Edinburgh biotechnology firm Lentitek Ltd, a developer of manufacturing technologies enabling economic delivery of advanced cell and gene therapies, announced that it has secured £250,000 in seed investment.
The investment will be deployed to further advance its technology and commence initial commercial trials.
Founded in 2019 by CEO Dr Adam Inche, Lentitek is focused on solving key issues within the manufacturing process of lentiviral vectors, one of the key components of advanced treatments such as CAR-T cell therapy and gene therapies which can provide curative treatments for previously intractable cancers and other genetic conditions.
Inche said: “There is a significant cost of goods issue for these incredible emerging therapies which rely on lentivirus.
“Yields and quality of the virus are often low, which is ultimately reflected in the price-tag of the final therapy that can run to well over $1 million per treatment putting it out of the economic reach of most …
“Lentitek has developed a unique manufacturing technology which has demonstrated significant enhancements in key quality metrics affecting yield and potency, which must be improved to reduce costs and ultimately widen accessibility.”
The £250,000 seed investment in Lentitek was led by Gabriel Investments Ltd (Gabriel-IS), a Glasgow based investment syndicate that focuses on early-stage Scottish companies.
Co-investors included the Edinburgh based Apollo Informal Investment Ltd (Apollo), Scottish Enterprise and the University of Edinburgh.
Founder and Director of Gabriel-IS, Gill MacAulay, said: “We are delighted to have led this round in Lentitek, which represents our latest investment in our growing life-sciences portfolio.
“We have invested in a number of Scottish companies who are addressing some of the largest challenges in human health, which Lentitek is clearly trying to achieve …
“This investment in Lentitek takes Gabriel-IS to over £2.1 million ($2.6 million USD) in funds invested in innovative Scottish companies, leveraging a further £38 million ($47 million USD) of follow on investment, significantly contributing to the Scottish start-up ecosystem.”
Michiel Smith, Gate Keeper at Apollo, said: “Apollo is proud to be part of the seed investment round in Lentitek. We are excited to help Lentitek improve the cost of goods model for these amazing therapies, and hopefully we will play a small part in increasing the survival rate for cancer patients.”
Kerry Sharp, Director of Entrepreneurship and Investment at Scottish Enterprise, said: “We’ve been aware of Lentitek’s pioneering work in the field of gene therapy and advanced cancer treatment for some time, having worked with the company since its inception.
“It’s great to now be investing in this high-growth-potential company as it takes the next big step towards commercialising its technologies, which have life-saving potential for cancer patients all over the world with the aim of making treatment more accessible, effective and affordable.”
Lentitek will use the investment to further refine and demonstrate its technology in the initial target application of the cutting edge cancer treatment CAR-T cell therapy.
CAR-T therapy uses a lentivirus to effectively reprogram the patient’s own immune T-cells to recognize and kill cancer.
Lentitek received significant recognition for its technology in 2022 by winning the top prize of £100,000 for Industrial Biotechnology Innovation at the Scottish Edge awards.
Lentitek co-founder Leif Anderson said: “The clinical potential of cell and gene base therapies has been well demonstrated.
“Indeed, many of those enrolled in clinical trials over the last decade would simply not be alive today without these remarkable treatments.
“Sadly, manufacturing and delivery challenges remain a significant barrier to adoption. With this investment, Lentitek will take an important step in addressing a number of critical issues to ensure these treatments are available to all who need them.”