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Turning University research into business

07 December 2009

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A specialist UK pharmaceutical company which uses innovative University research to help discover and commercialise new cancer drugs has been boosted by a new £2M cash injection and licensing agreement.

Fusion IP, which helps turn university research into business, has announced that Morvus Technology Ltd, has successfully completed a £2.15M round of fund raising.

Fusion’s holding in Morvus results from the sale of its specialist oncology portfolio companies, Cardiff Protides Limited and Cardiff Biologicals Limited, to Morvus in late 2007.

Cardiff Protides Limited and Cardiff Biologicals were formed to help exploit the leading research of Professor Chris McGuigan, School of Pharmacy, and Professor Wen Jiang, School of Medicine, into the development of new drugs for the oncology market.

The new funds will be used by Morvus to progress its main drug development programs.

Morvus has also signed an exclusive, world-wide, licensing agreement with NuCana BioMed Ltd which grants NuCana the right to develop Morvus’ ProTide technology for the enhancement of nucleoside analogues or nucleosides.

The Agreement follows joint development work, under an existing exclusive option arrangement, by the two companies on Morvus’ ProTide technology, which was invented by Professor Chris McGuigan, School of Pharmacy, and acquired by Morvus when it bought Cardiff Protides.

Under the Agreement, the clinical and commercial development will be expanded and a portfolio of existing and new nucleosides will be synthesised and tested. The work will be funded by NuCana, which will also take responsibility for the commercial and clinical development strategy for the technology.

The ProTide technology enhances known cancer agents, some of which are blockbuster medicines in the cancer market, and improves their efficacy and reduces toxicity. Adding the ProTide moiety to certain cancer drugs allows them to more effectively bypass the major blocks to their actions – which can cause drug resistance – and avoid early breakdown of the drugs in the body.

David Baynes, Chief Executive Officer of Fusion IP, said: "Morvus’ Protide technology originated from work at Cardiff University and it is pleasing to have the value of the technology and its potential for cancer treatment recognised by Nucana. We look forward to Morvus’ having a successful future."

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