A female-led preclinical biotech start-up Vitarka Therapeutics, focused on revolutionising the market for non-viral drug delivery technology, has raised £1.27Min equity from venture capital firm SOSV, the UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (UK12S) and grant funding from Innovate UK.

Founded in 2021 by Dr Vineeta Tripathi, Vitarka Therapeutics is developing combination medicines using RNAi therapies and a non-viral drug delivery platform.  Their novel tumour-targeted platform technology, EndoPore, targets solid tumours and delivers therapeutics for intracellular targets.  

These new funds will accelerate the technology for pre-clinical validation, proving efficacy in fit-for-purpose disease relevant animal models. The development plan will also progress towards pharmacokinetics studies and improving technical processes for large-scale manufacturing.

Dr Tripathi has more than 15 years’ experience in drug development, including at Boehringer Ingelheim and Ipsen Bioinnovation. Professor Peter Simpson who was the founding CSO of Medicines Discovery Catapult, UK’s Centre for Excellence, has joined Vitarka’s team as Chief Strategy Officer.

Vitarka Therapeutics is rapidly carving out a strong reputation in its field and it was the only UK company successfully selected on the 5th cohort of the SOSV’s IndieBio New York program IBNY5.

In its first six months, Vitarka raised £250,000 from non-dilutive funding and backing from Discovery Park’s investment fund, Discovery Park Ventures.

Dr Vineeta Tripathi, CEO of Vitarka Therapeutics said, “It has just been a year since we defined our product so to raise such a substantial amount within this timeframe is remarkable. 

“Our new investors bring a range of complementary expertise to Vitarka and we are delighted to be working with them.  We thank them, together with Innovate UK, for all their support.”

Stephen Chamber, Partner and MD of IndiBio New York, part of SOSV said “At IndieBio, we look for companies that want to make a difference in the world and have the passion and skills to deliver on their dreams, and we found that in abundance with Vitarka Therapeutics..

“We are excited about this investment as it represents a unique opportunity to contribute to the advancement of medical treatments and improve patient outcomes. The RNAi and non-viral drug delivery space is full of untapped potential, and we are confident that Vitarka’s unique approach will unleash the full power of this emerging class of therapeutics. We are thrilled to continue supporting Vitarka and look forward to being a part of their growth and success.”

Hassan Mahmudul, Investor, UKI2S and Future Planet Capital added:

“Delivering RNA therapeutics into the right tissues without off-target toxicity is a major problem faced by the Pharma industry. That is why we are excited to back Vitarka and their unique approach to drug delivery. Their development of a novel platform technology has the potential to provide a solution which safely combats tumours and we look forward to continuing our partnership with them”.