The Wellcome Trust’s investment division has agreed a £20 million Series A equity financing for Kymab, a biopharmaceutical company spun out from the Trust’s Sanger Institute in Cambridge, UK and focused on the discovery, development and commercialisation of novel antibody-based medicines.

Kymab was set up in 2009 on the back of research in the field of human immunology and mouse biology conducted at the Sanger Institute in the laboratory of Professor Alan Bradley, director emeritus of the Institute and Kymab’s founder. The Sanger Institute is a leading player in the Human Genome Project, now focused on understanding the role of genetics in health and disease.

Headed by chairman and chief executive officer Andrew Sandham, who has served as a founder and executive at Cantab Pharmaceuticals, Hexagen, Signature BioScience and Ionix Pharmaceuticals, Kymab is using embryonic stem cell technology to develop its proprietary Kymouse platform, a genomically engineered mouse model.

According to the company, the Kymouse encompasses in its engineered chromosomes the entire diversity of the B lymphocyte component of the human immune system, with potential for “expansion of diversity beyond normal human immune response”. The platform will be used to develop optimised monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of selected diseases with high unmet medical needs.

The end result is expected to be highly selective, potent and well tolerated human antibody-based biopharmaceuticals against both clinically precedented and novel disease targets. The Kymouse platform will also be accessible to third parties through strategic alliances with pharmaceutical companies and academic institutes.