Bicycle Therapeutics, a new Medical Research Council (MRC) UK spin-out, secures seed funding from top venture capital firms to develop novel constrained cyclic peptides as therapeutic agents.

A new spin out company from the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge UK was announced this week. Bicycle Therapeutics is a new biotechnology company developing a novel technology platform for the creation of a new class of therapeutic entity which combines the most desirable features of small molecules and biologics.

Bicycle Therapeutics (www. are developing a new class of therapeutic agent that combines the selectivity and specificity of biologic therapy with the advantages of low molecular weight drugs.

Based on pioneering work of the founding scientists Sir Gregory Winter and Dr. Christian Heinis, the technology involves the application of phage selection techniques to the identification and optimisation of chemically constrained cyclic peptides with high target specificity and binding affinities that are also stable to unfolding and to the action of proteases. High affinity peptides which are identified by this biological selection system can then be recreated as synthetic peptides with an organochemical scaffold.  The Laboratory of Molecular Biology has a distinguished record in the field of antibody therapeutics and these peptides could be regarded as mini-antibodies with covalent organic cores. This should allow this class of molecule to overcome the weaknesses of previous generations of peptide-based therapeutics.

The company has received seed funding from Atlas Venture and Novartis Venture Fund and is based in Cambridge. During the seed phase the company will seek to understand the full potential of the technology to address a range of molecular targets, to identify the initial therapeutic targets for the company and to fully appreciate the ability to create truly differentiated molecules using the Bicycle technology.  
The company will be managed by CEO Dr John Tite (ex-GSK) who will be joined on the Board of the Company by Sir Greg Winter, Anja Koenig (Novartis Venture Fund), Regina Hodits (Atlas Venture) and Dave Tapolczay (CEO, MRC-Technology).  The translation of basic, long-term research is one of MRC’s goals and the creation of start-up companies such as Bicycle Therapeutics is one measure of success. Sir Greg Winter was a scientific founder for two previous successful spin outs from LMB, CAT and Domantis. The company will continue to collaborate with the LMB throughout the seed phase.

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