Imperial Innovations Spin-out, NanoBioDesign Limited, Secures Investment for Novel Drug Discovery Technology

Published: Jul 06, 2007

LONDON, July 6, 2007--Imperial Innovations Group plc, the technology commercialisation and investment company (AIM: IVO) and The Capital Fund, the £50 million Regional Venture Capital Fund for London, today announce that together they have invested £500,000 in NanoBioDesign Limited (NBD), a company developing a range of toxicity screening systems to speed up the drug discovery process. The company will use the funds to secure contracts with manufacturers to produce their array technology, which has applications in the pharmaceutical, chemical and cosmetics industries.

NBD is developing a new way of testing drugs on P450 liver enzymes that could potentially improve the safety of new medicines and reduce the costs associated with drug discovery. The liver acts like a chemical factory, breaking down foreign materials and allowing them to be excreted. The study of how new pharmaceuticals and other chemical agents react with P450 enzymes is critical to their development and an area that the Food and Drug Administration has highlighted as being in need of innovation.

NBD‘s new high throughput device is based on research by Professor Gianfranco Gilardi, co-founder and Research Director of NBD, in the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Imperial College London. It will enable tests on drug reaction with the liver to be conducted faster and with a higher degree of accuracy than is currently possible. In addition, it will become possible to undertake rapid testing on generic variants of enzymes and study drug-drug interactions, in order to avoid one drug cancelling out the effects of another drug, which could result in unwanted side effects.

NBD’s unique approach has already attracted the attention of a number of pharmaceutical companies and contract research organisations with whom it is in discussion about the co-development of this novel technology.

Dr. Steve Collins, co-founder and CEO of NanoBioDesign, said

“NBD has reached a crucial stage of market development and this financing round will allow the Company to develop its platform on an industrial scale.”

Susan Searle, Chief Executive Officer, Imperial Innovations said

“Our investment emphasises our commitment to the development of NBD’s technology. We are confident that the investment will accelerate the growth of NBD and help provide a valuable new tool for the drug discovery process.”

Ian Cameron, Investment Director at The Capital Fund, said:

“The Capital Fund is pleased to provide NDB with investment to develop its novel screening technology that will pay a key role in new drug development. The main causes of drug failures are safety and lack of effectiveness. NBD’s disruptive technology has the potential to reduce both of these problems by creating a greatly improved test for drug toxicity and drug-drug interaction. Steve Collins and his management team bring substantial technical and business skills to the venture and are well-placed to exploit the significant opportunity to improve the drug discovery process.”


For more information contact:

Imperial Innovations

Susan Searle, Chief Executive Officer

+44 (0)20 7594 6591

Lucy Ahfong, Marketing Communications Executive

+44 (0)20 7594 6644


Patrick d’Ancona / Eleanor Williamson

+44 (0)20 7153 1539

The Capital Fund/NanoBioDesign Limited

Margaret Henry, PR Manager


+44 (0)1865 811199

JPMorgan Cazenove (broker to Imperial Innovations)

Steve Baldwin

+44(0)20 7588 2828

Notes to Editors

About NanoBioDesign Ltd

NanoBioDesign is using a patented protein engineering approach to allow the P450 enzymes from the human liver to be attached to electrodes. The resulting platform allows a quick and direct assessment of P450 - drug interactions.

The concept incorporates protein engineering technology developed by Professor Gianfranco Gilardi at Imperial College London.

The company has recently completed the construction, immobilisation and electrochemistry of the major liver P450 enzymes, 3A4, 2D6, 2C9, 2C19 and 2E1. This will enable the rapid testing of new chemical species to determine their potential effects on these important enzymes and will open the way for the greater use of in vitro testing in drug development. The basic approach adopted for the wild type enzymes has been extended to include five allelic variants of 2D6 and 2C9. The results from which, are of interest to the emerging pharmacogenetics market. Early testing with a range of substrates has shown that the system is highly reproducible and the kinetic data produced is in line with that found in the literature for membrane bound enzymes.

In July 2005, NBD completed a funding round of £720,000, including investments from Imperial Innovations and NPI Ventures Ltd, which enabled the company to develop their first product a P450 testing tool based upon electrochemical detection. This technology will help improve the drug discovery process by rapidly and reliably assessing the toxicity of drugs at very early stages in the drug development process, thus reducing both the cost of new drug discovery and improving the safety profile of drugs progressing to trials and the market


About Imperial Innovations

Imperial Innovations is one of the UK's leading technology transfer and commercialisation companies. The company was founded in 1986 and its ordinary shares admitted to trading on the AIM Market of London Stock Exchange plc in July 2006, raising £26 million. The company’s integrated approach encompasses the identification of ideas, protection of intellectual property, development and licensing of technology and formation, incubation and investment in technology businesses. A wide range of technologies are commercialised within the areas of healthcare, energy, environment and emerging technology trends.

Based at Imperial College London, the company has established equity holdings in 70 technology businesses and has completed 116 commercial agreements. Imperial Innovations also commercialises technologies originating from outside Imperial College through incubation contracts with the Carbon Trust and WRAP and has relationships with a number of multinational corporations including BAE Systems.

Imperial Innovations has invested in a range of technology businesses, including The Acrobot Company Limited, BioCeramic Therapeutics Limited, Cardiak Limited, Circassia Holdings Limited, deltaDOT Limited, Equinox Pharma Limited, Future Waves PTE Limited, HeliSwirl Technologies Limited, InforSense Limited, IXICO Limited, Lontra Limited, Midaz Lasers Limited, NanoBioDesign Limited, Nexeon Limited, NovaThera Limited, PolyTherics Ltd, QuantaSol Limited, Thiakis Limited and Veryan Medical Limited.

Imperial Innovations currently holds shares in four technology businesses now listed on AIM including the fuel cell company, Ceres Power plc.

About the Capital Fund

Launched in 2002, The Capital Fund is a £50 million venture capital fund which backs fast-growing, small and medium-sized enterprises in Greater London. To date, the Fund has made over 50 investments in London-based companies and was named Regional Venture Capital Fund of the Year at the Investor Allstars Awards 2005.

Initial investments can be up to £250,000 and the Fund can invest a further £250,000 after six months or more. In some circumstances, alongside other new investors, the Fund can follow on its investments with up to £5m in total in a single company. The Capital Fund is the largest of the nine Regional Venture Capital Funds and has a mixture of public and private sector investors. For further information:

The Capital Fund is managed by YFM Venture Finance Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority and part of the YFM Group. The YFM Group provides investment capital and business development services to SMEs throughout the UK. It currently has £280m in funds and consultancy contracts under management, with over 90 employees. For further information:

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