Cambridge University spin-off Storm Therapeutics has secured £12 million in series 'A' funding to advance its work on targeting enzymes that modify RNA to generate novel cancer therapeutics.

RNA is the template of all protein synthesis and has key regulatory functions in the cell. But there is a growing understanding that its modification also plays a key role in the development of cancer, and thus offers a novel therapeutic target for potential treatment.

Storm was created to commercialise the ground-breaking work of its founders, Professor Tony Kouzarides and Professor Eric Miska, who identified certain RNA-modifying enzymes against which the firm now intends to develop therapeutics, using intellectual property licensed from Cambridge Enterprise (the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge).

The funding, from investors Imperial Innovations, Cambridge Innovation Capital, Merck Ventures and Pfizer Venture Investments, will be used to identify small molecule modulators of these novel targets in RNA modification pathways and develop them into new classes of anti-cancer treatments.

"The work that our research groups are undertaking on non-coding RNA and the enzymes that modify this RNA is giving us incredibly interesting insights into how gene expression can be modified at a cellular level. The funding and support that Storm Therapeutics has received from its investors will allow the development of these insights into a new class of therapeutics ready to be taken into clinical trials," noted Professors Kouzarides and Miska.