Selkirk-based Ryboquin raises £1.3m for cancer drug development
A Scottish Borders-based pharmaceutical firm has raised £1.3m towards cancer gene therapy drug development.
It will allow Ryboquin Ltd to take the product - named Ryboquin ECP-102 - one step closer to clinical trials.
The firm, which has its headquarters in Selkirk, raised £800,000 from investors plus nearly £500,000 in a Scottish Enterprise research grant.
The new drug is designed to make chemotherapy "many times more effective in patients".
The company said the funds would be used for "scaling up" the product to allow it to be tested in a full-scale clinical trial.
That work will be carried out by the University of Strathclyde's Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, under Prof Alex Mullen.
The company hopes to raise up to £10m from investors during the year to fund the trial and further corporate expansion.
Ryboquin Chief Executive Dr Alan Walker said: "In Ryboquin, we now have a product that we believe could enable traditional chemotherapy to be up to four times as effective in some people and reduce some of the side effects of this treatment in some others.
"This funding will enable us to take Ryboquin from the laboratory to a place where it can be used in hospital for a clinical trial."
Prof Mullen described it as an "exciting opportunity".
"I relish the prospect of co-ordinating the science relating to the scaling up of this product in order to get it from the laboratory into clinical trials," he said.
Scottish Enterprise director of innovation and enterprise Jim Watson said it was "fantastic" to support an "ambitious Scottish company".
"We know that companies that embrace both innovation and exporting grow twice as fast as those that don't," he said.
"These are crucial competitive advantages, not just for Ryboquin, but for the long-term success of the Scottish economy."