Lead investor Imperial Innovations will hold a 38.6% stake in the firm.

PolyTherics raised £2.15 million (almost $3.44 million) to apply its polymer-protein conjugation technologies to an expanding range of proteins and peptides. The money will help the company pursue new applications of these technologies.

This investment follows on previous financing rounds in 2007 and 2010, which raised £2.3 million and £3 million, respectively, from Imperial Innovations, Longbow Capital, and The Capital Fund. The current round was led by Imperial Innovations with participation from The Capital Fund and new investor Proven Health VCT. Imperial Innovations committed £1.2 million, ProVen Health invested £0.75 million, and Capital Fund gave £0.2 million. Following the investment, Imperial Innovations will hold a 38.6% stake in the PolyTherics.

PolyTherics has applied its PEGylation platforms for half-life extension to a range of proteins and peptides including interferons, blood factors, and a variety of antibody formats like antibody fragments (Fabs), single chain antibodies (scFv), as well as novel protein scaffolds.

The firm has three technologies. TheraPEG™ allows PEGylation across one or more disulfide bonds naturally present in a protein. HiPEG™ enables PEGylation at a histidine tag that is expressed at one or both ends of a protein or peptide. CyPEG™ can be used for PEGylation at the thiol group of free cysteine within a protein or peptide.

“Applying our linker chemistry to novel biomolecules at an early stage can improve their properties so development can proceed with greater confidence that their biological properties will translate into therapeutic benefit,” remarks John Burt, CEO.

PolyTherics is developing two biobetter products, which it intends to out-license for clinical development and commercialization: Interferon (IFN) α-2a was PEGylated using HiPEG and IFN β-1b on TheraPEG. The company has selected a contract manufacturing organization to scale up protein production and PEGylation of HiPEG IFN α-2a.

A lead candidate from the TheraPEG IFN β-1b program is due to be selected at the end of 2010. The company also has a research program in which recombinant unglycosylated erythropoietin produced in E. coli is PEGylated.

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