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US Biotech firm strikes deal with Clatterbridge

US biotech Pierian Biosciences opened its first UK base in Liverpool in a £34m investment and now it is joining forces with Clatterbridge in the battle against ovarian cancer. Tony McDonough reports

US biotech Pierian Biosciences is joining forces with the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in Liverpool to advance the treatment of ovarian cancer.

Based in Nashville, Pierian Biosciences is a diagnostic development and laboratory service organisation, specifically focused on personalised cancer intelligence.

Its diagnostics provide personalised treatment for patients diagnosed with cancer and autoimmune diseases.

In this new tie-up with Clatterbridge, an NHS Foundation Trust, it is hoped Pierian’s expertise can help revolutionise the treatment of ovarian cancer. Pierian’s chief executive Robert E Henry says it could “profoundly change” the treatment of the disease.

Pierian opened its first laboratory at Liverpool Science Park (LSP) in October 2022 as part of a £60m expansion. Thanks to support from the Liverpool City Region Inward Investment Fund, it was able to establish an operation in Liverpool.

Local corporate finance and advisory outfit Harrogate Group played a key role in bringing Pierian to Liverpool and raising the initial £34m. It is now raising another £25m to take the project to commercialisation.

In June this year Pierian announced a further expansion. It signed a lease for a second CAT-2 laboratory within the Sciontec-owned LSP close to Liverpool’s Catholic Cathedral. This takes the company’s total lab space in the city to 1,500 sq ft.

Primary objective of this new deal with Clatterbridge is to develop cutting-edge algorithms that will play a pivotal role in advancing the understanding and management of ovarian cancer.

Pierian is the biotechnology company and sponsor of the research and development study, with The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre acting as the clinical research organisation.

Robert E Henry said:

“The Pierian Team is excited about the future of cancer care as we enter this partnership with The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre to continue developing our groundbreaking assays.

“The Clatterbridge Team has welcomed us to Liverpool and has embraced our mission to profoundly change the approach to treatment selection for patients with cancer and auto-immune diseases.

“This strategic alliance between Pierian and The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre signifies a significant step forward in the quest to provide personalised medical solutions for patients facing cancer and auto-immune diseases.”

Recognised as a world-leading institution in cancer research, The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre will oversee critical aspects of the study.

These include site onboarding, patient screening, coordination with laboratory operations, and meticulous data entry and logging of de-identified patient clinical information including treatment regiment, adverse reactions, and clinical outcomes.

Dr Gillian Heap, Clatterbridge’s director of research and innovation operations, added:

“Clatterbridge has huge experience in leading cutting-edge clinical research trials and has world-leading cancer experts who can help bring success to this collaboration.”

Sue Wright, managing director at Harrogate Group, also said:

“This was an introduction. We made between our client Pierian and Clatterbridge which has now resulted in the signing of an important collaboration.

“This is a unique partnership between the NHS and a private entity… it is another success for the pharma and biosciences industries in the Liverpool Knowledge Quarter.”