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Supporting companies has always been at the heart of what we do – a mid-year round up from our CEO

15 years later the BioCity journey is every bit as exciting and rewarding as it was in the early days

— Supporting companies has always been at the heart of what we do – a mid-year round up from our CEO

A mid-year round up of BioCity growth and success from Glenn Crocker, BioCity CEO, written for the BIA.

BioCity today is a hybrid of incubator, accelerator and investor supporting everything from early stage ideas through to high growth companies planning for exit, all based at one of our four locations. I have been in this role for 15 years now and supporting companies has always been at the heart of what we do. How we do it has evolved over time to a more systematised approach, and this blog gives an overview of just some of the successes we have seen from our work.

At BioCity, we have flexible facilities, a strong integrated community and a busy events calendar. We also have programmes of support coaching entrepreneurial excellence and access to early stage investment – and entrepreneurs at BioCity are supported every step of the way. A 91% company survival rate over 15 years and the opportunity to launch 3 new sites in the last 5 years all speak to the success of this approach. Our sites house over 200 companies with over 1000 employees.

As a result, now we are probably busier than we have ever been, so I thought I’d give a brief summary of some goings on at BioCity Group:

Graduates of our latest DEVELOP programme at MediCity Nottingham include overall winners IntoDNA, from Jagellonian University in Krakow, who can detect DNA damage and fragmentation with great sensitivity. They are currently exploring applications of their technology with testing in infertility clinics

Segmentum Analysis have a digital application for automation of analysis of digital pathology slides. They have built a mobile app looking to compete with big “kit” manufacturers in this area, and with route in through PhD students.

We also ran a DEVELOP programme in Aberdeen for ONE Life Sciences and the winner there was Callidus, an early stage CRO producing monoclonal antibodies and recombinant proteins. Their accelerated production should increase chances of success of VC backed large-molecule biotechs.

Previous winners of the DEVELOP programme at our MediCity site near Glasgow, Novosound, who have a printing technology for ultrasound sensors, have just raised £1.5m from Par Equity and Kevin Capital.

Still in Scotland, client company MiAlgae, who produce microalgal feed supplements removing reliance on fish supplements in feed for livestock, won prestigious HIGGS Edge – £150k – and have been listed as one of the Unlocking Ambition start-ups.

Previous HIGGS Edge winner and DEVELOP programme graduate Cuantec were featured on  BBC 1’s  Landward programme. Cuantec can biologically break down langoustine shells to chitin and chitosan, substances which in turn can be extruded into an antimicrobial, compostable food wrapping. The result is a product which can simultaneously make use of a waste product, extend the shelf life of fresh food, and reduce the use of plastics.

Also featured on BBC were Azotic Technologies, a University of Nottingham spin out. Their intracellular virus fixes nitrogen in crop seeds, which reduces the need for pollutant nitrogenous fertilisers whilst increasing crop yields.

Another University of Nottingham spin out, Locate Therapeutics, have just raised £2m from Mercia Fund Managers and the Midland Engines Investment Fund. Their patented polymer technology can be used to provide scaffolding and/or delivery mechanisms for drug delivery and cell-based therapies.

Also in the area of drug delivery, BDD pharma can offer delayed and pulsed delivery for on-market drugs, and have just completed similar fundraising round as well as a deal with a pharmaceutical giant.

And back with CRO’s Bioanalytical services firm, Alderley Analytical has raised £300k from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund. BioCity Nottingham-based Xenogesis have announced a strategic partnership with BioAscent at BioCity Glasgow.

Bioascent, who run the compound management library facility have also just closed a £1.6m investment to increase their suite of preclinical discovery services. In fact, in total, companies on our sites have raised £30m since Jan 17 which is just short of £2m a month being invested into early stage companies.

But it isn’t just about the money going in. Monica Healthcare sold to GE Healthcare last year and FDAS to Tentamus. Haemostatix were acquired by Ergomed, and fast growth company Sygnature Discovery are moving from strength to strength.

These are just a handful of the good news and growth stories from client companies across our sites, there are many more besides which are too numerous to list in this blog.

But suffice to say, there’s a lot going on and 15 years later the BioCity journey is every bit as exciting and rewarding as it was in the early days.

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Dr Glenn Crocker MBE

Chief Executive Officer, BioCity Group