SPARK Impact reaches milestone deal

  • February 5, 2015

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SPARK Impact has made its 101st transaction into healthcare companies across the North West.

Since the start of December, SPARK Impact, manager of The North West Fund for Biomedical, has invested a further £1.4m in follow on funding to its existing portfolio companies. It has also invested more than £300,000 into pioneering and high growth new companies developing innovative services and technologies.

The North West Fund for Biomedical is a sub-fund of The North West Fund, a JEREMIE programme  jointly financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) and available to invest in small and medium sized businesses in the North West of England to support their start-up, development and growth.

With offices at Liverpool Science Park and BioHub at Alderley Park, the team at SPARK Impact has now invested more than £24.5m of its £30m allocation.

One of the companies to receive follow on investment was Daresbury-based Tomorrow’s Medicines which has developed a website and on-line search platform (backed up with 30 years + experience of clinical trials) called www.yourtreatmentchoices.com. Now used in more than 100 countries, the website helps patients to access clinical trials and also helps trial sponsors access the right patients. The follow on of nearly £250,000 will enable the business to continue to expand and increase the number of clinical trials as well as further demonstrate and validate its business model.

Cancer therapeutic company Incanthera, based in Manchester, has raised a further £1.3m jointly from SPARK Impact and Advent International and has also completed several acquisitions to grow its pipeline of exciting opportunities. The primary technology, which acts as a ‘smart bomb’ treatment to target solid tumour directly with virtually no side effects to the rest of the body, has now granted a patent in both Japan and the US.

Gelexir, a spin-out from the University of Manchester, which has developed a novel polymer for rehydrating vertebral discs to relieve pain, has received follow on of £50,000 and medical device company Swabtech has secured more than £100,000 in equity investment.

A first time investment of £100,000 has been made into Nano Biosols, an early stage venture developing gold nano particles for use in life science research, diagnostics or nanomedicine. Nimbus Medical, the developer of independent living platform for the elderly and vulnerable has received a new investment of £200,000.

Dr Andy Round, investment director at SPARK Impact, said: “Our pipeline of investments in the life sciences sector has been extremely healthy since the fund began four years ago – so much so that we were given an extra £5m from The North West Fund to top up the fund to £30m.

“We have catalysed the biomedical sector in the North West and unearthed some truly promising innovations which we feel will give a good return to the fund as well as changing the lives of many patients. The quality and potential of the businesses we have worked with has been very encouraging but we now need to consider where the next tranche and further funds will come from. Some of these excellent companies need further capital to continue to develop and thrive which means attracting further monies.”