UCL Spin-out Engitix Closes £5m Financing to Progress Liver Disease and Pancreatic Cancer Drug Discovery Platform and Pipeline

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Engitix Ltd, a company pioneering the development of both
tissue-specific and disease-specific human extracellular matrix (ECM)
for accelerating and improving the drug discovery process, today
announces it has closed a £5 million Series A financing, led by a
private investor.

Engitix has validated its proprietary tissue-specific and
disease-specific human ECM platform in determining drug efficacy in
liver fibrosis through successful collaborations with a number of
biotech and big pharma companies. With this new investment, the Company
is now evolving its business model to in-house drug discovery, to
develop a pipeline of candidate drugs targeting liver fibrosis and liver
and pancreatic cancers.

Engitix was spun-out of the Institute for Liver and Digestive Health
(ILDH), Division of Medicine, University College London (UCL) in 2016 by
Dr Giuseppe Mazza, an inventor of decellularization protocols for human
liver and other tissues, and Professor Massimo Pinzani, Director of ILDH
and a world-renowned expert in the field of liver fibrosis. The Company
acquired an exclusive license in 2017 from UCLB, UCL’s commercialisation
company, to enabling ECM patents and other intellectual property.

The Company’s mission is to increase the efficacy and to the reduce cost
of later stage drug failure by establishing more advanced platforms for
drug target identification and validation in which healthy and diseased
cells can be tested with potential therapeutic agents within their
natural physiological and pathological microenvironment.

A key current limitation in developing more effective treatments in
fibrosis and various solid cancers has been the failure to include human
ECM in experimental models, with the majority of compounds failing in
late stage clinical trials because of lack of efficacy.

The Company plans to double the size of its RD team, recruiting at
least an additional 10 scientists in London in the fields of drug
discovery, bioinformatics and immune oncology, as well as establishing a
presence in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Giuseppe Mazza, PhD, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, said: “The
traditional drug discovery process in fibrosis and solid tumours relies
on artificial in vitro substrates and animal models. So far, these
models have been shown to have limitations in providing efficient
therapies for patients affected by these devastating diseases. The
Engitix platform technology has already shown we can revolutionise our
current understanding of human diseases while discovering more realistic
targets for future drug development.”

Steve Arlington, PhD, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, former
Lead Global Partner, Life Sciences and Pharmaceuticals at PWC and
recently appointed Chairman, said: “Engitix is developing a unique
platform with many research applications, which allows the study of
human pathophysiology leading to the discovery of novel targets and
therapeutics that will benefit patients through the acceleration of drug
discovery in liver disease and cancer.


About Engitix Ltd

Engitix was established in 2016 to develop and commercialise research at
the UCL Institute for Liver and Digestive Health, Division of Medicine.
The Company was founded by Professor Massimo Pinzani and Dr Giuseppe
Mazza and has an exclusive license from UCLB to enabling ECM patents and
other intellectual property. Engitix is based at the Royal Free Hospital
in London, UK.

For more information, please visit www.engitix.com

About ECM

ECM is the non-cellular component present within all tissues and organs
which provides not only essential physical scaffolding for the cellular
constituents but also regulates crucial biochemical and biomechanical
processes required for tissue morphogenesis, differentiation and
homeostasis. Loss of regulation of ECM remodelling is associated with
pathological conditions such as tissue fibrosis and cancer.

About the UCL Institute for Liver and Digestive Health

The UCL Institute for Liver and Digestive Health (UCL-ILDH), part of
the UCL Division of Medicine, concentrates the entire clinical and
scientific activity in Hepatology at UCL (University College London) in
close coordination with Hepatobiliary Medicine, Surgery and Liver

UCL-ILDH is a major education site in the area of Liver and Digestive
Medicine and provides training for UCL medical students, specialist
registrars, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows from the UK,
from other EU Countries and from the rest of the World, including
developing Countries.

About UCLB

UCL Business PLC (UCLB), part of UCL Innovation Enterprise, is a
leading technology commercialisation company that supports research and
innovations arising from UCL, one of the UK’s top research-led
universities. UCLB has a successful track record and a strong reputation
for identifying and protecting promising new technologies and
innovations from UCL academics. UCLB has a strong track record in
commercialising medical technologies and provides technology transfer
services to UCL’s associated hospitals; University College London
Hospitals, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital for
Children and the Royal Free London Hospital. It invests directly in
development projects to maximise the potential of the research and
manages the commercialisation process of technologies from laboratory to