Apollo among the ‘gods’ with $145m raise to grow Cambridge and Boston

Portfolio-based biopharma venture Apollo Therapeutics is expanding its Cambridge UK and Boston US operations after raising $145 million growth capital.

The proceeds will support rapid advancement of Apollo’s pipeline with more than 15 therapeutic programs currently in development across oncology, major inflammatory disorders and rare disease. The cash will also underpin new global collaborations with leading academic institutions.

The latest financing was led by Patient Square Capital in Menlo Park, California. It will take a controlling position in the business, with participation from additional investors including Rock Springs Capital, Reimagined Ventures and UCL Technology Fund. 

Dr Richard Mason, CEO of Apollo, said: “Five years ago Apollo’s innovative model was created by three world-leading universities Cambridge, Imperial College London and University College London forming a joint venture with global pharma partners AstraZeneca (whose HQ is in Cambridge), GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson Innovation to efficiently advance breakthrough discoveries that have the potential to be transformative treatments for patients. 

“In that time, Apollo has exceeded traditional growth benchmarks – rapidly building a pipeline of over 15 promising programs. There is significant opportunity ahead of us to bring new treatments to market as our lead programs move into clinical development.

“We will look to build on our existing collaborations, foster new relationships with additional top academics around the world and in-license drug candidates from new partners.”

Dr Mason has more than 20 years’ experience in the biotech industry, including serving as the head of the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center in London. 

Before this, he was CEO of Cambridge-bred novel anticoagulant antibody company XO1 until the sale of the business. XO1 was Business Weekly’s Startup of the Year in 2014. Previously, Dr Mason was the executive leadership team member responsible for strategy and business development at listed companies BTG and Cambridge Antibody Technology where he led numerous M&A and partnering transactions. 

Professor Andy Neely, Cambridge Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations said: “Apollo’s expanding pipeline of treatments across oncology, major inflammatory disorders and rare disease is an excellent demonstration of why funding, collaboration and the commercialisation of research at UK global research universities is so crucial for the future care of patients, the treatment of disease and the economy.” 

And Iain Thomas, head of Life Sciences at Cambridge Enterprise, the university’s technology transfer arm, added: “Apollo’s unique, innovative and hugely capital efficient model has been validated by this very significant investment. 

“Apollo has advanced a fantastic portfolio of programmes more cost effectively and quickly than could have been achieved by traditional grant and single asset investment routes.”