LifeArc co-leads £6 million funding in DJS Antibodies

LifeArc announces Seed Fund investment of £2 million in DJS Antibodies, a biotech start-up company pioneering the development of novel antibody therapeutics for inflammatory disease. LifeArc is co-leading the c.£6 million funding with Sedgwick Yard, with new investment from Amgen Ventures and follow-on investment from Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI).

DJS Antibodies has developed HEPTAD, a novel platform for antibody discovery which was built to overcome the challenges associated with discovering therapeutic quality antibodies to intractable G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) targets. This funding round will support the development of two candidate antibody therapeutics including an antibody therapeutic for chronic kidney disease (CKD), a long-term condition that leads to the irreversible and progressive loss of kidney function.

The funding will also support the development of the HEPTAD platform into an industrialised monoclonal antibody (mAb) discovery process capable of identifying and screening novel therapeutic mAb candidates.

David Llewellyn, Co-founder and CEO of DJS Antibodies said: “We’re very excited to start working with LifeArc and such a strong group of investors. We share a vision of bringing first-in-class, high-impact therapeutic antibodies to the clinic, and this support will accelerate our growth towards becoming leaders in GPCR antibody discovery and development.”

David Holbrook, Head of Seed Fund, LifeArc said: “The LifeArc Seed Fund is delighted to be supporting DJS Antibodies on its work on GPCR antibody targets and helping translate the science on the next step towards the patient. DJS Antibodies is an exemplar of the type of company we are trying to support—high-quality science, great scientists, strong start-up management all addressing a significant unmet patient need.”


For further information, please contact:

Surinder Maan
Communications Manager, LifeArc

About DJS Antibodies

DJS Antibodies is an Oxford based biotechnology company founded with support from Johnson & Johnson Innovation and Oxford Sciences Innovation. DJS’ vision is to create safe, efficacious therapeutics that improve the lives of people with chronic inflammatory conditions. DJS utilises its proprietary HEPTAD technology, and its ability to discover leads against previously intractable GPCR targets, to discover and develop novel first-in-class therapeutic antibodies against key drivers of inflammatory disease. Enabled by HEPTAD, DJS is developing two lead programmes, a first-in-class antibody against a clinically validated but un-drugged target in diabetic nephropathy, and a programme that exploits novel biological insights to target myeloid cell-driven inflammation.

About LifeArc

The LifeArc Seed Fund was launched in 2018 and to date it has committed £11m to 9 companies focussed on developing new therapeutics and biological modalities.

LifeArc is a self-funded medical research charity. Our mission is to advance translation of early science into health care treatments or diagnostics that can be taken through to full development and made available to patients. We have been doing this for more than 25 years and our work has resulted in a diagnostic for antibiotic resistance and four licensed medicines.

Our success allows us to explore new approaches to stimulate and fund translation. We have our own drug discovery and diagnostics development facilities, supported by experts in technology transfer and intellectual property who also provide services to other organisations. Our model is built on collaboration, and we partner with a broad range of groups including medical research charities, research organisations, industry and academic scientists. We are motivated by patient need and scientific opportunity.

Separate to the Seed Fund, LifeArc has a Philanthropic Fund which provides grants to support medical research projects focused on the translation of rare diseases research.

About Sedgwick Yard

Sedgwick Yard is a Greater China-based venture firm dedicated to cross-border life science investments. Our goal is to identify and invest in disruptive technologies which can truly transform the lives of patients. Post investment, we support our partner companies in strategically approaching the Asian market, allowing their products to achieve a global footprint. We believe our approach will enhance value to all stakeholders and benefit patients around the world.

About Oxford Sciences Innovation

Oxford Sciences Innovation is a leading science and technology business. We ensure Oxford’s world-leading science moves out of the laboratory and onto the global stage. In partnership with the University of Oxford, OSI creates fundamental technology companies, built on science. We match scientists with experienced entrepreneurs and patient capital to turn idea to impact, discovery to company. We invest in Life Sciences, Deep Tech, Healthtech, AI and Software to create companies taking on challenges like diagnosis and treatment of disease and cancer, hyper resolution microscopy, renewable energy, drones, nuclear fusion and quantum computing. Founded in 2015, we’ve raised over $600M of evergreen capital, building on Oxford’s renowned research legacy, to create a leading science and technology ecosystem and home for entrepreneurs.

About Amgen Ventures

Amgen Ventures provides emerging biotechnology companies with financial and other resources to develop pioneering discoveries focused on human therapeutics. Since 2004, Amgen Ventures has invested in biotechnology companies to advance promising medicines and technologies that could ultimately make a difference for patients suffering from serious illnesses. Leveraging Amgen’s industry leadership, deep knowledge, and longstanding expertise in biotechnology, Amgen Ventures investments are made in areas of strategic focus for the company to support innovation and generate financial return.

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