Cumulus Oncology, a cancer therapeutics development specialist based in Edinburgh, has secured a £9 million funding package from the Scottish National Investment Bank and Eos Advisory. The company creates spin-out companies that are involved in the development of groundbreaking new cancer treatments. The funding will help Cumulus expand its portfolio of companies and accelerate the way new cancer drugs are progressed from discovery, through clinical trials to patients.
A unique business model for oncology
Cumulus Oncology was founded in 2017 by Dr Clare Wareing, who has a background in cancer drug discovery and development. The company has a unique business model that focuses on accelerating the development of new cancer treatments for cancers that do not respond well to existing therapies. Cumulus creates spin-out companies that are dedicated to specific drug discovery programmes, and provides them with scientific, clinical, regulatory and commercial support.
Dr Wareing, founder and CEO of Cumulus, said: “Oncology remains a vast and important area of scientific and clinical research. The ultimate goal is to increase the success rates at the vital phase III end of clinical testing, which currently remains at below 50%. The support from the Scottish National Investment Bank means we can both support our existing companies, expand our portfolio and continue to develop the next generation of cancer therapies.”
The first company to be created by Cumulus Oncology was Nodus Oncology, which has two innovative drug discovery programmes ongoing. Nodus is actively engaged in the area of DNA damage response (DDR), which is a key mechanism for repairing DNA damage caused by cancer or cancer treatments. The second company, which is set to be unveiled in early 2024, is currently in stealth mode.
A significant investment for Scotland’s innovation ecosystem
The Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) is a new public institution that was launched in November 2020, with a mission to invest in businesses and projects that help Scotland meet its 2045 net zero target, tackle inequality and foster innovation in the country’s businesses. The bank is backed by £2 billion of Scottish government funding over the next decade.
Paul Callaghan, investment director at the SNIB, said: “Cumulus, aided by an extremely experienced and capable team, is innovating not only in the science, but in the entire process of how drugs are moved from discovery to later stage clinical trials. We are really pleased to be helping them achieve their ambitions and shine a spotlight on Scotland’s drug discovery capabilities.”
The SNIB has invested alongside Eos Advisory, a St Andrews-based firm that provides funding support to innovation ventures in science, technology, and engineering. The firm’s investor relations are managed by partner and world record breaking cyclist, Mark Beaumont.
Andrew McNeil, managing partner of Eos Advisory, added: “The Cumulus approach is one that supports the development of a range of cancer treatments, this inherently reduces risk by not placing reliance on one therapeutic candidate. We see this as a really exciting and novel business model, with a team who have the track record of having brought 17 new cancer drugs to market throughout their careers. Eos has been proud to support Cumulus since its inception.”
A promising step towards a better future for cancer patients
The funding for Cumulus Oncology is a promising step towards developing more effective and personalised treatments for cancer patients, especially for those who have limited options or poor prognosis. The company aims to fast-track therapies that can make a difference in the lives of millions of people who are affected by cancer.
Dr Wareing said: “We are passionate about developing new cancer treatments that can improve outcomes and quality of life for patients. We believe that by creating spin-out companies that are focused on specific areas of oncology, we can increase the chances of success and deliver more value to the healthcare system and society.”