Celtic Therapeutics backs UK cancer drug developer

Pharmaceutical private equity firm Celtic Therapeutics Holdings is investing US$15m (£9.5m) into Spirogen Limited, a UK developer of DNA-interactive drugs.

The capital raised will be used to develop Spirogen’s lead cancer drug, SG2000, which is poised to begin Phase II study in the US in resistant and refractory ovarian cancer.

The drug programme has received already received US$20m of backing from Cancer Research UK and the National Cancer Institute in the US, which is sponsoring the Phase II study.

Dr. Peter B. Corr, founder and co-general partner of Celtic Therapeutics, said: “We are pleased that one of the first investments from our new investment fund is for such an innovative and important drug candidate discovered and developed in the United Kingdom. We believe our product-focused investment model is well positioned to help fill a void in development funding caused by the severe contraction of venture capital and access to public capital markets in North America and Europe.”

The US-headquartered firm is currently raising a US$700m fund which reached a first close in December 2008.