14 November 2023
- Investment to accelerate development of a novel class of targeted high-potency bacteriocins against specific antimicrobial-resistant pathogens
- Spin-out from the Universities of Glasgow and Oxford
- Funding led by Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and Scottish Enterprise
- Company to establish operations and expand team
Glasgow, UK, 14 November 2023: Glox Therapeutics, a company pioneering the development of precision antibiotic therapies based on naturally occurring bacteriocins, today announced it has raised £4.3M in seed funding to develop effective targeted therapeutics against antibiotic-resistant Gram-negative bacteria. The Company will use the funding to establish laboratories in Oxford and Glasgow and expand its team to accelerate its bacteriocin development programme. The investment round was led by Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and Scottish Enterprise.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major public health crisis throughout the world. It is estimated that around 1.27 million people per year die as a result of AMR due to the therapeutic failure of available antibiotics.* By 2050, AMR is predicted to surpass 10 million deaths globally per year at a cost of $100 trillion dollars; hence, there is an urgent need to develop new effective antimicrobial therapeutics.**
Glox Therapeutics is developing precision antibiotics utilising engineered protein bacteriocins. These novel antimicrobials exhibit remarkable potency and specificity, enabling them to effectively and selectively target Gram-negative pathogens that have already developed AMR, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Bacteriocins, which are naturally produced by bacteria, possess antimicrobial properties against strains of the same or related species. Leveraging the power of bacteriocins, Glox Therapeutics aims to advance the field of antimicrobial therapy by overcoming resistance to traditional antibiotics. It will focus on selectively eradicating target pathogens while preserving the patient’s microbiomes, ensuring a more balanced and effective treatment strategy with reduced side-effects.
The Company was founded in February 2023 by recognised leaders in the bacteriocin field: Prof Daniel Walker from the University of Glasgow (now at the University of Strathclyde) and Prof Colin Kleanthous, Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci), from the University of Oxford. Dr James Clark was appointed as CEO in April this year. He has been involved in precision medicine for 25 years and has extensive C-suite level experience in the development and commercialisation of diagnostic and therapeutic products at PredictImmune, EnteroBiotix, Inivata, Enterome, MDxHealth and GSK.
“Our mission is to provide physicians and patients with highly potent, targeted antimicrobial therapies that can kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria for which there are diminishing options available for treatment,” said Dr James Clark, CEO, Glox Therapeutics. “This seed funding is testament to the promise of Glox Therapeutics’ precise antibiotic therapies, and we are thrilled to have the backing of such high-calibre investors. This will enable us to establish laboratories and attract top-tier talent, and I’m delighted to lead the team as we embark on our pioneering bacteriocin development programme, with the first target being P. aeruginosa,” he added.
Uzma Khan, Vice Principal Economic Development and Innovation, University of Glasgow, said: “Bacteriocins offer the precision needed to target pathogens resistant to current treatments. Our novel platform, developed in collaboration with the University of Oxford, circumvents problems traditionally associated with using bacteriocins as therapeutics. We look forward to seeing the Company carry this forward to help deliver Gram-negative antimicrobial drugs.”
Prof Chas Bountra, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Innovation, University of Oxford, said: “There is a growing consensus that the next generation of antibiotics should be narrow-spectrum therapeutics, able to target specific pathogenic AMR bacteria without collateral damage to the wider human microbiome, which is so vital to our health and wellbeing. Glox Therapeutics’ high-potency therapies offer the long-awaited solution to address these urgent unmet medical needs in tackling treatment-resistant bacterial infections.”
Dr Niklas Czeloth, Executive Director / Investment Manager, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, said: “The Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund is excited to invest in Glox Therapeutics, thereby advancing the development of its ground-breaking class of bacteriocins. In a world grappling with the escalating threat of AMR, there is an urgent global need for innovative approaches that target novel mechanisms devoid of any pre-existing resistance. We firmly believe that Glox Therapeutics holds immense potential to make a profound impact in the battle against antibiotic-resistant infections.”
Kerry Sharp, Director of Entrepreneurship and Investment, Scottish Enterprise, said: “Glox Therapeutics is a fantastic example of an ambitious spin-out that’s commercialising world-class life sciences research with the potential to save lives worldwide. The calibre of Scottish early-stage companies, like Glox Therapeutics, continues to attract international investment, enabling our youngest companies to positively contribute to Scotland’s economy as they scale up.”
