Index Ventures has made its biggest ever investment in a life sciences company by providing $11m for newly-formed British biotech business XO1.
The company is developing a drug it hopes will prevent heart attacks and strokes without causing bleeding, which can itself be fatal in such cases.
XO1 said the financing would be used to develop the ichorcumab antibody developed at the University of Cambridge after being discovered in a hospital patient in 2008.
Addenbrooke’s Hospital consultant Trevor Baglin, who looked after the patient, said, “This patient arrived in accident and emergency with a head injury, and we rapidly discovered a degree of anticoagulation consistent with severe haemophilia.
“We thought it might be fatal. But to our surprise the bleeding stopped quite normally.”
Anticoagulants such as warfarin are widely used to prevent thrombosis, which is an important cause of heart attacks and strokes.
But use of these drugs is limited by the bleeding side-effects they cause.
Baglin said, “Undoubtedly higher doses of these anticoagulant drugs could prevent the majority of heart attacks and strokes.
“But we can’t give higher doses because the bleeding they cause would itself be fatal.”
Index made the investment from its $200m Life Sciences fund, which it launched last year to accelerate new drug discovery.
Index Ventures’ partner and interim XO1 CEO David Grainger said, “We expect to begin trials in human volunteers inside two years.”
The company, which was founded by former portfolio managers, engineers and data scientists to help LPs generate higher returns, plans to use the capital to extend its platform.
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