The Greater Manchester and Cheshire Life Sciences Fund has raised £3m to help develop a fungal infection medicine at Alderley Park.
The money will fund clinical trials on patients and drug development by Blueberry Therapeutics, based at Alderley Park.
The investment will support progress of its innovative treatment for fungal nail infection (onychomycosis) and associated athlete’s foot (tinea pedis).
The fund is the result of collaboration between Cheshire East Council, Cheshire and Warrington Enterprise Partnership, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and Manchester Science Partnerships. The fund is managed by Catapult Ventures.
The market for fungal treatments is worth more than £2bn annually and Blueberry’s innovative treatment has the promise of being a more effective and ‘better-tolerated’ therapy than existing products in the market. Blueberry is also in discussions with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help speed up approval of the treatment.
John Ridden, CEO of Blueberry Therapeutics, said: “We’re delighted to have secured this funding, which will enable us to move our lead programme to treat onychomycosis with associated tinea pedis into human clinical trials with the ambition of moving into phase three trials early in 2017.
“The investment from dedicated life-science funds in the UK and US is a significant step in the growth of Blueberry and opens up a range of exciting opportunities in topical (body surface) therapies.”
Cheshire East Councillor Peter Groves, Life Science Fund board member, said: “We were attracted to Blueberry by the exceptional experience of its management team and its compelling preclinical data for this well -differentiated and novel treatment. We look forward to working together with Blueberry's board and co-investors to help the company fulfil its ambition.
“This is the third investment to date the fund has made and I am delighted to see the fund helping more businesses based at Alderley Park, which is the largest life sciences campus of its kind in the UK.”
Onychomycosis is the most common disease of the nails and constitutes about half of all nail abnormalities.