Archive for May, 2011

First Significant Sale from UMIP Premier Fund

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MTI, the leading UK technology venture capital investor, announces the sale of Myconostica Limited, the first investment in the UMIP Premier Fund (UPF), to Cambridge UK-based, Lab21 Limited, for an undisclosed sum.

Myconostica develops and markets PCR based in vitro diagnostic test kits for the rapid diagnosis of life-threatening fungal infections and stems from the pioneering work of Professor David Denning of the Faculty of Medicine, the University of Manchester.

The sale of Myconostica to Lab 21 repositions the company within a larger portfolio of specialist diagnostics and services under the Lab 21 umbrella, and brings synergies to both companies, with the hope that the eventual exit point for shareholders in Lab21, whether through trade sale or flotation, will yield superior returns for all.

Commenting on the deal, Dr. David Holbrook, General Partner and Head of Life Sciences at MTI, said: “This deal is proof that real value can be generated through first class academic intellectual property when it is expertly and actively managed by hands-on investors such as MTI, Amphion and others. We look forward to reaping further benefits to our shareholders of the incremental increase in the value of the remainder of our investment as the Myconostica product line is commercialised through Lab 21’s channels.”

Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Myconostica, Professor David Denning said: “Fungal infections are frequently under-diagnosed using current diagnostic methods and are much more common than realised. We have developed fast and sensitive molecular diagnostics for life threatening fungal infections such as aspergillosis and pneumocystis pneumonia, that will transform patient care for these infections. The global reach of Lab21’s operations will extend the availability of Myconostica’s products to many more clinicians.”

Speaking for The University of Manchester’s technology transfer company UMIP Limited, which established the spin-out, Clive Rowland, CEO of UMIP said: “UMIP worked closely with Professor Denning to optimise the intellectual property platform underpinning the company’s products and we are delighted that MTI and the other investors have crafted a business which has now become an exemplar of what UMIP and the UPF Fund can achieve.”

Implant jab could solve the misery of back pain

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University of Manchester scientists have developed a biomaterial implant which could finally bring treatment, in the form of a jab, for chronic back pain.
Chronic lower back pain is a major problem for society – behind only headaches as the most common neurological ailment – and is frequently caused by degeneration of the intervertebral disc.

Researchers have worked for many years to find a way of repairing the wear and tear on the lower back.

Now, in results published in the journal Soft Matter, they have discovered how to permanently replace the workings of the invertebral disc.

It is estimated that back pain affects 80% of people at some point in their lives. In the United States it is the most common cause of job-related disability, a leading contributor to people missing work.

The University of Manchester cross-faculty team have been working with microgel particles, which are swellable nanoscopic polymer particles, for a number of years.

Previously, they have demonstrated that an injectable fluid of these particles could transform into a gel that restored the mechanical properties of damaged model intervertebral discs.

Lead researcher Dr Brian Saunders, of the School of Materials, and his team have now succeeded in linking the microgel particles together to form injectable durable, elastic gels capable of sustaining large permanent changes in shape without breaking.

These improved injectable gels have much better mechanical properties than the first generation and should now display the necessary long-term durability required for an implanted device.

In this study the researchers – who include PhD student Amir Milani and Dr Ruixue Liu – have achieved an important milestone for producing injectable gels for minimally-invasive repair of IVD degeneration.

Dr Saunders said: ““Our team has made a breakthrough through innovative materials design that brings the prospect of an injectable gel for treating degeneration of the intervertebral disc a step closer.

Professor Tony Freemont, Head of Research in the School of Biomedicine, and co-author on the paper, added:

“Degeneration of the intervertebral disc results in chronic back pain which costs the country billions of pounds per annum and causes untold misery for sufferers and their families.

“We have been working for 25 years to identify methods for treating degeneration of the intervertebral disc.”

This work has been funded by the EPSRC and was recently awarded Proof-of-Principle (PoP) funding by The University of Manchester Intellectual Property Limited (UMIP).

Starting up Medical Diagnostic Companies

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David Maddison – UMIP/MIMIT Designer-in-Residence Introduces

Lunchtime Discussions

Starting up Medical Diagnostic Companies Just what the Doctor Ordered

Presented by Neil Butler
Tuesday 10th May 2011, 1pm – 2pm
Room 3.204, University Place, Oxford Road (South Campus)

Addressing key issues that founders and CEOs are likely to encounter in forming an In vitro diagnostic business. The IVD market is driven by a number factors, the need to test new parameters, drug companies and regulators wanting to better target the use of therapies and the industry players wanting to improve their competitive advantage. Over the last 5 years significant acquisition transactions have changed the market participants and their portfolios. The combination of these dynamics has attracted venture capital to back the likely new winners, and their interest is very straightforward: maximising return.

Neil Butler
Neil has been the founding CEO of two Point-of-Care IVD businesses over the past 12 years, Oxford Biosensors and Vivacta. This involved raising $40m over 7 financing rounds. Since September last year he has run a consulting business that advises VC’s and early stage businesses on matters relating to IVD, he has also spent 3 months involved with The Gates Foundation and Grand Challenges Canada on setting standards for diagnostics in Global Health. An engineer whose career has predominantly been with material science related industries and over the last 12 years has worked on IVD’s employing electrochemistry, immunochemistry, nucleic acids and cell counting.

For more information, or to reserve your place, please contact susan.shaw@umip.com

(incorporating a series of lunchtime discussions) Future Design Clinics
May 10th, June 8th, July 13th, September 8th, October 6th, November 10th, December 8th, January 19th

University graduates impact business bottom line

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The University of Manchester today opens its highly successful Internship Programme to employers from Greater Manchester.

The Manchester Graduate Internship Programme (MGIP) provides businesses with a flexible opportunity to recruit talented graduates for short-term periods of between 4 – 12 months.
Edbury Daley Ltd, based in Carrington is an independent specialist recruitment consultancy who approached the University to recruit a new graduate. The company’s directors felt that in order to grow the business effectively recruiting a graduate would be the best move forward.
Commenting on the service Andrew Daley of Edbury Daley says “we recruited a graduate from MGIP and in nine months we have seen an increase of more than 30% per month in revenue in that particular area of our business. There is a clear correlation between these results and our graduate intern’s energy, enthusiasm and hard work”.
Biochemistry graduate, Christopher McGowan is delighted with his experience at Edbury Daley. He says ‘The best thing about working for a small business is that I have become such a valuable member of staff and an asset to the company in a relatively short space of time. I haven’t had a dull moment’. Christopher has now been offered a permanent contract and is continuing to yield impressive results impacting the company’s bottom line.
The MGIP programme works and is able to meet the needs of most business sectors successfully filling roles in Finance, Marketing, HR, Research, Project delivery and more.
Anne Milligan from the University says “We know we have a service that really helps small businesses that are looking to grow and develop. The flexibility of the scheme means a business can recruit a graduate through a relatively low risk route for a short period of time; just the injection of talent that businesses need in these uncertain times.”
Another happy customer Angela Yore from SkyParlour PR comments “We’re very impressed by MGIP and the high calibre graduates we interviewed. The selection process was handled from start to finish by the MGIP team saving us valuable time and money, which is essential to our business. The interns we hired have exceeded our expectations and have all the necessary foundations to become successful PR leaders of the future. We will definitely be using MGIP again and would be happy to recommend the service to any business, big or small, wanting to recruit high quality people.”
Having launched in 2008 the programme is now well established and is hoping to exceed its targets for the number of businesses who recruit through the programme this year.
For further informaiton about utilising graduates in your business, please call the MGIP team on 0161 275 4041 or visit: www.manchester.ac.uk/careers/internships

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