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London's universities say ‘OpenSME’ to new support for capital's small businesses

A group of London's universities are launching a new collaboration – OpenSME – that seeks to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access the expertise and knowledge they offer.

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UCL spin-out Spirogen sold to AstraZeneca for $200 million

22 October 2013

Spirogen, a biotechnology company spun-out of UCL by UCL Business in 2001, has been sold to AstraZeneca.

The company – which develops novel therapeutics to target cancers – was sold to AstraZeneca’s MedImmune unit for an initial $200 million, with a payment of a further $200 million should Spirogen meet development targets. The funds will be used to bolster the company’s oncology pipeline.

In particular, Spirogen focuses on antibody-drug conjugate technology; technology which has the potential to directly target cancer tumours while leaving healthy cells intact.

"The cutting-edge technologies developed by Spirogen and ADC Therapeutics complement MedImmune's innovative antibody engineering capabilities, enabling us to accelerate antibody-drug conjugates into the clinic," said MedImmune Executive Vice President Bahija Jallal.

Spirogen CEO Dr Chris Martin said: “This deal reflects the very significant progress made by our scientists, most notably over the last two years, as we have applied our warhead and linker technologies to the development of highly potent and specific ADCs.

“We believe that PBD-armed antibody-drug conjugates will emerge as a critical component in the next generation of cancer biologics with the potential to make a difference for oncologists and their patients. We look forward to combining our world class capabilities in this area with MedImmune’s ability to develop this exciting class of oncology drugs.”