SpyBiotech, a startup that was borne out of Oxford University, has managed to rake in £4 million in Seed funding from GV (formerly known as Google Ventures), and Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI).

The biotech firm is pioneering a molecular “superglue” aimed at tackling diseases and pandemics. According to the team, this could be used to create vaccines at a much faster rate than is currently possible.

This new inflow of funds will be used by the company to prepare for phase one trials, with its initial focus on virus-like particles (VLPs), which make use of vaccination to induce immune responses. In an interview, SpyBiotech co-founder Sumi Biswas said that it will also be used to trial SpyBiotech’s bonding technology. Further developments are also in the pipeline, including licensing the technology to other vaccine makers, as well as SpyBiotech developing its own vaccines, and will need further rounds of funding in the future.

This marks GV’s thirteenth investment in Europe since it was first established in June 2014. According to London-based partner Tom Hulme,  about half of its investments to date in Europe are in biotechnology and life sciences, with life sciences accounting for around one-third of all investments for GV overall. Lachlan MacKinnon, principal at OSI, said,

We see the Spy technology as the missing link in rapid and robust VLP vaccine design and see GV as a natural co-investment partner to take this forward. We are privileged to be working with four founders who bring such an impressive combination of academic prowess and clinical-stage experience to the company.

Gregg Bayes-Brown, marketing and communications manager at Oxford University Innovation, voiced the hope that this ends up being the first in a series of investments made by GV into Oxford University companies. Talking to The Telegraph, he said:

 We rarely ever see a corporate like GV come in at the seed into university companies. If this is the start of a new trend, it could be massive.

In a similar vein, London-based biotech firm Pulmocide also closed a $30.4 million Series B round earlier this month. Run by former GlaxoSmithKline scientists, the company attracted investment from SV Life Sciences, Johnson & Johnson’s venture capital arm.

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