InhibOx Drug Discovery Launched in Oxford
1st February 2003
Oxford University's latest spin-out is the drug-discovery company InhibOx Ltd, which uses advanced computational methods to carry out in silico screening on a massive scale to discover new leads for drugs quickly and cost-effectively. Initial projects are focused on cancer research, though other indications will be added in due course.
InhibOx has access to a technique called ‘massively distributed computing’ based on the leveraging of computing power from individual PCs around the world. It uses software developed to screen libraries of molecules to search for suitable drug candidates, which has already been the basis of the hugely successful ‘cancer screen saver project’. InhibOx launched the project in April 2001 and to date involves 1.2 million PCs in more than 200 countries, providing 70,000 years of computer time – more than any supercomputer or the biggest pharmaceutical company could currently provide.
InhibOx is the first spin-off to be launched in co-operation with IP2IPO Ltd, a subsidiary of the investment bank Beeson Gregory. Beeson Gregory entered a joint venture with Oxford University in November 2000, entitling IP2IPO to half of the University’s equity entitlement spun out of the Chemistry Department in return for a £20m donation towards state-of-the-art laboratories. Chris Wright, chief executive of IP2IPO said: ‘We are very pleased by the progress of our alliance with Oxford University. The launch of this company is an excellent demonstration of the additional impetus we can help give to the commercial activities of one of the world’s leading centres of scientific research.’
The company intends to add value to the intellectual property generated through in silico screening by working with a range of partners with appropriate drug discovery assets and skills.
InhibOx Chairman, Dr Edwin Moses, previously Chairman and CEO of Oxford Asymmetry International plc, which also originated as a spin-off company from Oxford University, said: ‘InhibOx is superbly positioned to rapidly build on the very valuable intellectual property which has already been generated by the “cancer screensaver project”. We believe that this is a company with substantial potential.’
InhibOx, valued at around £2million, has raised £400,000 in a placing of shares. Its founder, Professor Graham Richards, head of the Oxford University Chemistry Department, has given his total share entitlement, amounting to 25 per cent of the equity, to the National Foundation of Cancer Research.Press release sign up