Trinity chair’s biopharma start-up Sitryx raises $30m

10 Oct 2018

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Chair of biochemistry at TCD, Luke O’Neill, is one of the co-founders of Sitryx.

A new biopharmaceutical company called Sitryx, co-founded by a leading academic at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), has raised $30m in a Series A funding round.

Oxford-based Sitryx raised the funding from a syndicate of specialist international healthcare investors co-led by SV Health Investors and Sofinnova Partners, and that also included Longwood Fund and the global healthcare company GSK.

The investment will be used to develop disease-modifying therapies in immuno-oncology and immuno-inflammation.

Sitryx is leveraging the world-leading scientific expertise of its founders in the field of immunometabolism to address a broad range of immunometabolic targets.

A chemical connection

The co-founders include the chair of biochemistry at TCD, Luke O’Neill. “I’m delighted that my sabbatical in GSK has resulted in the formation of this new company in what is a tremendously exciting area,” he said.

The other co-founders comprise Houman Ashrafian, partner at SV Health Investors; Jonathan Powell, professor of oncology and associate director of the Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Johns Hopkins University; Jeff Rathmell, professor of cancer biology, and director of the Vanderbilt Center for Immunobiology; Michael Rosenblum, assistant professor of UCSF School of Medicine; and Paul-Peter Tak, former chief immunology officer and senior vice-president at GSK, and professor of medicine at Amsterdam University Medical Center.

Sitryx has recruited a team of highly experienced drug discovery and development leaders, including CEO Neil Weir, formerly senior vice-president for discovery at UCB Pharma.

“Immunometabolism is an extremely exciting and compelling scientific area and, at Sitryx, we have seen that modulation of these key cellular pathways has broad therapeutic potential across multiple disorders with unmet medical need, particularly in the areas of immuno-oncology and immuno-inflammation,” Weir explained.

“We are delighted to welcome leading specialist investors to the company, which further validates the strength of our scientific expertise and ambitions. Together with our proprietary chemistry, deep biological insights and world-leading team of immunometabolism experts, Sitryx is well positioned to become a leader in immunometabolism.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years