Warwick University: spin out VirionHealth raises £13M to develop anti-viral drugs

23 Oct 2017 | Network Updates | Update from University of Warwick
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The company aims to develop a new class of therapeutics for respiratory viral infections

VirionHealth Ltd, a spin out from Warwick University, has raised up to £13 million in series A funding from the specialist life sciences venture capital group Abingworth.

VirionHealth is based on research by Nigel Dimmock and Andrew Easton at Warwick’s School of Life Sciences, into a new class of biological antiviral drug that acts by outcompeting replication of infectious viruses, to both prevent and treat viral infections.

The company is exploiting this technology as the basis of a broad-spectrum therapy, potentially simplifying and accelerating treatment by removing the need for differential diagnosis. Initially focusing on influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, Virion says its technology can combat 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, a former vice president of discovery research at vaccines specialist Sanofi Pasteur, has joined the company as chairman. The board 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; Peter Goodfellow, formerly senior vice president for discovery research at GlaxoSmithKline; John Shields, formerly senior vice president, research, at Cantab Pharmaceuticals; and Tim Haines, managing partner of Abingworth.

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