Penningtons Manches Cooper has acted for Oxford Drug Design on an equity investment led by o2h Ventures.
Oxford Drug Design is a computer-aided drug design company which has developed a suite of proprietary computer-aided drug design and machine learning technologies and unique 3D chemical database technologies. o2h Ventures launched Britain’s first therapeutics and AI fund earlier this year.
The Penningtons Manches Cooper team was led by Justin Starling and Nick Richards, supported by senior associate Chris Voelker.
In total, Oxford Drug Design has received over £8 million grant and equity investment from CARB-X, the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and o2h Ventures.
The funding will help to develop new antibiotics effective against drug-resistant superbugs, and to expand Oxford Drug Design’s proprietary machine learning computational platform - the Dual-Target aminoacyl-tRNA Synthetase inhibitor (DaaRSi) project.
The research is important as drug-resistant superbugs are on the rise worldwide and represent a threat to global public health and health security.
According to the World Health Organisation, an estimated 700,000 people die each year worldwide from bacterial infections. In the United States, an estimated 23,000 people die each year from drug-resistant bacterial infections. In Europe, the number of deaths yearly is estimated at 33,000.
Justin Starling, corporate partner at Penningtons Manches Cooper, commented: “We are delighted to support emerging life science businesses like Oxford Drug Design raise capital to develop these important new antibiotics.”
The firm’s involvement in the deal is another example of the strength of its venture capital team in advising clients on both venture and growth capital transactions in the technology and life sciences sectors. The team acted on over 90 VC and fundraising transactions in 2018.