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Covid trials underway

Drugs firm ICL raising £3.5m ahead of possible IPO

Clinical trials are under way

ILC Therapeutics, a Glasgow-based drugs development company, is raising £3.5m from wealthy investors and family trusts ahead of a possible IPO next year.

The company wants the new funding in order to complete trials of its potential Covid-19 treatment Alfacyte.

A spokesman said the timing and magnitude of the IPO depends on the market at that time, “though it could be AIM or NASDAQ in the first half of next year.” It could value the company in the order of £10m.

In the meantime, it has strengthened its board and management with Peter Bains joining as non-executive chairman, Richard Morgan as a non-executive director and Allan Watson as chief financial officer.

Current chairman Dr Magnus Nicholson will become senior adviser and non-executive director.


His successor has more than three decades of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. This includes senior strategic and operational roles in a 20-plus year career with GSK and more recently serving as CEO of Syngene (where he led a successful IPO and listing) and Sosei Heptares, a Japanese publicly listed company.

Mr Morgan has played an active role in the development of more than 35 life science companies assisting a number of these with listings on the London Stock Exchange.

Mr Watson has worked globally as a CFO for leading pharmaceuticals and med-tech companies and has advised multiple companies on IPOs and M&As.

ILC Therapeutics has attracted international attention for its work developing a new class of proprietary laboratory-designed interferons based on the pioneering work of Professor William Stimson, ILCT’s founder and Chief Scientific Officer.

Alfacyte has shown significant potential in the fight against SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.

In vitro testing at the University of St Andrews demonstrated that Alfacyte had many times greater antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 cell culture than any other available interferons which “interfere” with viral reproduction and are one of the body’s key defences against all viral pathogens.

Mr Bains said: “Alfacyte has the potential to treat a wide range of viral and infectious diseases and offers us a significant tool for future pandemics.”

Dr Alan Walker, CEO of ILC Therapeutics, stated: “We are very pleased to announce this funding round and expansion of the team to further develop our world class scientific and commercial team with industry veterans who have started and grown multiple life sciences companies such as Peter and Richard. 

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“The development of antiviral therapeutics for Covid-19 is crucial to complement the vaccine effort and to ensure we have a safety net should a new mutation escape vaccines entirely.

“It is also a vital treatment for those who are not able to take vaccines or choose not to. Having a potent therapeutic interferon such as Alfacyte that can suppress viral respiratory diseases before it progresses in the body can also play a central role in future pandemics and potentially give us the upper hand when a virus first emerges.” 

The company was founded by Professor WH Stimson, who was the founder of the Department of Immunology at The University of Strathclyde. He has been involved in eight start-up/spin-out biotech companies.

Also he has been a long-term consultant to five multinational companies including Akzo Nobel, Rhone-Poulenc and Johnson & Johnson. He has published 216 scientific papers and 46 patents and was involved in the use of the first human monoclonal antibodies for cancer therapy.

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