Spin-Outs in London
There are around 110 biotech and related companies in London, located mainly in the central and western areas. London is strong in stem cell, oncology, neurology and imaging, cardiovascular, infection, and drug delivery. This has led to the creation of many spin-outs.
For example, Trigen (www.trigen.co.uk) emerged from the Thrombosis Research Institute and is now growing rapidly after its merger with Procorde last year to form Europe’s first broad-based cardiovascular company with a full pipeline of products in thrombosis and vascular disease. Its lead product, TGN 255, will shortly enter Phase III as intravenous anticoagulant therapy in intermittent hemodialysis.
“The product has a good profile for renally impaired patients, a rapidly growing market,“ says Sanjay Kakkar, Ph.D., Trigen’s CEO. “We hope TGN 255 will transform us into a heavyweight biotech with our own sales and marketing.“
The company, with labs and offices in different London locations, plans to consolidate on one site as it expands, which could be challenging. “We don’t want to convert buildings,“ says Dr. Kakkar. “We don’t think that would be a good use of shareholders money. We have no plans to move out of London but we are looking at all options for future growth.“
A London location has had many advantages for the company, he adds. “This has been a fantastic site for us in terms of accessibility, recruiting and retaining skilled and talented managers, and access to a network of people who have helped us develop.“
Antisoma (www.antisoma.com) is a semivirtual drug development company with a portfolio of novel anticancer drugs, three of which are in clinical trials. They have offices are in West London, close to Heathrow, and a dedicated laboratory facility at St George’s Hospital Medical School.
“One issue in London is getting good quality lab space, but we have been lucky enough to find somewhere brilliant,“ says Glyn Edwards, CEO. “We get a lot by being associated with the Medical School, and we hope we give something back too. There is a huge teaching hospital and academic infrastructure here in London. You can nearly always find a world expert in a therapeutic area, so it is an immense resource.“
Meanwhile, Arrow Therapeutics (www.arrowt.co.uk) is focused on infection with programs in hepatitis C and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Its lead product in RSV is in Phase II. Onyvax (www.onyvax.com) is developing therapeutic cancer vaccines and has a product in Phase II for prostate cancer. Finally, MedPharm (www.medpharm.co.uk) is a drug delivery service provider, developed from the Department of Pharmacy at Kings College and specializing in novel topical and airway drug formulation.