PepGen was the first company to take up residence in the BioEscalator in the newly constructed Innovation Building in 2018, a facility created to support high-growth biotech start-ups and increase commercialisation of innovative technologies that were being developed at Oxford. The company focuses on novel methods of drug delivery, using peptide technology to increase the bioavailability of therapeutics across a variety of indications.
In December 2020, PepGen raised $45M Series A funding from RA Capital Management, Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), and Cure Duchenne Ventures to target rare diseases including Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Dr McArthur joins PepGen from RA Capital Management, where he served as a Venture Partner. He previously co-founded Imara, a clinical-stage pharma developing therapies for sickle cell disease and β-thalassemia, Cydan Development, an orphan drug and rare disease accelerator and Tiburio Therapeutics, which currently has two candidate compounds to treat neuroendocrine disease in phase I trials. Dr McArthur’s previous experience in commercialising technologies for rare diseases will undoubtedly boost PepGen’s path to the clinic.
Dr Chris Ashton, Advisor at OSI and PepGen board member commented,
‘James’ tremendous leadership and experience is an excellent fit for PepGen’s mission to transform the treatment of genetic disorders. The company is poised to unlock previously unachievable treatment strategies across a broad range of indications, and we are excited to have James join for the next chapter of PepGen’s journey.’
With PepGen shortly to expand its operations, incumbent CEO and co-founder, Dr Caroline Godfrey will now focus on PepGen’s biotechnological innovations as Senior Vice President of Discovery. Caroline stated that,
‘James, a well-regarded and highly experienced leader in the rare disease space, is the perfect fit for our company as we build towards the future.’
PepGen’s technology is borne out of a collaboration between Professor Matthew Wood, University of Oxford and Dr Mike Gait, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge. Co-founder Professor Wood who is Director of the Oxford’s Neuromuscular Centre, has previously catalysed major advances in the development of RNA-based medicine to treat neuromuscular disorders including Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Matthew sits on the BioEscalator management board and is also co-founder of EVOX therapeutics that is developing a pipeline of exosome-based therapies for the treatment of several genetic metabolic disorders.