Cambridge Research BioVentures (CRB), in collaboration with Cambridge Research and Innovation Ltd (CRIL), has provided the majority share in a joint investment of GBP700,000. Bloomsbury Investment Capital, the company responsible for University College London’s programme of investments, and Xenva Ltd has together invested an additional GBP300,000. Cancer Research Campaign Technologies, UCL and the Universities of Portsmouth and Nottingham are also shareholders in SpiroGen.
SpiroGen’s founders include Professor David Thurston (Professor of Cancer Chemotherapy) and Dr Philip Howard, both based at Nottingham University. Professor John Hartley, currently at UCL, provides the team’s biochemical and biological expertise. The company is commercialising a platform technology capable of discovering lead compounds, which can recognise and interact with any specified gene sequence. SpiroGen, whose work has widespread applications in the fields of biotechnology, cancer and virology, plans to move into laboratories in London later this year.
Dr Chris Keightley, managing director of CRB, commented that SpiroGen has a very exciting future. One of the compounds that the company has developed is already in pre-clinical development with the National Cancer Institute in the US and with the Cancer Research Campaign in the UK.
Cambridge Research BioVentures was established a year ago as a co-operative venture between Research Corporation Technologies of Tuscon, Arizona and co-investors Cambridge Research and Innovation Limited.
Based in Dublin, Cambridge Research BioVenture aims to support the early development of biomedical and life science discoveries in the UK and Ireland.
Research Corporation Technologies, which has provided Cambridge Research BioVentures with GBP8 million investment capital, is an independent technology management company, operating internationally, that commercialises technologies from universities and research institutions. Dr Chris Keightley, managing director of Cambridge Research BioVenture and director of life sciences at Cambridge Research and Innovation Limited, is co-ordinating the investment activities of both organisations.
John Dix of Hewitson Becke + Shaw, the law firm that worked on the funding agreement, said: “This is a prime example of private capital investment helping to develop the technology produced by research institutions.”