Astellas Venture Management, the corporate venturing division of Japan-based pharmaceutical company Astellas, has participated in a £3.8m ($6m) tranched equity financing for Bicycle Therapeutics, a UK-based biotherapeutics startup spun out of the UK Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology in 2009.  Return backers venture capital firm Atlas Venture, Novartis Venture Fund, the $750m corporate venturing unit of pharmaceutical firm Novartis,  SR One, the corporate venturing unit of GlaxoSmithKline, and venture firm SV Life Sciences were also involved. Bicycle’s technology is based on discoveries made at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge by co-founders, Professor Christian Heinis and Sir Gregory Winter. Rolf Günther, chief executive at Bicycle. said:”This financing marks our transition from technology development to drug discovery, using our bicyclic peptide libraries, high throughput screening and lead optimisation technology. We are now expanding our discovery efforts to address multiple drug target classes. We welcome Astellas Venture Management as a new strategic investor, further endorsing the potential of our platform.”

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