UMIP Premier Fund invest in Arvia

Written by UMIP on . Posted in News

MTI Partners is delighted to announce the second investment by the UMIP Premier Fund (UPF). This latest investment is in a company called Arvia Technology Ltd (Arvia), a company operating within the rapidly developing environmental technology sector. Partnering with Alliance Fund Managers (AFM), which has invested through the Merseyside Special Investment Fund (MSIF) Liverpool Seed Fund, and private individuals, GBP 800,000 has been invested in Arvia to bring to market its groundbreaking water purification products.

Arvia is a spin-out company from the University of Manchester’s School of Chemical Engineering and the company is a product of UMIP’s well regarded technology transfer and incubation process. Arvia Technology Ltd has developed a continuous, low cost and low maintenance process for the removal of pollutants from water for both the industrial and the municipal sectors.

Nigel Brown, the founder and Technical Director of Arvia stated:
“This investment comes at just the right time for Arvia, as it is now able to put working units in the field, prove the economic and performance benefits and continue to develop the high calibre management team alongside our new investor partners.”

Managing Partner of MTI Partners, David Ward said:
“Arvia’s capability in materials development underpins this technology offering to the global water market that is gaining importance and becoming more innovative. This investment is a perfect fit for MTI’s Materials Science/Cleantech practice.”

Arvia will locate to Merseyside in the near future and it will form part of the growing cluster of high-tech companies in the region.

Darling meets spin-outs during Manchester visit

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On the 2nd June Chancellor Alistair Darling visited UMIC’s Core Technology Facility building in Manchester to meet two successful biotech spin-outs, Renovo (LSE:RNVO) and Epistem (LSE:EHP). The Core Technology Facility was established with NWDA and ERDF funding to provide grow-on incubator space for biotechnology and high-tech early stage companies.

Although Darling was in Manchester to officially launch the Manchester Independent Economic Review – a major study into Manchester’s economic potential ndash; he specifically requested a chance to look around company laboratories and to meet company executives.

Professor Mark Ferguson, Renovo’s CEO explains: “We were pleased to show the Chancellor around Renovo including our recent expansion to new facilities on the first floor of the Core Technology Facility. He saw first-hand our development of novel pharmaceutical drugs to reduce scarring and accelerate healing.”

Mark continues: “We discussed the challenges facing biotechnology companies like Renovo. We’ve grown from just 2 founders – Dr Sharon O’Kane and myself – and spun out of The University of Manchester as a private VC backed company in 2000. Renovo now has over 180 full time employees, we are publicly listed on the main list of the London Stock Exchange, and we spend close to £30 million per annum on research and development.”

During the Chancellor’s visit, Peter Sanderson, chairman of The University of Manchester Intellectual Property Limited (UMIP), presented an overview of the University’s IP commercialisation activities. Ernie Richardson, CEO of MTI Partners, expressed his enthusiasm for ideas developed at the University now in the process of commercialisation.

MTI Partners are the fund managers for the recently-launched £32 million UMIP Premier Fund. Ernie comments: “We have seen evidence of some incredible ideas within the research departments of The University of Manchester. This Fund will enable those researchers to gain access to the finance and business skills to turn their ideas into real business – what could be more exciting?”

Myconostica Ltd Closes Oversubscribed $7.7 Million Round and Establishes US Headquarters in Charleston

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Financing to bring advanced medical diagnostics for
life-threatening infections to market and establish US presence.

April 2008, Manchester UK and Charleston, SC- Myconostica Ltd, a Manchester UK-based medical diagnostic company specializing in rapid and highly specific tests for life-threatening fungal infections, today announces that it has closed an $7.7 million (£3.9M) oversubscribed round of financing from a number of leading international private equity investors. The new funds will be used to launch the company’s first two products and establish new US headquarters in Charleston, SC.

Over 10 million people are at risk of invasive fungal infections in Europe and
North America each year. This number is increasing rapidly with the large
growth in patients whose treatments involves transplants and/or the use of
immuno-suppressive drugs, leaving them susceptible to fungal infection. Current
diagnostic methods are too slow and non-specific for optimal patient care.
Myconostica which was formed in 2006 as a spin out from the University of
Manchester, is developing and commercializing tests based on highly specific genetic “signatures” unique to each disease and allow faster and much more
precise diagnosis. These “molecular diagnostics” are simple and can detect
multiple fungi in a single process.

