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Advent Life SciencesPress Release

Advent Life Sciences Continues Support of Innovation in Life Sciences with the Launch of Two New Cancer Companies

By 15 April 2020January 5th, 2023No Comments
Press Release.


  • Leads Recent Financings of PIC Therapeutics and Amphista Therapeutics
  • Portfolio Company Arrakis Therapeutics Partners with Roche

London, UK – 15 April 2020 – Advent Life Sciences (‘Advent’) announces the launch of two exciting new cancer companies, PIC Therapeutics Inc (“PIC”) and Amphista Therapeutics Ltd (“Amphista”), and a major partnership between portfolio company Arrakis Therapeutics Inc (“Arrakis”) and Roche. This continues Advent’s long-running investment and support of early-stage innovative biotechnology companies with a paradigm-shifting approach to the discovery of new medicines. Since 2006, Advent-backed companies have obtained regulatory approvals for 14 innovative medicines and medical products, reflecting the calibre and commitment of the founding scientists, clinicians and entrepreneurs that Advent has supported.  In that time, the Advent portfolio has achieved over 20 exits.

Today it was announced that Advent led the close of a $5M Seed investment round in its portfolio company, Boston-based PIC, which focuses on transforming the treatment of cancer though the selective modulation of oncogene translation. PIC was co-founded by Professor Gerhard Wagner of Harvard University and Dr Richard Peters. The company is led by CEO Sun Altbach and Alan Walts, Executive Chairman and Venture Partner at Advent. Belinda Termeer, PIC Board member, also participated in the financing.

Recently two other companies co-founded by Advent, announced success stories; Massachusetts-based Arrakis, pioneering the discovery of a new class of small molecule medicines that directly target RNA, and Glasgow-based Amphista, creating first-in-class cancer therapeutics that harness the body’s natural processes to degrade and selectively remove disease-causing proteins.

Amphista, which Advent spun out of the lab of Alessio Ciulli at the University of Dundee, closed a $7.5 million Series A round. Amphista discovers and designs small molecules that act in a different way from conventional PROTACs® and the company’s initial focus is to apply its insights to the design of anti-cancer agents.

Arrakis announced a strategic collaboration and license agreement with Roche in which Arrakis received a $190 million upfront cash payment, with the potential to achieve payments totalling up to multiple billions of dollars, for the discovery of RNA-targeted small molecule drugs against a broad set of targets. Advent founded Arrakis in October 2015 with Jennifer Petter, Advent Venture Partner Alan Walts, and the late Henri Termeer.

“Advent has a deep and enduring commitment to founding companies with paradigm-changing approaches. It is a privilege to support the scientists, clinicians and entrepreneurs in our companies as they realise important medical breakthroughs. We look forward to similar success at Amphista, Arrakis and PIC”

said Raj Parekh, General Partner at Advent Life Sciences.

Advent Life Sciences Venture Partner, Arrakis co-founder, and PIC Executive Chairman Alan Walts, commented,

“Since its founding in 2015, Arrakis has established a leadership position in the field of small molecule RNA modulation. We are thrilled to see the recently announced partnership with Roche, which will support Arrakis’ mission of transforming drug discovery. PIC Therapeutics is poised to transform the treatment of cancer and we are excited to partner with the PIC team as a lead investor.”

Advent’s highly experienced and diverse team of 16 investment professionals, all of whom are scientifically or clinically qualified, comprises serial entrepreneurs who have founded numerous companies that have discovered important new medicines for a range of unmet needs. The team takes an active role in both founding and supporting its portfolio companies.


–    ENDS  –

Media contacts:

Advent Life Sciences
Laura Lane
+44 7795 469847

Scius Communications
Katja Stout
+44 7789 435990

About Advent Life Sciences
Advent Life Sciences founds and invests in early- and mid-stage life sciences companies that have a first- or best-in-class approach to unmet medical needs. The investing team consists of experienced professionals, each with extensive scientific, medical and operational experience, a long-standing record of entrepreneurial and investment success in the US and Europe and is particularly focused on supporting entrepreneurs and founders to take innovative new medical entities from concept to approval. The firm invests in a range of sectors within life sciences, principally drug discovery, enabling technologies and med tech, always with an emphasis on innovative, paradigm-changing approaches. Advent Life Sciences has a presence in the UK, US and France.  For more information, please visit

About Arrakis Therapeutics
Arrakis Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company pioneering the discovery of a new class of medicines that directly target RNA. Arrakis is building a proprietary pipeline of RNA-targeted small molecule (rSM) medicines focused on cancer and genetically validated targets in other disease areas. The company brings together scientific leaders in RNA structure, chemistry and biology, along with a highly experienced management team and the backing of leading life sciences investors. The company is located in Waltham, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit or engage with them on Twitter @ArrakisTx or on LinkedIn.

About Amphista Therapeutics
Amphista Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company creating first-in-class therapeutics that help harness the body’s naturalprocesses to selectively and efficiently degrade and remove disease causing proteins. The company’s pipeline of novel small molecules that cause targeted protein degradation (TPD) is focused on challenging diseases including cancer. Amphista is a spin-out of renowned TPD expert Professor Alessio Ciulli’s labs at the University of Dundee, and is based in BioCity Glasgow, Scotland. The company is funded by leading life science investors including Advent Life Sciences, the European Investment Fund, the Scottish Investment Bank, and BioMotiv. For more information please visit

About PIC Therapeutics
PIC Therapeutics is a Boston, MA-based biotechnology company focused on fundamentally changing how we treat cancer by developing a new generation of therapeutics based on the modulation of RNA translation. PIC’s therapeutics target the “master switch” of cancer signaling pathways, selectively blocking oncogene protein production by modulating the Pre-Initiation Complex (PIC) that drives their mRNA translation.  PIC Therapeutics’ selective approach has the potential to simultaneously modulate multiple oncogenic drivers leading to a powerful new generation of cancer-treating therapeutics. PIC is guided by a dedication to improving cancer patient outcomes and to realizing the potential of our technology to their benefit. For more information please visit