A spin out which focuses on stem cell drugs to try and treat age-related illnesses has received the highest ever amount in the UK in a single investment round.

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Oxstem is an Oxford University spin-out and it has just received almost £17m. The precise figure is £16.9m and the money will be spent on attempting to develop small molecule drugs that can turn on repair mechanisms which are already in the body.

Dr Michael Stein, the CEO of Oxstem had this to say: “By developing drugs for this purpose we have the potential to revolutionise healthcare. Our talented team is now going to be supported by a highly sophisticated investor base.”

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The drugs that Oxtsem hope to produce will programme resident stem and stem-like cells to work in situ to treat age-related conditions which are currently untreatable such as cancer, heart failure, macular degeneration and neurodegenerative diseases.

Oxstem isn’t the first spin out for the co-founder Professor Steve David, from the Department of Chemistry at Oxford, in fact, it is his sixth spin out. He said: “We will identify small molecule drug candidates, which can programme adult stem and stem-like cells to repair and replace tissues affected by disease or injury. We have been very fortunate in being able to collaborate with some 80 University colleagues, all leaders in their respective fields, to match our insights and skills with their domain expertise to innovate clinical models and potential therapies.”

Oxstem is looking to fund the develop of its daughter companies, each with a focus on a different unmet need. One of their companies, Oxstem Oncology, looks to find a treatment for therapy-resistant cancers. The initial focus will be on acute myeloid leukaemia and myelodysplastic syndromes.

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