The completion of the series C financing was led by Nexus Medical Partners (Boston and Charleston) and also featured Innoven Partenaires (France), the principal international investors joining existing investor Amphion Innovations (AIM: AMP-L) in the round. This second close brings the total raised, in the current Series C financing, to approximately $8.6 Million(£4.4 M).

The capital raised in this round of financing will support the launch of
Myconostica’s first two products. The first product is the world’s first real-time molecular diagnostic simultaneously testing for both Aspergillus and Pneumocystis. The second product is a fungal DNA extraction system. The diagnostic product, announced at the Trends in Medical Mycology meeting in Turin in October 2007, is CE marked, which enables sales in Europe and several other territories. The investment will also allow development of further diagnostic tests in the FXG series targeting other critical fungal infections. Myconostica will be applying to the FDA for regulatory approval to launch the products in the US market.

Following the latest fund raising, Myconostica are also pleased to announce the opening of its US headquarters in Charleston, South Carolina. The new office, Myconostica’s first outside of the UK, will be the focus for North American operations and was chosen after careful review of alternative locations. South Carolina has a growing cluster of medtech and biotech industry.

Gregory Zaic, Nexus’s senior partner in charge of Nexus’s Charleston office, introduced the company to key clinicians at MUSC, thanks to suggestions by MUSC’s president, Dr. Ray Greenberg. The company is establishing clinical cooperation with members of the MUSC faculty. The location of Myconostica’s US office is being facilitated by the City Of Charleston’s Life Science Initiative (of which Nexus is a supporter). Nexus is one of the four venture capital firms to receive state sponsored funding under the South Carolina Venture Capital Investment Act.

Myconostica welcome:

Dr. Edwin Snape to their Board. Dr. Snape is co-founder and head of the healthcare practice at Nexus Medical Partners (Boston and Charleston) and has been involved in venture investing for the past 30 years. He brings further valuable commercial and diagnostics sector expertise to the company.
Spencer Kerry as Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Kerry, a Cambridge law graduate who qualified as an accountant with Deloitte and Touche, has over ten years experience in various senior corporate financial roles most recently as Business Controller at Edinburgh based biotech company Ardana PLC.

Dr. Snape indicated “I am pleased to accept the Board position at Myconostica. The company represents an excellent example of Nexus bringing into South Carolina an exciting, knowledge-based company. In addition, the $2 million invested by Nexus through its fund, was supplemented by three times that amount of capital via coinvestors.”

Professor David Denning, founder of Myconostica, and a world leading authority on fungal disease at the University Hospital of South Manchester, said, “I am very pleased with the exceptional level and quality of international response to this financing opportunity as it allows us to continue the exceptionally rapid
progress in the development of our company and our current and future products. The medical need for these products is clear and growing.”

Jerel Whittingham, Chief Executive Officer of Myconostica commented, “At such a difficult time in financial markets, Myconostica’s success in this oversubscribed fund-raising is a tremendous endorsement of our commercial prospects and we will only succeed commercially by making a real difference medically. “

For further information please contact:

Myconostica Ltd
Jerel Whittingham, CEO, (Manchester):
+44 (0)7779 095604 / +44 (0)161 998 7239
Dr. John Thornback, Chief Operations Officer (currently in US):
Mobile/Cell +44 (0) 7968 726573

About Myconostica Ltd.
Myconostica is a medical diagnostics company, spun out of The University of
Manchester in 2006 specializing in molecular diagnostic tests for life-threatening
invasive fungal infections. Myconostica has its Head Office and laboratories in
South Manchester, and has strong links to the University Hospital South
Manchester and the Regional Mycology Laboratory, Manchester. Founded by
David Denning, Professor of Medicine and Medical Mycology, Myconostica has a
strong pipeline of products, the first of which will be launched in 2008.
On the web:
Myconostica is a partner company of Amphion Innovations.

Spin-out venture fund achieves first close

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MTI and The University of Manchester today announce the first close of Europe’s largest institutional fund to have a single university focus ndash; the UMIP Premier Fund (“the Fund”).

With funding from a broad range of UK and European institutional and supranational investors, including EIF (European Investment Fund), NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts), Co-operative Insurance Society and others, the Fund has initial backing of €42 million (£32 million). The fund manager, MTI, believes that it is likely the Fund will eventually close at €65 million (£50 million).

