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DEAL NEWS – Druces closes record academic spin-out financing

Druces LLP, the City-based business and private wealth law firm, has closed a £16.9 million financing for its client OxStem Limited, an Oxford University spin-out, in what is believed to be the largest known funding in the UK for a new University spin-out.

OxStem plans to develop small molecule drugs that can activate repair mechanisms that already exist within the body. Building on decades of experience in medicinal chemistry, OxStem will design drugs that can programme resident stem and stem-like cells in situ to treat currently untreatable age-related conditions. The investor group participating in Oxstem Limited includes  Dr. Craig Venter’s Human Longevity Inc (“HLI”) and the team of Mr Bob Duggan and Dr. Mahkam Zanganeh (former CEO & Chairman and Chief Operating Officer respectively) of Pharmacyclics that was sold last year to Abbvie for US$21 billion. Other investors include a number of private individuals as well as Oxford Sciences Innovation.  The spin-out was supported by Oxford University’s research and technology commercialisation company Isis Innovation Limited.

OxStem will fund the development of a series of daughter companies – each with a focus on a different large unmet therapeutic need. The first of these companies will investigate the potential for intervening in therapy-resistant cancers. Subsequent research efforts will focus on developing therapies for neurodegenerative diseases, cardiac failure, and macular degeneration. The research and development efforts are expected to be conducted through a series of research programmes with the University of Oxford.

Raymond Spencer, OxStem’s CFO, said “We were pleased to have the support of David Smith and his colleagues at Druces on this ground-breaking transaction. They did a thoroughly professional job.”

The Druces team was led by corporate finance partner David Smith, assisted by David Bennett (partner) and Claire Rigby (Associate).

This news was posted on 11 May 2016.