SPARK Impact receives £5m boost to invest in more North West biomedical businesses

  • November 6, 2014

The North West Fund for Biomedical, managed by SPARK Impact, has received a £5m top up taking its fund allocation to £30m.

Since it started in January 2011, the fund has invested more than £22m in more than 50 SMEs based in the North West across sectors ranging from pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, clinical research, healthcare technologies and medical devices.

With such strong demand for investment support from life sciences SMEs across the region, SPARK will now be able to use the additional capital to provide top up funding to existing investee companies and new companies. Investment from the fund has also led to the creation of more than 170 jobs and has safeguarded over 140 jobs across the North West.

There has also been more than £11m of co-investment from across academia, the NHS, the private sector and angels. Investee companies have attracted more than £5m in additional grant funding.

Successful companies to have received investment include ASep Healthcare, developers of a disposable medical tourniquet called the ‘Tournistrip’ which is used widely across the NHS. The infection control product is set to generate revenue of £1m by the end of the year. Other highlights include Altrincham-based Diagnostic Healthcare which has doubled in revenue and headcount after receiving a £1m investment from SPARK Impact.

Meanwhile, planning for clinical trials beginning in 2015 are well underway for Liverpool Science Park-based Videregen which is working on a unique stem cell technology to allow trachea organ replacements. The technology was built on the foundations of a ground breaking operation which saved a ten year old boy’s life by giving him a new trachea.

Many of the businesses have taken up residence at sites across Merseyside, Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Lancashire at business parks such as the BioHub at Alderley Park, The Heath in Runcorn, Liverpool Science Park and Sci-Tech Daresbury.

Dr Andy Round, investment director at SPARK Impact said: “The North West healthcare innovations scene is strong and since the fund became live in 2011 we have been impressed by the quality and potential of so many SMEs. With so many technologies ripe for investment, we’re delighted to receive the £5m top up funding from the North West Fund. These very technologies will be the lifeblood to delivering better healthcare in the UK and worldwide.

“Many of the early stage businesses we invested in are now excelling – turning over millions of pounds, exporting overseas, selling products globally and being used right across the NHS. The injection of cash has been integral to the success of many of these companies and it is great news that we now have more available to invest into the thriving life sciences community.”

Cliff Maylor, chief executive at The North West Fund said: “SPARK Impact has been extremely active as a fund and quickly identified the businesses that have potential to develop innovative new products and really augment the healthcare sector. We’re pleased to be able to offer this additional funding and we are confident that it will greatly enhance the companies already out there and cultivate some brand new businesses in this sector.”

The £30m North West Fund for Biomedical, managed by SPARK Impact, is a sub-fund of The North West Fund, which is provided by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), to supply equity funding to small and medium sized enterprises in the North West of England.


Media contacts

SPARK Impact
Lou Clancy,
0151 705 3416
Active Profile PR agency
Claire Gallagher,
0845 4502072

The North West Fund
Lizzie Dibble,
01925 443 767


Notes to editors

The North West Fund for Biomedical and SPARK Impact
The £30m North West Fund for Biomedical, managed by SPARK Impact, is a sub-fund of The North West Fund, which is provided by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), to supply equity funding to small and medium sized enterprises in the North West of England.

The North West Fund for Biomedical, which was launched in February 2011, is accessible to a broad range of companies including those developing pharmaceuticals, new diagnostics and medical devices, and those working in the fields of clinical research, contract manufacturing and analytical services. It is open to companies based in, or prepared to relocate to, the North West of England, with 40% of the fund to be invested on Merseyside. The fund has received over 250 applications and made over 50 investments to date. For more information about the fund and how to apply please visit

The North West Fund
The North West Fund is a substantial evergreen investment fund established to provide debt and equity funding (from £25,000 to £2 million) to small and medium sized enterprises based in, or relocating to, the North West of England. The Fund addresses an identified gap in the lending, venture capital and private equity markets. It is one of the largest public sector funds of its kind in Europe and the largest in the UK.

The North West Fund is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) under the European Commission’s Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises Initiative – otherwise known as the JEREMIE programme.

The North West Fund is the umbrella name for the seven funds that are available to businesses in the form of debt, equity and quasi-equity. These funds are managed by individual fund managers. Each fund manager has a mandate to invest their allocation into the specific product or sector they manage, by 31st December 2015.

The fund managers are under contract with North West Business Finance Limited (NWBF), which is a private, not for profit company, established to oversee the delivery of The North West Fund.

The North West Fund has now invested over £100m in more than 300 businesses. Further funding has also been earmarked to support these businesses as they grow and many more new investments are planned over 2014 and into 2015.

For further information please visit

European structure, JEREMIE
The JEREMIE initiative offers EU Member States, through their national or regional Managing Authorities, the opportunity to use part of their European Union (EU) Structural Funds to finance small and medium-sized enterprises by means of equity, loans or guarantees, through a revolving umbrella fund. The initiative was developed by the European Commission and the European Investment Fund, which is part of the European Investment Bank Group.

JEREMIE provides for a range of debt and equity financial tools to obtain the most appropriate allocation of funds according to national, regional or local requirements.

ERDF in the Northwest
ERDF is making a real difference to people and businesses in the North West. The current ERDF programme, which is worth €755 million, is enhancing the competitiveness of the region’s economy by supporting growth in enterprise and employment.

ERDF in the North West is managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government – for further information visit

The EIB is the European Union’s long-term financing institution and, provides long-term finance for capital projects promoting European economic objectives. The EIB made its first loan in the UK in 1973 and since then has lent around €75bn for investment in the UK economy. In the years from 2004 to 2009, the EIB financed investment in the UK totalling some € 23.5bn – GBP 17.5 billion.