Medicxi is a prominent international life sciences investment firm that invested in over 60 portfolio companies such as Versanis Bio, Rivus Pharmaceuticals, Capella Bioscience and more. One of Medicxi’s portfolio companies called MiroBio is set to be acquired by Gilead Sciences for approximately $405 million in cash.
MiroBio’s Research Pursuits
MiroBio is a private biotech company based in the UK that focuses on developing checkpoint agonist antibodies, which are a new class of therapies that work to restore immune balance in patients with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. The company was spun out of Oxford University in 2019 and is built on more than 15 years of research from the laboratories of Professor Simon Davis and Professor Richard Cornall.
The company has developed a proprietary discovery platform called I-ReSToRE (REceptor Selection and Targeting to Reinstate immune Equilibrium) that has the potential to support the development of agonist antibodies targeting immune inhibitory receptors to treat inflammatory diseases. The I-ReSToRE platform combines proprietary antibody engineering with MiroBio’s advanced receptor mapping database and visualization tool called Checkpoint Atlas.
“The acquisition of MiroBio is a testament to the best-in-class discovery engine and highly innovative pipeline they have built. Despite recent advances, significant clinical unmet need remains in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases with the majority of patients not achieving remission with current therapies. By restoring immune homeostasis, MiroBio’s checkpoint agonists have the potential to provide novel and differentiated treatments to these patients,” said Nick Williams, Partner at Medicxi, in the company’s press release. Williams oversaw the investment and joined MiroBio’s board.
“We are extremely excited to be partnering with an experienced organization like Gilead, which will accelerate MiroBio’s candidates into treatments for patients. This deal also represents the first exit for Medicxi III, our most recent venture fund launched in 2020,” added Williams.
The Benefits of the Acquisition for Gilead
The acquisition will allow Gilead to have MiroBio’s proprietary discovery platform and their pipeline of immune checkpoint agonists. MiroBio currently has four different potential drug candidates and multiple early-stage assets in the research phase.
MiroBio’s lead investigational antibody, MB272, is in Phase I clinical trials and it is a selective agonist of immune inhibitory receptor BTLA (B- and T-Lymphocyte Attenuator). MB272 works by targeting T, B and dendritic cells to inhibit or weaken activation and curb an inflammatory immune response.
MiroBio’s MB151 is a PD-1 (programmed cell death protein-1) agonist that is in late preclinical development with clinical plans for next year. PD-1 is a potent immune inhibitory receptor.
MiroBio has two more undisclosed drug candidates in the preclinical phase.
After the acquisition, Gilead plans to use MiroBio’s I-ReSToRE platform to develop additional agonists over the next several years.
MiroBio’s focus on restoring immune balance to treat autoimmune diseases matches Gilead’s inflammation research and development strategy.
“The team at MiroBio has spearheaded foundational research for agonist antibodies following a rigorous scientific approach,” said Flavius Martin, Executive Vice President, Research, Gilead Sciences, in the same press release. “We believe that MiroBio’s unique platform technology has the potential to produce best-in-class agonist antibodies targeting immune inhibitory receptors.”