(L to R) John McNicol, Jaymin Amin and Ian Fotheringham
ProFactor Pharma Ltd (PFP), a Scottish biotech business, is set to transform the treatment of ‘Haemophilia A’ following the completion of its latest funding round.
PFP, which is based outside Edinburgh at the Roslin Innovation Centre, has secured new investment of £2m in a funding round lead by the investment syndicate Kelvin Capital and supported by Ingenza Ltd and the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise.
The Kelvin Capital syndicate, led by directors John McNicol and Angus Hay, represents private investors in the UK, Europe and the USA.
PFP’s new funding will be used for process optimisation and toxicology studies to enter clinical trials after 12 months as it continues to develop low cost recombinant human factor VIII (rhFVIII) for the treatment of ‘Haemophilia A’.
Haemophilia is an X-linked genetic disease associated with the dysfunction of the biological cascade leading to blood clotting. Coagulation factors are vital to the functioning of the mechanism that the human body uses to protect and repair itself from physical injury, by the formation of blood clots to seal ruptured blood vessels.
Haemophilia patients have a reduced capacity to stop bleeding and are prone to bleeding internally, into joints and organs, and often require hospitalisation 3-4 times per year. Without proper treatment, haemophiliacs typically die from organ failure in their teens.
Haemophilia A is treated with replacement therapy of a human blood protein, Factor VIII.
The company has developed a proprietary cell line estimated to be capable of producing rhFVIII at significantly higher yields than the industry standard when combined with a production process employing innovative disposable single use technology.
According to the World Federation of Haemophilia, there are more than 400,000 sufferers of ‘Haemophilia A’ worldwide but only 151,000 are currently treated. Annual sales of rhFVIII are currently $5.4 billion however there remains massive undersupply and significant unmet needs in other markets excluded from rhFVIII access due to current high product costs.
Jaymin Amin from PFP said: “The current global market for rhFVIII is vast. However, current supplies only reach a third of those who need it. Our patented process delivers rhFVIII indistinguishable from a market leading product but due to the higher yield and lower cost of our product we are in an extremely strong position to lead in the massively undersupplied markets of Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia.”
John McNicol from Kelvin Capital said: “ProFactor Pharma is set to disrupt a market with lower cost and higher quality treatments for 400,000 sufferers of Haemophilia A across the world. Current manufacturers only supply 30% of the market with a higher cost treatment so the opportunity for PFP is really significant and runs into billions of dollars. The disease affects 1 in 5,000 male births which also means that the number of patients requiring treatment is growing annually.”
Ingenza MD Ian Fotheringham commented “ProFactor Pharma’s continued advancement illustrates the enormous global impact possible from strategic SME partnerships within the Scottish and UK biotech communities.”
Kerry Sharp, director, Scottish Investment Bank, said: “We are delighted to continue our support for ProFactor Pharma. Clearly, there is a substantial global market for the company’s product and this phase of its development puts it on a pathway to full commercialisation.”
The testing process has been successfully run at scale at a European contract manufacturing organisation and PFP is now ready to optimise the production process prior to moving into toxicology studies.
ProFactor Pharma is an existing Kelvin Capital portfolio company. Kelvin Capital initially invested in 2013 and has since led five rounds of follow-on funding, the most recent completion being the company’s pre-Series A round in July 2019.
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