, is set to be acquired by US-based biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences for $405M (approximately €396M) in cash.
MiroBio, a spin-off from the University of Oxford, is a clinical-stage private biotechnology company focused on developing therapeutic agents and checkpoint agonist antibodies to restore immune balance in autoimmune patients.
How does the acquisition benefit Gilead?
The acquisition will provide Gilead with MiroBio’s proprietary discovery platform and the entire portfolio of immune inhibitory receptor agonists.
“MiroBio’s lead investigational antibody, MB272, is a selective agonist of immune inhibitory receptor B- and T-Lymphocyte Attenuator (BTLA) and has entered Phase 1 clinical trials, with the first patient dosed earlier this week,” says the company.
According to MiroBio, MB272 targets T, B, and dendritic cells to inhibit or blunt activation and suppress an inflammatory immune response.
Gilead also aims to advance additional agonists derived from MiroBio’s I-ReSToRE platform, including a PD-1 agonist, MB151, and other undisclosed early-stage programs, over the next several years.
MiroBio: What you need to know
Founded in 2019, MiroBio is based on more than 15 years of foundational research from the labs of Professor Simon Davis and Professor Richard Cornall to create more effective medicines for patients with autoimmune diseases.
The biotech company has developed I-ReSToRE (REceptor Selection and Targeting to Reinstate Immune Equilibrium), a proprietary discovery platform that has the potential to be used to develop agonist antibodies targeting immune inhibitory receptors.
The proprietary platform supports the identification and development of therapeutics that utilise inhibitory signalling networks to restore immune homeostasis for patients.
MiroBio is backed by a strong group of international investors, including Oxford Science Enterprises, Samsara BioCapital, SR One, Medicxi, Advent Life Sciences, OrbiMed, and Monograph.
“We are excited to be joining Gilead,” says Eliot Charles, Chairman of MiroBio.
He adds, “MiroBio has a deep understanding of checkpoint receptor signalling and a proprietary approach to select and generate superior agonist antibodies. Combining this with Gilead’s drug development and therapeutic area expertise will allow us to fully explore the potential of checkpoint agonist antibodies for patients with autoimmune disease.”
Following its acquisition, MiroBio will continue its operations in Oxford, UK.
Gilead: What you need to know
Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company committed to advancing innovative medicines to prevent and treat life-threatening diseases, including HIV, viral hepatitis, cancer, and inflammation. Gilead operates in more than 35 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California.
“The team at MiroBio has spearheaded foundational research for agonist antibodies following a rigorous scientific approach,” says Flavius Martin, Executive Vice President, Research, Gilead Sciences. “We believe that MiroBio’s unique platform technology has the potential to produce best-in-class agonist antibodies targeting immune inhibitory receptors.”
Oxford Science Enterprises: What you need to know
Founded in 2015, OSE is an independent investment company that funds and builds potential businesses through its partnership with the University of Oxford.
The Oxford company actively focuses on a core portfolio of around 40 companies in three sectors – Life Sciences, Health Tech, and Deep Tech.
Since its inception, OSE has invested in over 80 ambitious companies built on Oxford science, committing £0.5B and attracting over £1B from blue-chip, global co-investors.
So far, the company has helped progress 27 companies from seed to Series A and 21 to Series B and beyond, including 2 IPOs and five trade exits.
Last month, the company secured €294M in funding from a diverse group of international investors with participation from existing and new blue-chip investors, sovereign wealth funds, family offices, pension funds, and asset managers.