Johnson & Johnson, and GlaxoSmithKline have entered pharma deals for early grants for a new kind of anticoagulant drug they believe may prevent dangerous blood clots without causing bleeding - a previously unachievable goal.
Index Ventures, working as part of pharma deals with GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson (both of the latter being big pharma companies) via an early-stage biotech fund, said on Monday it was investing $11 million in XO1, a new company set up to develop the experimental medicine.
Called ichorcumab, the new drug is still miles from reaching the market - clinical trials are only slated to start within the next two years - but the product may create a stir in a commercially important field, given its unusual properties.
It was created by scientists at the University of Cambridge and Addenbrooke's Hospital following the observation of a patient in her 50s whose blood appeared unable to clot but who had no major bleeding problems after a head injury in 2008.
The $11 million grants given as part of the pharma deals for XO1 comes from a $200 million life sciences fund launched last year by Index in an unusual collaboration with GSK and J&J.
The grants aim to invest in companies with just one or two projects - a so-called "asset-centric" approach.
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