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North West Fund for Biomedical Invest £100K in University-Spin Out and Healthcare Sensor Firms


11/10/2011 11:01:38 AM

10 November 2011 -- The University of Salford’s first ever drug development spin-out company Onco-NX and Manchester-based Kanichi Research Services Ltd have secured investment from the North West Fund for Biomedical.

Drug discovery spin-out company Onco-NX and Kanichi Research Services, which develops a bespoke range of sensors for the healthcare market, have each received £50K Pathfinder Investments.

The North West Fund for Biomedical is managed by early-stage venture capital firm SPARK Impact and is part of the £185m evergreen fund provided jointly by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), to supply debt and equity funding to small and medium sized enterprises in the North West.

Onco-NX’s main activity is dedicated to drug discovery and development in the field of Oncology. The company has an emerging pipeline of opportunities, the £50K investment will allow Onco-NX to begin to assess its opportunities in more depth and continue to gather data on its lead compounds.

Pawel Zolnierczyk, IP Manager at the University of Salford and key commercial support for Onco-NX, said: “We are really excited to be working with SPARK Impact on this project and would like to thank all the team for helping to get our first drug development spin-out company up and running. The Onco-NX team has worked very hard to make this a reality and we are looking forward to continuing to develop products in what is a very important and hopefully valuable market.”

Founded in 2008, Kanichi develops novel electrochemical sensors for the rapidly growing point of care healthcare market. There are a number of disease states which result in chemical or biomarkers being present in breath and Kanichi’s technology allows rapid detection and measurement of these markers with a view to aiding diagnosis.

The investment will allow Kanichi to grow its team, particularly on the commercial side, enabling it to engage further with existing customers and licensees. The company will increase its knowledge of point of care diagnostic opportunities through market research to facilitate taking forward its in-house products. Part of the investment will be used to continue to prosecute its existing patent portfolio, and file new patents to further protect the IP being developed by Kanichi.

Founder of Kanichi, Professor David Walton said: “We are extremely pleased to receive this initial investment from SPARK Impact and the Biomedical fund. This will allow us to grow our team, delivering on existing commercial projects, and develop and patent our in house diagnostic products.”

Dr Penny Attridge, Senior Investment Director at SPARK Impact and manager of The North West Fund for Biomedical, said: “With Onco-NX, we’re pleased to be able to work with such a highly regarded team from Salford Universities Molecular Drug Design Centre headed up by Prof. Alan McGown and Dr John Hadfield, and thrilled to be able to invest in Salford’s first spin-out company.

“In Kanichi Research Services, we are delighted to make an investment into what we feel is an exciting, promising and what could be a world beating technology platform for point of care sensors. Kanichi has an excellent, experienced team of well respected technical and commercial developers, and had demonstrated the value of its technology through the sale and license of its sensors into biomedical applications.

“SPARK Impact is continuing to invest in exciting and interesting opportunities, over the last few months we have completed six Pathfinder investments across the very wide and diverse Biomedical sector.”

The North West Fund for Biomedical is accessible to a broad range of companies including those developing pharmaceuticals; new diagnostics and medical devices, and those working in the fields of clinical research, contract manufacturing and analytical services. It is open to the biomedical companies based in, or prepared to relocate, to the North West of England.

For more information about the fund and how to apply visit www.thenorthwestfund.co.uk.

SPARK Impact is located within Liverpool Science Park.

Media contacts

SPARK Impact

Louise Clancy, Louise.Clancy@sparkimpact.co.uk, 0151 705 3416

The North West Fund

Alastair Henry, MC2 – alastairh@mcmc.co.uk 0161 236 1352

The North West Fund for Biomedical and SPARK Impact:

The £25m North West Fund for Biomedical, which is managed by SPARK Impact, is part of the £185m evergreen fund provided by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), to supply debt and equity funding to small and medium sized enterprises in the North West of England.

The North West Fund for Biomedical, which was launched in February 2011, is accessible to a broad range of companies including those developing pharmaceuticals, new diagnostics and medical devices, and those working in the fields of clinical research, contract manufacturing and analytical services. It is open to companies based in, or prepared to relocate to, the North West of England, with 40% of the fund to be invested on Merseyside. It is expected that the fund will invest in over 50 businesses. It has already received over 100 applications and made six investments to date. For more information about the fund and how to apply please visit www.thenorthwestfund.co.uk

The North West Fund

The North West Fund is a £185m evergreen investment fund established to provide debt and equity funding (from £50,000 to £2 million) to small and medium sized enterprises based in, or relocating to, the North West of England. The Fund addresses an identified gap in the lending, venture capital and private equity markets. It one of the largest public sector funds of its kind in Europe and the largest in the UK.

The North West Fund is financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank (EIB) under the European Commission's Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises Initiative – otherwise known as the JEREMIE programme.

The North West Fund is the umbrella name for the six funds that are available to businesses in the form of debt, equity and quasi-equity. These funds are managed by six fund managers under contract with North West Business Finance Limited (NWBF), which has been established to oversee the delivery of the Fund Initially, £170m of The North West Fund has been allocated to the six fund managers.

Each fund manager now has a mandate to invest their allocation into the specific product or sector they manage, until 31st December 2015. The remaining £15m will be available for further allocation and investment through to the end of 2015. Such further allocations will be made as investment needs become more apparent.

North West Business Finance Ltd (NWBF) is a private, not for profit company, established to oversee the delivery of The North West Fund.

European structure, JEREMIE

The JEREMIE initiative offers EU Member States, through their national or regional Managing Authorities, the opportunity to use part of their European Union (EU) Structural Funds to finance small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by means of equity, loans or guarantees, through a revolving umbrella fund. The initiative was developed by the European Commission (EC) and the European Investment Fund (EIF), which is part of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group.

JEREMIE provides for a range of debt and equity financial tools to obtain the most appropriate allocation of funds according to national, regional or local requirements.

ERDF in the Northwest

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is making a real difference to people and businesses in the North West. With €755 million to invest between 2007 and 2013, ERDF is enhancing the competitiveness of the region’s economy by supporting growth in enterprise and employment.

ERDF in the North West is managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government – for further information visit www.communities.gov.uk/erdf.

The European Investment Bank (EIB)

The EIB is the European Union’s long-term financing institution and, provides long-term finance for capital projects promoting European economic objectives. The EIB made its first loan in the UK in 1973 and since then has lent around €75bn for investment in the UK economy. In the years from 2004 to 2009, the EIB financed investment in the UK totalling some € 23.5bn - GBP 17.5 billion.

The Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA)

The NWDA works to deliver economic success in England’s North West by building the competitiveness of its businesses, people and places. Utilising technical expertise and strategic influence, it helps the region’s 250,000+ businesses to develop and grow, as well as supporting international trade and encouraging inward investment.

For further information on the NWDA please visit www.nwda.co.uk.


Read at BioSpace.com


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