Investment marks major milestone for spinout


4th December 2020

A University of Dundee spinout company developing treatments for eczema, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions has completed its first round of private investment.

In4Derm Ltd is an innovative drug discovery company developing the next generation of topical and oral therapies for widespread inflammatory conditions. The o2h human health EIS Fund has syndicated with biotech firms Meltwind and Wren to complete a first investment in In4Derm.

The company was founded by Dr Andrew Woodland and Dr Mark Bell, medicinal chemists at the University’s School of Life Sciences. In4Derm combines Dundee’s excellence in molecular science with its world-leading drug discovery expertise.

The seed investment from o2h ventures will be used to complete lead optimisation for an oral, first-in-class, anti-inflammatory drug.

Tim Sparey, CEO of In4Derm, said, “We are delighted to work with the o2h ventures team, Meltwind and Wren. They bring considerable drug discovery and investor expertise to complement the In4Derm team’s experience, including Dr Andrew Woodland who has pioneered the discovery and development of In4Derm’s BET programmes.

“In4Derm’s oral, BDII selective BET compounds are leading the race to develop safe and efficacious BET inhibitors in major disease markets. In addition, In4Derm is developing pan-BET inhibitors for topical use in dermatology.”

Steroid creams are frequently prescribed for skin diseases, but these can cause serious side effects as well as proving inadequate to bring diseases such as psoriasis and eczema under control. Patients may then be referred for more intensive treatment, which could include pills or injections. Many treatments are not suitable for children, who are also more likely to suffer from eczema than adults.

As a result, there is a significant unmet need for new treatments for these diseases, and In4Derm has identified a new approach that they hope to bring into clinical trials in the next few years.

The team behind In4Derm hope to turn their venture into a biotech company worth hundreds of millions of pounds. It had previously attracted over £2 million in pre-company grants and was recognised as Scotland’s top spinout opportunity for when it took top prize at the 2019 Converge Awards.

The o2h human health EIS Fund is the first fund in the UK solely focused on investing in EIS and/or SEIS seed stage companies covering novel drug discovery & AI, digital therapeutics and enabling services.

The o2h team are leaders in the biotech community and have been actively involved as investors, holding various board/industry positions as well as being engaged in grassroots scientific activity for more than 20 years.

Sunil Shah, CEO at o2h ventures, said, “We are very excited to invest into In4Derm. When fully developed this could greatly improve the well-being of patients with inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or atopic dermatitis.

“Tim and Andrew are experienced biotechies. They have the scientific and leadership experience to navigate the science and scale the company and partner with big pharma.”

University of Dundee

Nobel Prize winning poet and honorary graduate Seamus Heaney has described the University of Dundee as ‘having its head in the clouds and its feet firmly on the ground.’ The ability to be both aspirational and down-to earth and to blend ground-breaking intellectual achievement with practical applications, has given the University its distinctive character.

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