The Fund will make most of its initial investments in the £250,000 – £750,000 range, but with the intention and the capacity to continue investing up to an average of £2m – £3m. Once it is fully invested, the Fund is expected to comprise a portfolio of approximately 20 investments.

The University of Manchester & UMIP
The University of Manchester is the UK’s largest university, with over 30,000 students and 4,500 academic and research staff, and the alma mater of 20 Nobel Prize winners. The University has a successful spin-out track-record, and the early stage commercialisation of the University’s intellectual property through successful spin-outs will continue to be managed by The University of Manchester Intellectual Property Ltd (“UMIP”).

Companies which have emerged from the University have attracted over £150m of funding over the last 5 years and include successes such as Transitive, and Renovo – a wound treatment company listed on the London Stock Exchange and valued at approx. £300m.

The UMIP Premier Fund will have preferred access to all investment opportunities generated by technology research at The University of Manchester, which has an abundance of 5-star research departments, and boasts some of the finest technology investment opportunities in the UK. The Fund will focus on investing in young technology companies, and will have both the ability and capacity to support their growth through follow-on investment.

Professor Alan Gilbert, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester said: “This is a ground-breaking initiative establishing a hugely creative vehicle for providing academics with access to the capital to develop the world-leading research, for which the UK is renowned, into world-beating companies.”

UMIP has teamed up with the UK’s leading technology investment manager, MTI, in order to exploit the rich seam of latent opportunity within The University of Manchester and to turn it into commercial success.

The UMIP Premier Fund will draw on MTI’s experience of investing in technology companies and developing their operational and marketing excellence. MTI’s experience in injecting new skills, contacts and strategies will drive growth and success in these investment areas.
MTI has more than two decades of investment management experience, and over that period has managed four venture funds dedicated to technology investments. MTI is in the process of appointing a dedicated, professional technology fund manager for UMIP to be based in Manchester.

Ernie Richardson, CEO at MTI, said: “We have seen evidence of some incredible ideas within the research departments of The University of Manchester. This Fund will enable those researchers to gain access to the finance and business skills to turn their ideas into real businesses, and generate substantial value. What could be more exciting? The support of our investors like EIF, has enabled us to create the biggest such fund in Europe.”

A launch event will be held in London during May.

For further information on The UMIP Premier Fund please visit

Contact information:
Ernie Richardson, Managing Partner + 44 (0) 1923 250 244
Robin Hepburn, Media contact for MTI + 44 (0) 20 7796 9999

The University of Manchester/UMIP
Professor Rod Coombs, VP for Innovation and Economic
Development, The University of Manchester + 44 (0) 161 275 8860
Clive Rowland, CEO, UMIP + 44 (0) 161 603 7751
Allan Prits, Marketing Manager, UMIP + 44 (0) 161 306 8532

Top Marks and a £250K Investment for Manchester Invention

Written by UMIP on . Posted in News

An innovative piece of software that takes pressure off teachers by marking exam papers quicker and more efficiently than humans has secured a quarter-of-a-million pound funding.

University of Manchester spin-out company, Assessment21, has become the first to create a tool that can not only mark multi-choice answers but also open-ended responses. Until now many have tried and failed to create software that can do this. The product – ABC (Assess By Computer) – is seen as a major breakthrough for the education sector. UMIP (The University of Manchester’s IP commercialisation company) helped develop a management team and worked with the company to raise external funding.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund and three business angels have invested £250,000 to take the software to market ndash; specifically aiming at the higher education and professional associations markets.

The main advantages are that, compared to manually marking papers, the ABC software is quicker, more efficient and more consistent but still leaves the final judgments to humans. It allows students to remain anonymous to the marker, takes away the difficulties of reading illegible handwriting and the physical problems of handling bulky paper.

Assessment21 director Gerard Lennox said: “The product is a classic example of how to take cutting-edge research, apply commercial experience and a relatively small investment to create a viable company that satisfies a clearly identified market need.”

The technology handles all aspects of the assessment process, including setting exam questions, administration and marking. It has been used for four years at The University of Manchester on a wide variety of assessments including final year exams and course work.

Heather White, Senior Business Manager at UMIP, said “It’s very pleasing to see a truly innovative product which has already proved its worth in the University being taken to external markets by Assessment21, as the benefits of the software are very significant in terms of time savings and security.”

For information about Assessment21 contact Gerard Lennox 07973 218271


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