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Arix Bioscience increases stake in cutting-edge cancer company after backing its latest financing round

The venture capital company committed £3.4mln to Aura Biosciences' Series D financing round

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Arix invests in the biotech and life sciences sectors

Arix Bioscience PLC (LON:ARIX) said it had increased its stake in investee company Aura Biosciences after backing the latter’s £31mln (US$40mln) Series D financing round.

Arix committed £3.4mln, taking its holding in the ocular oncology specialist to 7.7%.

READ: Autolus Therapeutics presents promising leukaemia trial data at American Association for Cancer Research's annual meeting

Its total interest in the business rose to £8.5mln from £3.9mln, while the financing recognised a 33% uplift in the book value of Arix’s Series C investment in Aura.

The cash injection will fund Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Aura’s late-stage clinical development of its lead asset, light-activated AU-011, for the treatment of primary choroidal melanoma, a rare but aggressive eye cancer.

The ongoing phase Ib/II clinical trial has provided evidence of tumour control and the preservation of visual acuity (clarity of vision).

The phase III study is expected to get underway in the first half of next year. Arix chief executive Joe Anderson lauded the “significant clinical progress” made by Aura.

“We look forward to working alongside the world-class management team and new and existing investors to accelerate development of this potential new treatment,” he added.

Arix investment director, Mark Chin, will continue to serve on the Aura board.

After hours on Monday, data was presented from a phase I/II clinical trial being carried out by another Arix investee company, Autolus Therapeutics. The late-breaking poster presentation at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, assessed the progress to date of a next-generation programmed T-cell therapy for patients with acute lymphoblastic B-cell leukaemia.

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