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RCT-backed Cambridge Research BioVentures Invests in SpiroGen Ltd.


Tucson, AZ – Mar 15, 2001

Recently formed Cambridge Research BioVentures Ltd. (CRB) is the lead investor in a £1 million financing of SpiroGen Ltd., a UK-based company developing new gene-targeting technology.

SpiroGen is commercializing a genomics platform technology capable of discovering lead compounds that can covalently target and turn off any specific gene sequence. The company’s work has generated a substantial portfolio of patent applications protecting new agents with widespread applications in cancer therapy, AIDS, hepatitis and other viral infections.

Other investors include Cambridge Research & Innovation Ltd. (CRIL), Xenva Ltd. and Bloomsbury Investment Capital, the investment arm of University College London (UCL). Cancer Research Campaign Technologies (CRCT), UCL and the Universities of Portsmouth and Nottingham are also SpiroGen shareholders.

SpiroGen founders are UK researchers David Thurston, Philip Howard and John Hartley. Thurston is professor of cancer therapeutics at the University of Nottingham. Howard is chief scientific officer and deputy director of the CRCT gene-targeted drug-design research group at Nottingham. Hartley is director of the CRCT drug-DNA interactions research group at the UCL Medical School. Thurston and Howard, who are responsible for the company’s chemical technologies, are currently at the University of Nottingham, but the company is planning to establish new facilities at the University of London. Hartley at UCL provides the biochemical and biological expertise for SpiroGen.

“SpiroGen has a very exciting future in the vital area of the control of gene expression. The company’s technology provides an entirely new family of molecules that can be tailored to attach to any desired base sequence,” said CRB managing director Chris Keightley.

“This is exactly the type of early-stage company in which CRB is looking to invest,” he said. “One of SpiroGen’s compounds is already in pre-clinical development at the National Cancer Institute in the United States and with trial groups in Europe.”

The SpiroGen investment is the first for Dublin-based CRB. Research Corporation Technologies and Keightley formed CRB as a venture capital fund in 2000.


Chris Keightley, CRB managing director, Cambridge, 44-1223-312856 tel., 44-1223-365704 fax, e-mail chris.keightley@crbioventures.com