For more information about Glox Therapeutics, please visit: https://gloxtherapeutics.com/
* Global burden of bacterial antimicrobial resistance in 2019: a systematic analysis (The Lancet, 2022)
** Tackling Drug-Resistant Infections Globally: final report and recommendations (The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance,ENDS
Notes to Editors
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Dr James Clark
Dr Michelle Ricketts
About Glox Therapeutics
Glox Therapeutics is developing a pipeline of engineered precision bacteriocins targeting pathogens that cause serious infections associated with high levels of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and mortality. These novel precision antibiotics have potent narrow-spectrum activity to target Gram-negative AMR pathogens without collateral damage to the wider human microbiome.
Founded in 2023, the Company is built out of over 20+ years of research from globally recognised expertise in elucidating bacteriocin structure and function to treat bacterial infections. It is uniquely positioned to address the AMR public health crisis which is predicted to surpass 10 million deaths globally per year at a cost of $100 trillion dollars by 2050.
About University of Glasgow
Founded in 1451, The University of Glasgow is a world-class university, committed to working with global partners to create high-quality research with real-life impact.
We were named the Scottish University of the Year by the Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 and have been home to world-changing research and teaching for more than 570 years.
Our research excellence responds to some of the world’s greatest challenges in areas such as precision medicine and chronic diseases, one health, future life, addressing inequalities, cultural and creative economies, and the nano and quantum world.
About Oxford University Innovation
Oxford University Innovation is the research commercialisation arm of Oxford University, supporting innovation and entrepreneurial activities across all University Divisions. Our mission is to create a world-leading innovation ecosystem with Oxford University at its heart.
OUI deploys Oxford research and technology through intellectual property licensing, spinout and social venture company formation, and material sales. We provide access to academic expertise and university facilities through our Consulting Services team. Our Incubator supports the entrepreneurial ambition of University staff, students and alumni, and has created over 50 startups since 2011. OUI partners with investors through our New Venture Support & Funding team to galvanise early-stage capital for world-changing Oxford ideas. Our Clinical Outcomes team works with clinicians to improve the lives and health impact of disease for patients globally.
Oxford University Innovation is the highest university patent filer in the UK and is ranked first in the UK for university spinouts. Through OUI, the University has created over 300 companies based on innovative ideas and research coming from Oxford.
Find out more: https://innovation.ox.ac.uk/
About Oxford Science Enterprises
Oxford Science Enterprises (OSE) is an independent, billion-pound investment company, created in 2015 to found, fund and build transformational businesses via its unique partnership with the University of Oxford, the world’s #1 research university.
This partnership enables OSE to work with the brightest academic minds tackling the world’s toughest challenges and guarantees unrivalled access to their scientific research. In collaboration with its global network of entrepreneurs and advisers, OSE goes well beyond funding to shape and nurture these complex ideas into successful businesses.
Actively focused on a core portfolio of around 40 companies spanning three high-growth, high-impact sectors – Life Sciences, Health Tech, and Deep Tech – the company adopts a flexible, long-term investment approach, recognising the path from ground-breaking research to global markets takes time and resilience.
To date, OSE has invested £0.6 billion in over 80 ambitious companies built on Oxford science. A key player in Oxford’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, OSE is highly motivated to foster an environment that catalyses pioneering research and steers it to commercial success.
About Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund
Created in 2010, the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund GmbH (BIVF) invests in ground-breaking companies to drive innovation in biomedical research. BIVF is searching for significant enhancements in patient care through pioneering science and its clinical translation by building long-term relationships with scientists and entrepreneurs. BIVF’s focus is to target unprecedented concepts addressing high medical needs in immuno-oncology, regenerative medicine, infectious diseases and digital health. For more information, please visit: www.boehringer-ingelheim-venture.com
About Scottish Enterprise
Scottish Enterprise (SE) is Scotland’s national economic development agency and a non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government. It supports businesses to innovate and scale to transform the Scottish economy by focusing on new market opportunities through targeted investment, innovation and internationalisation.
Follow us on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/scottish-enterprise/