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£550,000 funding will help Qkine to establish Cambridge Science Park base

Qkine has secured £550,000 in funding to establish a UK manufacturing base on Cambridge Science Park and expand its research and development activities.

Catherine Elton, CEO and co-founder, Qkine (11679879)
Catherine Elton, CEO and co-founder, Qkine (11679879)

The company, which has moved from Merlin Place in Milton Road, Cambridge, into Building 152 beside the Bradfield Centre, is a specialist manufacturer of proteins for stem cell, organoid and regenerative medicine applications.

The funding round was led by Cambridge Enterprise and five angel investors, all of whom were following up initial seed investments made in April 2018.

Dr Andy Richards, the biotech entrepreneur and founder member of the Cambridge Angels, has joined them in backing the company, which was spun out of the University of Cambridge in 2010 and is led by Catherine Elton.

Its proprietary technologies and protein engineering techniques help it to produce exceptionally high purity growth factors and cytokines.

Its products can be used by stem cell researchers, who can use them for modelling of diseases, to aid the drive towards precision medicine and develop new therapeutics.

And they can be used by scientists working with organoids to help us understand human biology better and test drug candidates.

Dr Richards said: "Catherine and team have done a great job at Qkine. I am excited to join their investors in this round as they move to their new facility, scale up their team, extend their R&D pipeline and expand their commercial ambitions.

Jim Warwick, angel investor and Qkine chairman (11679889)
Jim Warwick, angel investor and Qkine chairman (11679889)

“The need for quality and reproducibility in stem cell biology and exciting new areas such as organoids is driving a growing market that Qkine is uniquely positioned to satisfy."

Qkine will expand its research team and develop its R&D pipeline with the money, while accelerating the commercialisation of its products with a new manufacturing base.

Jim Warwick, angel investor and chairman of Qkine said: “Following my initial investment in Qkine was a no-brainer - its growth factors are developed from a genuinely differentiating technology.

“The market for these reagents is growing rapidly and the company’s founders have great, complementary skill sets.”

The company helps solve scientific challenges for researchers such as structural heterogeneity, poor stability and solubility and spurious interactions with other biomolecules, meaning it can provide more reliable tools for research and bio-manufacturing.

Dr Christine Martin, investment manager (life sciences) at Cambridge Enterprise, who joins the board, said: “Cambridge Enterprise is pleased to support Qkine as it takes its next steps. The need for high quality cytokines and growth factors continues to expand, and Qkine is poised to meet the demand with a catalogue of products to support research into stem cell, organoid and regenerative medicine applications.”

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