Spectromics concludes its first Venture Capital financing round

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Spectromics, the developer of rapid diagnostics to guide effective antibiotic treatment and reduce escalation of antibiotic resistance, concludes its first Venture Capital financing round.

New Wave Ventures, a UK based Venture Capital investor has led the financing round that will provide the necessary funds to optimise and fully characterise this novel technology that promises to control how antibiotic stewardship will be managed at the point-of-prescription.

Ian George, Chief Scientific Officer of New Wave Ventures said “We understand the anti-infective sector, and the opportunity for game changing technologies to gain rapid adoption in the fight against antibiotic resistance. We have made successful investments in anti-infective therapy companies, but we also recognise how diagnostics can provide a targeted therapeutic approach to ensure patients receive effective treatments. What we liked about the Spectromics technology is the fact that the test is fast enough to fit within the existing doctor-prescription-patient process. Also the test is low in complexity and cost, yet phenotypic so that the test keeps pace with pathogen mutation. Those are 3 primary characteristics that can make this technology a winner.”

Co-investor Professor Douglas Kell, Research Chair of Bioanalytical Sciences, The University of Manchester and past Chief Executive of the BBSRC said “As a microbiologist that has worked in the area of rapid diagnostics of complex systems for most of my career, and as a Founding Director of Aber Instruments (a company specialising in real-time biomass detection), I am impressed by the speed of this phenotypic test and from the data seen to date I believe it will be able to change how we select antimicrobials for effective treatment of individual infections.”

Neil Butler, CEO of Spectromics said “I am pleased to have investors that understand the value of a rapid phenotypic diagnostic that better targets antibiotic treatment at the point-of-prescription, remote from microbiology labs, whether in doctors’ surgeries, clinics or global health settings, i.e. in the frontline for antibiotic treatment.

We have a precise development plan of work over the next 6 months, and resources in place to carry it out. At the end of this work plan we will have optimised the test method and carried out a full evaluation of our first test for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). We will then secure further financing for commercial product realisation and clinical studies.

What excites me most about this business is that we have a novel and unique technology that will be able to impact the way we use and preserve antibiotics. Also the timing couldn’t be better because the world is now conscious to the fact we are at threat from untreatable infections unless we use diagnostics to guide the antibiotics we have at hand.”

Contact Spectromics

n.butler@spectromics.com

+44 (0)1580 891106

www.spectromics.com

University of Manchester rides high at Unltd SEEChange social enterprise awards

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The Social Enterprise Team at UMIP and Manchester Enterprise Centre (MEC) walked away with a series of accolades at the UnLtd SEEChange Recognition Awards for Social Enterprise which were held in London on 10th June.

Not only did the University retain the prestigious Higher Education Institute of the Year Award for Supporting Social Entrepreneurship but many of its social enterprises and key projects also won awards.

Shon Lewis and Charlie Stockton’s Clintouch, a new technology which supports people with pyschosis won the Outstanding Innovation Award. Edwin Broni-Mensah, who graduated just under 5 years ago and was one of the first student winners of an UnLtd development award and a Venture Further finalist in 2010, was a runner-up in this category.

Ruth Daniel won the Social Enterprise of the Year Award for her work with In Place Of War, an award-winning initiative which helps to build powerful networks, create social change through creativity and demonstrate the value of the arts to public space, public life and public debate. Amy Win was shortlisted in the same category for her project 4Lunch.

Adam Garrow won the Outstanding Achievement Award for Jolly Wheezers and Dr Laura Etchells from UMIP and Dr Martin Henery from MEC were both runners up in the Social Entrepreneurship Champion of the Year category.

James Thompson, Associate Vice President for Social Responsibility at the University commented:

“Social entrepreneurship is at the heart of our University culture and infrastructure and these successes are a great demonstration of that commitment to enterprise, research with social impact and social responsibility. This is a well-deserved show of recognition for the work of MEC, UMIP and all of the staff and student winners and runners-up.”

Tony Walker of UMIP’s Social Enterprise Team added: ‘’These awards reflect the positive way in which social enterprise and impact can emerge from all of the fantastic staff and student ideas we have here in Manchester. It’s particularly pleasing that our social enterprise champions Martin and Laura were also shortlisted. This is a growing area of focus nationally for universities and we are pleased to be in the forefront of this and leading the change.’’

 

From l to r: Ellie Sagar and Tony Walker (UMIP), Nickala Torkington (UnLtd), Adam Garrow (Jolly Wheezers ) and Martin Henery (MEC)

From l to r: Ellie Sagar and Tony Walker (UMIP), Nickala Torkington (UnLtd), Adam Garrow (Jolly Wheezers ) and Martin Henery (MEC)

 

Golden Shares & Anti-dilution Provisions in University Spin-outs

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The Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Imperial, Oxford, Manchester and UCL have collaborated to endorse another briefing paper called “Golden Shares & Anti-dilution Provisions.”  This paper has been written by Tom Hockaday, CEO, Isis Innovation ltd and Tony Hickson, Managing Director Technology Transfer, Imperial Innovations plc.

From time to time the idea of introducing anti-dilution provisions into university spin-out company shareholder agreements re-emerges for discussion. When the idea that universities could have special ‘golden’ shares in spin-outs from their universities was first proposed many years ago, the practicalities were challenged by some seasoned investors, as no special provisions would survive further rounds of investment.

