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Lab901 Successful £2.4m Funding Round Takes Screentape Pioneer To The Next Level

9/8/2009 2:21:00 PM

Lab901 Limited, the Edinburgh-based developer and manufacturer of innovative automation systems for the life science industry, has successfully raised £2.4 million in equity funding. This latest vote of confidence comes from Lab901’s strong consortium of UK investors, comprising Archangel Informal Investment Ltd, Alliance Trust Equity Partners (ATEP), Scottish Enterprise SVF, Foresight 3 VCT plc and TriCapital Ltd.

Lab901 will use the cash injection to expand international sales of its ScreenTape® laboratory analysis platform and further develop its product range. This automated platform replaces manual analysis of bio-molecules (Proteins, DNA and RNA), giving faster results and enabling better decision making. It is now widely used for infectious disease testing, e.g. screening for swine flu, in the molecular diagnostics market ,where it continues to deliver proven commercial benefits. Since launching in 2007, ScreenTape is now sold in more than 20 countries – including South Korea, South Africa, Canada, Venezuela, Malaysia and Mexico, as well as many European countries – through a network of 16 distribution partners.

Building on this success, Lab901 also recently launched two new versions of ScreenTape for Protein and RNA analysis, targeting the significant global market for biomedical research in pharmaceutical companies, universities and research institutes. These products are currently being sold direct throughout Europe, with global roll-out commencing 2010.

Commenting on the latest round of funding, Joel Fearnley, CEO and co-founder of Lab901, said: “Lab901 has an enviable track record with the successful development and commercialisation of the innovative ScreenTape platform and our existing investors have provided the finance we need to support planned global sales growth.”

John Waddell, CEO of Archangel Informal Investments, added: “In challenging times, it is very encouraging that Archangel investors are continuing to support Scottish companies like Lab901 to help them grow into global businesses. This funding round reflects the dedication of the management team in meeting key milestones and its proven ability to succeed on the global stage."

About Lab901

Lab901 was founded in 2002 by two automation engineers from Motorola (Joel Fearnley & Stuart Polwart) and two research scientists from Univ. Edinburgh (Prof. Peter Ghazal and Dr. Douglas Roy). The DNA ScreenTape® for DNA analysis is the first product from a pipeline of consumables that will be run on the company’s TapeStation instrument. Lab901 is situated in Loanhead, just south of Edinburgh, where ScreenTape products are manufactured in a dedicated production cleanroom. Protein ScreenTape has applications in life science research and drug discovery including quality control during antibody production and monitoring of protein purification. DNA ScreenTape has applications in life science research as well as molecular diagnostic testing for infectious disease including respiratory viruses (e.g. influenza) and sexually transmitted diseases (e.g. chlamydia).

About Archangel Informal Investment

Archangel Informal Investment is Scotland's leading Business Angel Syndicate and was the first investor in Lab901 in 2002. Originally formed in 1992 and based in Edinburgh, the syndicate now comprises around 100 investor members and invests c. £12m per year in early stage Scottish companies.

About Alliance Trust Equity Partners (ATEP)

ATEP is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alliance Trust PLC and is focussed on the provision of private equity finance. Alliance Trust PLC is a self-managed investment company with investment trust status. A FTSE-100 company, it is the largest generalist UK investment trust by market value listed on the London Stock Exchange. As at 31 July 2009, the Trust managed assets of more than £2.2bn.

About Foresight Group

Foresight Group is an alternative asset manager with some £200m under management and a strong 25 year track record and specific expertise in environmental infrastructure, solar energy and private equity. The group has over 200 years of collective investment experience and offers entrepreneurial managers capital and hands-on expertise to create long-term value and generate higher returns for shareholders.

About TriCapital

TriCap, which is based in the Scottish Borders, was founded in 2005 with the intention of investing in growth businesses in the Borders and beyond. Its founders include some of the Borders’ leading business people who, between them, have many years’ experience of building and investing in enterprises in the Borders and further afield. TRI Cap, which is based in the Scottish Borders, was founded in 2005 with the intention of investing in growth businesses in the Borders and

About Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise is Scotland’s main enterprise, innovation and investment agency. Working in partnership with industry, academia and the public sector, Scottish Enterprise aims to help make Scotland a place where business can thrive and key industries can be competitive. The Scottish Venture Fund provides investments of up to £2m per transaction in partnership with the private sector on at least a matched funding basis in syndicated transactions, typically, between £2m and £10m.

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