SpyBiotech Appoints Seasoned Biotech Executive Mark Leuchtenberger as Chief Executive Officer

Our Story

The star of our story is a unique protein superglue

We have exclusive rights to apply the SpyTag/SpyCatcher technology to the field of vaccinology.


Mark Leuchtenberger, MBA, joined SpyBiotech as our Chief Executive Officer (CEO). He also joined the Board of Directors. Sumi Biswas, the company’s co-founder, remains President and and becomes Chief Scientific Officer (CSO). With the addition of Mark, we’ve established our presence in the United States with an office in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


We raised $32.5 million in Series A equity financing and appointed Lutz B. Giebel as Chairman. The round was led by new investor Braavos Investment Advisers and joined by new investor Oxford Investment Consultants. Founding investors Oxford Sciences Innovation and GV also participated, alongside the UK Government’s Future Fund, converting a prior convertible loan into equity. Proceeds will advance the clinical development of SpyBiotech’s novel vaccine technology platform, based on its proprietary SpyCatcher/SpyTag protein “superglue” technology. SpyBiotech plans to begin a Phase I clinical study of its internal lead candidate, targeting human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), in 2023. We also welcomed Simon Jones as VP of Finance and Operations.


We raised £10m in convertible debt funding from Oxford Sciences Innovation, the capital investor for Oxford University, and the U.K. Government's Future Fund.

SpyBiotech and Serum Institute of India announce the signing of an exclusive global licensing agreement for the development of a novel virus-like-particle (VLP) vaccine targeting COVID-19.  In September, the first subjects were dosed in a Phase I/II trial. Read more.


We generated exciting proof of concept data for vaccines to combat two viral diseases with huge unmet medical need and significant commercial potential. Our human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) candidate reached GMP process development in under 2 years.
We also generated data on the use of our technology for oncology applications.


In collaboration with Jenner Institute vaccinologists, Sumi Biswas, Simon Draper and Jing Jin as company co-founders, SpyBiotech was spun out from the University of Oxford with exclusive rights to apply the proprietary SpyTag/SpyCatcher technology to the field of vaccinology.

We raised £5 million in seed funding from Oxford Sciences Innovation, the capital investor for Oxford University, and GV (formerly Google Ventures).


SpyBiotech co-founder Mark Howarth and his team at Oxford University’s Department of Biochemistry began studying the common bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes, attracted by its ‘surprising chemistry’ and how that might be applied to the development of protein superglues.

Streptococcus pyogenes has exceptional anchors, rarely found in proteins, that enable it to attach to human cells. The protein locks onto itself without the need for any chemical modification or external manipulation and becomes extremely stable.

The team worked to turn that locking mechanism into a glue by splitting the protein into two pieces and then re-forming it through an irreversible covalent bond. The result was SpyTag/SpyCatcher - a protein superglue with strong stability and stickiness that is relatively simple and quick to produce. Unlike actual superglue, SpyTag and SpyCatcher also have the advantage of only sticking to each other. The technology is now being used in over 30 countries by research scientists working with proteins, with over 350 publications - list here.

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