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Startup RQ Biotechnology received $157 million from AstraZeneca for Covid antibodies

RQ Bio emerges from stealth mode announcing its launch as a new UK-based biotechnology company following the completion of a successful licensing deal with AstraZeneca for RQ Bio’s existing mAbs against SARS-CoV-2 with payments of up to $157 million plus royalties.

The Company, which is headquartered in London, is dedicated to developing treatments and preventative therapies based on potent broad-spectrum mAbs to provide instant and long-lasting immunity for vulnerable people at risk of severe disease or death from existing, emerging and new viral infections.

The RQ Bio executive team is composed of biotech and pharmaceutical industry leaders with proven expertise in end-to-end antibody generation. Key appointments include:

  • Hugo Fry, CCO at Imbria and former Sanofi Executive, appointed as CEO
  • Mike Westby, co-founder of RQ Bio, CSO of Centauri Therapeutics and former Pfizer R&D Executive, remains a key Scientific Advisor
  • Paul Kellam, co-founder of RQ Bio, Professor of Virus Genomics at Imperial College London and Vice President of Infectious Diseases & Vaccines at Kymab UK, remains a key Scientific Advisor
  • Jane Osbourn OBE, co-founder of RQ Bio, CSO of Alchemab and previous Chair of the BIA, remains a key Scientific Advisor

To maximise and accelerate patient impact, the company will continue to be supported by its collaborations with its scientific co-founders, the University of Oxford and leading UK medical research charity LifeArc.Professor Gavin Screaton, Head of the Medical Sciences Division at the University of Oxford, will continue to advise in his capacity as scientific and medical co-founder, as will Clare Terlouw, Head of LifeArc Ventures and UK BIA board member, as a member of the Board of Directors.

Hugo Fry, CEO of RQ Bio, said:

Our vision is to build on our successful debut with neutralising antibody therapy for SARS-CoV-2 and develop innovative medicines to address current and evolving unmet needs in other viral infectious diseases. By combining our expertise and innovative excellence in core areas we have created a smarter approach to antibody generation making us uniquely positioned to deliver fast patient impact.

Clare Terlouw, Head of LifeArc Ventures, said:

LifeArc is committed to backing leading UK academics and scientists, and we were inspired to fund RQ Bio because of the exceptional group of founders who are so passionately dedicated to finding new treatments and preventative therapies in areas of high unmet patient need. LifeArc provided support from across the Charity, including the venture team, scientific labs and other in-house experts to help RQ Bio execute on its business plan, and we look forward to further supporting RQ Bio as it becomes a world-leading infectious disease company.


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