Wren Therapeutics is commercialising Cambridge and Lund research into therapies for protein misfolding diseases, which include Alzheimer's and motor neurone disease.
Wren Therapeutics, a UK-based small molecule and antibody treatment developer spun out of University of Cambridge and Lund University, closed a £18m ($23.3m) series A round today led by hedge fund Baupost Group.
Venture capital firm LifeForce Ventures and multiple unnamed private investors also took part in the round.
Founded in 2016, Wren Therapeutics is working on small molecule and antibody therapies for so-called protein misfolding diseases, whereby certain proteins in the body have become structurally abnormal and disrupt the function of cells, tissues and organs.
Serious diseases caused in part by protein misfolding include the neurodegenerative disorders Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and motor neurone disease, as well as type-2 diabetes.
Based at University of Cambridge’s Chemistry of Health Centre, Wren’s scientific founders include Cambridge researchers Chris Dobson, John Humphrey Plummer professor of chemical and structural biology, and Michelle Vendruscolo, professor of biophysics.
Tuomas Knowles, a professor of chemistry and physics at Cambridge, and Sara Linse, professor of molecular protein science and physical chemistry at Lund University, also helped conduct Wren’s founding research.
Wren will name its board of directors in coming weeks and is aiming to launch a satellite office in Boston, Massachusetts in the near term.
Life science investment firm Malin purchased a 33% equity stake in Wren Therapeutics in 2017, though financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Samuel Cohen, co-founder and CEO of Wren Therapeutics, said: “Protein misfolding diseases are one of the most critical global healthcare challenges of the 21st century but are highly complex and challenging to address.
“Current strategies – in particular those driven by traditional drug discovery and biological approaches – have proven, at least to date, to be ineffective.”