Founded in 2007 at Bath University as Glythera, Iksuda Therapeutics is an emerging biotechnology company focused on developing antibody-based therapies for the treatment of cancer as well as broader based therapeutics.
Iksuda operates in the UK as well as in the US, with bases in Boston and more recently, New York where its Innovation Laboratories are driving further differentiation of its drug development efforts through innovation.
We spoke with Dave Simpson, CEO of Iksuda Therapeutics to find out more about why they chose Newcastle as their base and what The Biosphere has to offer their growing and successful team.
Why is Newcastle the location of choice for a life science business?
The North East is home to globally recognised small and large molecule research, development and manufacturing capabilities and significantly, multiple clinical centres of excellence.
Newcastle has an extensive life science talent pipeline which ranges from school leavers and apprentices through to PhD candidates. We’re surrounded by high quality academic institutions who are building the next generation of investable propositions and, alongside investor appetite for the region and its location to critical supply chain providers, Newcastle is the perfect place to create a critical mass of highly valuable life science businesses.
Iksuda has not only leveraged the research expertise in the region but has attracted experienced scientists from outside of the region to Newcastle. This has helped to build mentoring opportunities as well as enabled us to continue to deliver high quality science for the region.
What were your reasons for setting up operations in The Biosphere?
Iksuda reached a critical phase in our evolution, becoming a recognised Drug Development Organisation, and we needed to expand our operational capabilities to meet our strategic goals. When we established ourselves in Newcastle, we supported several agencies in discussions and evaluations for the potential to build laboratory capabilities, which would eventually become The Biosphere, and we secured ourselves as an anchor tenant.
Why do you think more and more businesses are choosing Newcastle over the Golden Triangle?
Historically there has been a disconnect with investor appetite for the North but, with recent inward investment coming from overseas it’s never been more important to highlight the importance of an investable proposition over location.
Of course, the overhead costs of the region are significantly improved by comparison to other areas, creating an improved return on investment to an investor. Equally, Newcastle is central to the supply chain, which means that we have been able to deliver our drug modality through to Phase II clinical trials without moving out of the North East.
How would you describe the life science and business community in Newcastle?
It’s exciting! In the last decade the region has tapped into a range of new key sectors, including life sciences, at an unprecedented scale, whilst still continuing to exploit its heritage in engineering and manufacturing built over the last century.
What do you think is driving life science sector growth in Newcastle?
Scientific excellence and investor appetite. Markets are currently difficult, and investors will retract to safe havens or sufficiently de-risked opportunities. The success of the region and growth achieved not only over a period of uncertainty in a pandemic but also as we enter a recession, is testament to Newcastle’s current status and underpins the opportunity for future success.
Newcastle has been described as an untapped market, with a growing private sector that wasn’t here 10 years ago. What is the opportunity here?
Scientific opportunity and talent will drive investors to recognise the value of Newcastle as an innovation hotspot in the global life science landscape.
Building talent and opportunity here is critical as well as accepting that life science companies have an attrition rate, which is accepted by investors, so Newcastle shouldn’t hesitate to create opportunities for companies.
Find out more about Iksuda Therapeutics and the work they do at https://iksuda.com/