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8 January, 2018 - 10:01 By Tony Quested

Japanese giant’s VC arm piles £4m into STORM Therapeutics

Storm Therapeutics Keith Blundy

The Californian-based VC arm of Japanese company Taiho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd has invested £4 million in one of Cambridge UK’s most exciting drug discovery companies – STORM Therapeutics.

This bonus investment from Taiho Ventures, set up in the US in 2016, is in addition to the £12m Series A financing announced in June the same year. The deal also marks Taiho Ventures’ first investment in Europe.

Taiho Ventures joins the existing blue chip investor syndicate of Merck Ventures, Cambridge Innovation Capital, Pfizer Venture Investments and Touchstone Innovations with an equal size of investment.

Sakae Asanuma, president of Taiho Ventures, joins STORM Therapeutics’ board.

STORM Therapeutics is focused on small molecule therapies modulating RNA modifying enzymes and is considered a key player globally in the fight against cancer.

After encouraging progress to date, the financing will enable STORM to expand and accelerate its pipeline, pursue emerging therapeutic opportunities and build a broader drug discovery platform encompassing new drug targets from additional academic collaborators and its scientific founders.

CEO Keith Blundy said: “This extended investment represents further validation and support of our strategy to harness the power of RNA epigenetics as a new area of important biology. As the first company tackling disease through modulating RNA modifying enzymes, we believe we are well positioned to build a world-leading company.”

Sakae Asanuma added: “We are excited to join this experienced management team and investor syndicate to help STORM Therapeutics fulfil its ambition to become the leading therapeutics company in RNA epigenetic modulation.
“Our strategy is to invest globally in companies that discover and develop innovative first-in-class therapeutic products that demonstrate a clear potential to benefit cancer patients.

“As our first investment in Europe we believe that STORM’s innovative approach has the potential to significantly improve the way the world treats cancer.”

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: STORM CEO, Keith Blundy

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