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Qkine to move to new Cambridge HQ after raising more than £4m in oversubscribed funding round

Qkine has closed an oversubscribed funding round after raising more than £4million to help it scale its manufacturing, R&D and commercial functions and relocate to a new state-of-the-art facility in Cambridge

The Cambridge Science Park company, which expects to more than treble its headcount in the next three years, manufactures animal-free, highly bioactive and innovative proteins and growth factors for life science applications.

Qkine in Cambridge
Qkine in Cambridge

Qkine combines proprietary protein production process development with protein engineering techniques to develop exceptionally high-purity products for fundamental biological and scale-up challenges in stem cell, organoid, regenerative medicine and cellular agriculture sectors.

The funding round was co-led by Parkwalk Advisors Ltd and Downing Ventures, and attracted support from existing and new leading life science funds and angel investors.

It will help fund the scaling of its manufacturing capacity to meet increasing demand and the company says its move to a newly refitted facility early in 2023 will provide agile lab and office spaces for research and process development, plus a dedicated β-lactam-free and animal-free manufacturing suite.

Dr Catherine Elton, CEO of Qkine, said: “We’re delighted to welcome new investors in this round who have deep sector expertise and will help us achieve global scale.

“Qkine is entirely committed to improving the biochemical quality of commercially available bioactive proteins to better support our customer’s stem cell manufacturing processes. In parallel, we are addressing the unmet need for innovation in the supply chain for emerging technologies such as cellular agriculture and 3D-cell culture.

Catherine Elton, CEO of Qkine
Catherine Elton, CEO of Qkine

“This is an exciting time for the company as we build our team and establish our new HQ and manufacturing facility to facilitate our next phase of rapid growth.”

The round also reinforces its collaborative partnership with the UK government catapult, Centre for Process Innovation, which is helping to accelerate process development and drive maximum yields of key products.

Qkine is aiming to widen its global commercial reach and strategic partnerships, having already established strong export sales to 28 countries across Europe, Asia Pacific and North America.

Karolina Zapadka, investment manager at Parkwalk Advisors Ltd, which specialises in the commercialisation of scientific discoveries made at the UK’s leading universities, said: “Qkine's innovative approaches to protein engineering developed at the University of Cambridge enable high-quality, scalable manufacturing of protein reagents. Their unique products address fundamental biological and scale-up challenges for the fast-growing stem cell, organoid, regenerative medicine, and cellular agriculture sectors.

“Parkwalk's team has been part of that journey from its inception and is delighted to continue supporting the next phase of Qkine's growth.”

Matthew Pierce, investment director at Downing Ventures, a sustainable investment manager which invests in innovative technology companies and pioneering founders across the globe with early to growth stage funding across the healthcare sector, added: “Stem cell and organoid research is seeing unprecedented growth, there is a clear need for quality and consistent cutting-edge growth factors that researchers and biotechs can trust throughout the innovation cycle.

“The Qkine technology and experienced management team are poised for growth and we’re excited to be part of the story.”

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