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Delight as investors pile £182m into Cambridge companies




CN Bio Innovations on the Science Park is one of many happy teams in Cambridge this week. Team including, front from left Patrick Driscoll, David Hughes and James Craven. Picture: Keith Heppell
CN Bio Innovations on the Science Park is one of many happy teams in Cambridge this week. Team including, front from left Patrick Driscoll, David Hughes and James Craven. Picture: Keith Heppell

One of the most remarkable weeks in Cambridge’s investment history has resulted in incoming funding totalling around £182million distributed tocompanies at every stage of development.

The main beneficiaries are:

- Evonetix – £23m: Game-changing DNA writer/synthesiser is sweeping the board with DNA applications. “Our aim is for there to be a DNA writer or synthesier on every laboratory bench, so researchers will be making DNA themselves under their control,” CEO Dr Tim Brears told the Cambridge Independent.

- Bicycle Therapeutics – £23.5m: Astonishing concordat with Genentech for Cambridge Innovation Capital-backed company involves £23.5m upfront payment; regulatory and commercial milestones could top $1.7bn. Genentech and Bicycle - founded by Sir Gregory Winter - will collaborate on the discovery and pre-clinical development of novel Bicycle-based immunotherapies against multiple targets.

Sir Greg Winter, founder, Bicycle Therapeutics
Sir Greg Winter, founder, Bicycle Therapeutics

- CN Bio Innovations – £7m: Leading cell culture company has developed organ-on-chip laboratory instruments to improve accuracy and efficiency of drug discovery. Funding will boost PhysioMimix platform and expand laboratory space at the Science Park base it relocated to last month. CEO Dr David Hughes said the investment will “ensure that we remain at the forefront of the organ-on-chip technologies field”.

- AudioTelligence – £6.5m: Existing investors Cambridge Innovation Capital, Cambridge Enterprise and CEDAR Audio were joined by lead Octopus Ventures for Series A funding round for company based at Broers Building dedicated to making speech clear and intelligible in a noisy world. “The number of applications where our technology is needed is enormous and still growing every day,” says founder and CEO Ken Roberts.

- PolyProx Therapeutics – £1m: Biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of novel biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of cancerhas raised an additional £1m seed capital from new investor, LifeArc. LifeArc joins existing investors Cambridge Innovation Capital, RT Capital and Cambridge Enterprise. “We have made exciting progress on our polyproxin drug discovery projects in oncology and look forward to sharing proof of concept data with prospective investors and partners later this year,” says executive chairman Andrew Sandham.

- techspert.io – £3.76m Series A funding for first AI-driven technology mapping the world’s expertise and connecting businesses directly to market expertise. “Our technology can acquire, comprehend, categorise and index any kind of material on the web,” says co-founder and CTO Hari Jackson.

- Graphcore – £117m: AI machine intelligence processor company has CB1 base. Investors include Cambridge-based Ahren Innovation Capital and Amadeus Capital Partners.

Ken Roberts, CEO of AudioTelligence, left, with Andrew Williamson, investment director at Cambridge Innovation Capital
Ken Roberts, CEO of AudioTelligence, left, with Andrew Williamson, investment director at Cambridge Innovation Capital

Andrew Williamson, managing partner at Cambridge Innovation Capital, said: “We are delighted to see Cambridge at the forefront of the UK’s rapidly growing knowledge-intensive economy. The investments and strategic partnerships announced this week illustrate how the Cambridge ecosystem continues to expand and mature.

“Since CIC’s creation in 2014, we have seen a consistent increase in the number of companies receiving funding and the amount of capital deployed in Cambridge. The companies highlighted today have all received multiple rounds of investment from CIC and other investors over the last five to 10 years, with CIC and its investment partners committing more than £1billion to early-stage IP-rich companies in Cambridge.

“This level of investment has provided these companies with the funds to reach critical mass and positioned them to raise larger growth investment rounds and secure the significant industry partnerships announced this week.”

Dr Anne Dobrée, head of seed funds at Cambridge Enterprise, said: “We are very happy to participate in two ofthese rounds, one a seed round and the other a Series A. They reflect the great progress of both the life sciences and the physical sciences sectors in this unique environment for cutting edge therapeutics and deep tech.

“Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds is on the cusp of its 25th anniversary. We are proud to note that AudioTelligence is a portfolio grandchild as it’s a spin-out from one of our spin-outs, CEDAR Audio, which was created in 1989.”

The Evonetix desktop DNA writer/synthesiser
The Evonetix desktop DNA writer/synthesiser


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