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GEN News Highlights : May 19, 2010

TPP Raises £9.6M to Build Preclinical Pipeline

Firm aims to develop novel IP into late-preclinical stage candidates before licensing or spinning out drug programs.

A new drug development company TPP Global Development raised £9.6 million (about $13.8 million) from a select group of investors including the Scottish Venture Fund. This injection of cash will be used to support the development of a portfolio of drug programs in the fields of nervous system disorders, immunology/inflammation, and niche-oncology.

Headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland, TPP’s strategy is to in-license novel IP from universities and research institutes and develop them into late preclinical-stage drug programs that can either be sold off to pharma/biotech or spun out into new companies. TPP separately reported that it will establish new headquarters in Edinburgh’s BioQuarter, creating up to 15 jobs initially.

The government is supporting the project with an offer of £200,000 (about $286,670) in Regional Selective Assistance, which is the main national scheme of financial assistance to industry and is administered by Scottish Enterprise. The company chose to set up in Scotland because of the country’s highly ranked life science universities, strong local skill base, and infrastructure able to support its business needs, according to Scottish Enterprise. It will move to temporary accommodation in the capital and locate at Scottish Enterprise’s new custom-built facility at Edinburgh BioQuarter within two years.

The firm says one of the features that sets it apart from other organizations with seemingly similar strategies is that TPP will take on IP at a much earlier stage in development. “There has always been a funding shortfall for early-stage research,” comments Peter Trill, CFO. “This will become ever more acute as the pharma industry continues to reduce spending on preclinical research, instead looking to in-license late-stage preclinical drugs, and the economic environment puts pressure on central government and medical charity research funding.”

TPP states it is currently evaluating a number of promising projects with a view of in-licensing them in the near term.