OXFORD, England, February 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Oxitec Ltd, a British company pioneering a new approach to combating dengue fever, announced today that it has secured £8 million of new investment. The investment will finance further trials of the Oxitec Control Programme, designed to reduce populations of the dengue mosquito in communities hardest hit by the disease. The Oxitec solution harnesses advanced genetics to create 'sterile' male insects. The company has demonstrated success in trials in a number of countries and is developing a range of products in both public health and agriculture.
Dengue fever, which at conservative estimate infects 50 million people a year, is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. It is a growing global problem with reported cases of the disease growing 30 fold in the last 50 years. Currently, mosquito populations are controlled by chemical pesticides but have not stopped the spread of the disease.
Oxitec's new investors, which include Asia Pacific Capital, are based in many of the regions affected by dengue fever and other insect-borne diseases, such as the USA, Argentina, Brazil and South East Asia. The funding round was led by specialist investment manager Oxford Capital.
Hadyn Parry, Chief Executive, Oxitec, said:
"This new investment round marks an important step forward for Oxitec. We have reached agreements to roll out our technology in many of the countries facing growing problems with insect-borne diseases, with a particular focus on dengue fever. The success of our funding round underlines the confidence investors from around the world have in our approach and its potential."
David Mott, Investment Director, Oxford Capital said:
"Oxitec has developed a break-through solution to control disease-carrying insects. The fact Oxitec has secured backing from investors in many of the countries affected by these infections shows they recognise the enormous impact this approach could have addressing this growing problem. Oxitec is exporting advanced British technology to the world and is the perfect example of the type of business the UK needs to get the economy back on its feet."
W. Gage McAfee, Managing Director, Asia Pacific Capital, said:
"Asia Pacific Capital focuses on the 'Asian Tiger' economies of China and India, where insect-borne infections and food security are increasing problems with serious economic consequences. Oxitec's proven technology could make a real difference and we were keen to back the business - both for its potential for capital growth and the positive impact its technology could have on the wider regional economy."
Oxitec worked closely with Oxford Capital to achieve one of the largest recent growth capital funding rounds at a difficult time to raise new money. Investor confidence in this new and innovative British technology is strong, particularly from the areas hardest hit by dengue fever.
Notes to editors:
About Oxitec (http://www.oxitec.com)
Oxitec has developed an innovative solution, employing advances in genetics and molecular biology, to improve on the well-established radiation-based Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). SIT is currently used to control insect pests that damage crops. Oxitec's technology extends the principle of using sterility to suppress insect populations to a far broader range of insect species that threaten both public health and agriculture and also overcomes cost efficacy hurdles. The approach has the potential to make a major contribution to both global health by combating insects responsible for serious diseases such as dengue fever.
- Wellcome Trust Translational Award for control of Aedes aegypti in Malaysia
- Martin and Audrey Woods Enterprise Awards 2009 Overall winner and Best Green Technology
- BBSRC Innovator of the Year 2009
- Technology Strategy Board award to develop Asian Tiger Mosquito
- World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer 2008
- University of California Irvine, as part of an FNIH-supported Grand Challenges in Global Health consortium
About Oxford Capital (http://www.oxcp.com)
Founded in 1999 Oxford Capital is a specialist investment manager working on behalf of institutional and private investors. Its focus is on investing in emerging companies around three super-growth themes of communications, healthcare and sustainability. Its expertise lies in accelerating businesses with potential for high growth into global markets.
Oxford Capital currently oversees a portfolio of around 25 companies, many of which have expanded into international markets in Europe, the US, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia.
The firm manages a range of funds designed for private investors, family offices and institutions to access growth capital opportunities and alternative investments. In the UK, Oxford Capital pioneered the tax efficient Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) fund which offers a range of tax advantages to investors.
Oxford Capital has offices in the UK and in Switzerland and manages an international network of partners and advisers to support the development of its portfolio companies.
- Unquote British Private Equity Awards 2010
Finalist: Venture House of the Year Award
- Investor Allstars Awards 2010
Finalist: Equity Gap Fund of the Year
- Enterprise Investment Scheme Association Awards 2006.
Winner: Best EIS Fund Manager
- Investor Allstars Awards 2006
Winner: Young Personality of the Year (David Mott)
- Unquote Private Equity Awards 2005
Winner: Venture Capital House of the Year