However, the idea has recently been revived by some influential UK based investors and other commentators as being a potential solution to solve problems that they see are holding back the formation of technology companies in the UK namely:

  • that UK universities take too much equity in spin-outs and more equity should be retained by founding entrepreneurs to incentivise them to carry out this type of activity
  • that negotiations between universities, founders and investors around equity and IP (which are often linked) take too long and this may be limiting the numbers of start-ups being created

As one experienced investor and advocate for this model explains:

“The real idea is to maximise the number of spinouts formed and not maximise what the universities get for the IP. My argument is they will make more money since there will be so many more companies formed”

As such, it is worth exploring the idea and issues raised.

Please click here for the full document.

 

Prof. Vikas Shah appointed new FutureEverything Chair of the Board

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In its 20th anniversary year, Manchester based Innovation Agency FutureEverything welcomes Prof. Vikas Shah, who will lead the company into its third decade as new Chair of the Board.

Vikas Shah is founder of consultancy Thought Strategy, and CEO of leading global textiles and trading business Swiscot Group. He is Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship on the Lisbon MBA with the MIT Sloan School of Management, and Board Member of TiE UK North (part of the world’s largest entrepreneurs network). In addition, he regularly lectures at entrepreneurship events globally, including the MIT Global Startup Workshop and the RICE Business Plan Competition.

He replaces outgoing Chair Lou Cordwell, CEO of digital agency magneticNorth.

Vikas joins the FutureEverything Board of Directors with high profile members drawn from the arts, technology and industry:

 

  • Rowena Burns, Chief Executive at Manchester Science Partnerships and a Non-Executive Director of Bruntwood, a family-owned and run property company.
  • Emer Coleman, architect of The London Datastore, founder of DSRPTN consultancy and Development Director with TransportAPI, a startup powering innovation and change in transport.
  • Ruairidh Jackson, Senior Project Director at Argent, one of the UK’s largest property development companies.
  • Drew Hemment, Founder & CEO, FutureEverything and Dundee Fellow, University of Dundee.

FutureEverything is an innovation agency that presents city data services, design for science, innovation events, advice and training, art commissions, and experiences and demonstration. Its festival is both a cultural event and research vehicle, for experimentation in methods and mechanisms for research and knowledge exchange around the emergence of a digital culture.

Vikas joins FutureEverything in its 20th Anniversary year – a pivotal period in the company’s history. FutureEverything has been experiencing significant growth over the last three years, with its staff having recently expanded to 14, including the appointment of Tom Higham as Executive Director and the enlargement of its programming, production and communications teams.

Vikas Shah, incoming Chair said:

“This is a profoundly important time in the relationship of people with technology; not just in terms of how we (as individuals) use technology, but rather how the digital culture emerging from science and technology interfaces with society, economies, art, governance and more. It is through festivals and organisations like FutureEverything that we will begin to develop the thinking tools to solve the crises impacting our futures, and take full advantage of the opportunities on our horizon.

I feel immensely humbled to have been asked to take the Chair at one of the world’s most important organisations working in this sphere, which is proudly run by a truly inspirational group.”

Drew Hemment, Founder and CEO said:

Vikas is a visionary figure whose appointment is causing tremendous excitement in the team and among our partners. His wealth of cross-sector insight, entrepreneurial vision and international outlook will be an invaluable asset in driving the company forwards. Myself, the board and the whole team could not be more excited to have someone of his calibre join the company as Chair.”

For further information please contact Simon Webbon at FutureEverything:

simon@futureeverything.org / 0161 232 4603

Rapid progression demonstrates power of C4XD technology

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Selection of drug candidate from Orexin-1 programme to treat stress-related addictive disorders and entry into pre-clinical development

Rapid progression demonstrates power of C4XD technology

C4X Discovery Holdings plc (“C4XD” or “the Company”), a leader in rational drug discovery and design, today announced that it has selected a drug candidate from its Orexin-1 programme to enter pre-clinical development prior to the initiation of clinical studies for the treatment of stress-related addictive disorders. This represents a major milestone for C4XD.

Treatment of addictions, such as alcohol, nicotine, cocaine and opiates, is an area of high unmet medical need. This market is worth around $9 billion annually and Orexin-1 represents a key molecular target for new drug development in this area. C4XD’s drug candidate is a small-molecule compound discovered using the Company’s unique, highly efficient conformational design technology.

Industry-leading selectivity, excellent drug-like properties in pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies and a good toxicological profile strongly support the progression of the candidate into pre-clinical development. Subject to satisfactory progression, C4XD anticipates this programme should enter clinical development in the second half of 2016

The rapid progression of this programme demonstrates the potential of conformational design to accelerate the identification and optimisation of small molecule therapeutics. C4XD reached this milestone in less than 50% of the time typically required by industry, which targets 3 – 5 years for such projects. The Company’s approach required the synthesis of fewer than 100 compounds and C4XD estimates overall project cost savings to date of up to 90% compared to standard industry approaches.

In addition to this drug candidate, C4XD is progressing additional series of Orexin-1 inhibitors with distinct profiles to enable the development of follow-up compounds for other indications within the field of addiction treatment.

C4XD has the only technology in the world that can generate accurate, experimentally-derived dynamic solution 3D structures of drug molecules in just a matter of days, helping to accelerate product development. Our conformational insights can be used in conjunction with existing technologies for rational drug design and can make a particularly high impact when protein crystallography is not routinely available, as is the case for GPCRs (G-protein-coupled receptors, such as orexin receptors) and ion channels.

“We are enormously excited by this significant demonstration of the power of our technology. Taking our proprietary drug candidate into preclinical development represents an important milestone,” said Piers Morgan, CEO of C4XD. “Our technology has shown a speed and economic efficiency that could revolutionise the drug discovery process. The C4XD platform, centred on conformational design of small molecule therapeutics, is delivering on its promise to develop innovative treatments faster and at a fraction of the cost of conventional approaches.”

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