CAMBRIDGE, England–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Investing in the UK’s innovative life sciences and biotech sector just
became more accessible to a wide spectrum of investors, with Capital
Cell, Europe’s first dedicated Life Sciences crowdfunding platform.
Today Capital Cell has formally ‘opened to investors’ with the first
four investment opportunities now live on the platform. These
opportunities include a company developing alternatives to antibiotics
and an equine health company.
Capital Cell works with companies whose technology is based on biology
or healthcare to secure the investment they need to progress their
innovative, potentially life-changing ideas. Capital Cell’s model is to
support early stage companies, with seed stage investment up to £1
million sought through the platform.
Founded in Spain in 2014, Capital Cell is already building a
track-record in raising investment to progress promising medical
inventions and secure a return to investors. This expansion into the UK
market sees Capital Cell establish a presence in the leading biotech
market in Europe. The Company is backed in its expansion by a number of
leading UK life sciences innovators and investors, including: Dr Harren
Jhoti, founder and CEO of Astex Pharmaceuticals; the life sciences angel
investor David Ford; Adrian Parton, MBE, of Boundary Capital and serial
life sciences entrepreneurs Sunil and Prashant Shah of O2h Ventures. Dr
Ian Tomlinson – founder of Domantis, sold to GSK and now supporting a
number of innovative life sciences companies as Chairman and board
member, including Stevenage BioScience Catalyst and Apollo Therapeutics
– is also an investor and has been appointed as Chairman of the Board.
Commenting on the launch of Capital Cell and its potential, Dr Ian
Tomlinson said: “Having spent my career in life sciences, the
opportunity to become a part of the next wave of funding for the sector
is very exciting. UK innovation is amongst the best in the world: with
the support Capital Cell seeks to provide for early stage companies,
start-ups and spin-outs can look to the future with confidence. Capital
Cell, and crowdfunding more generally, provides an answer to a funding
gap which has been becoming more obvious for some time. Following its
successful start to life in Spain, Capital Cell is well set for success
in the UK.”
The launch of Capital Cell comes at a time when the UK has recognised
the substantial strengths and opportunities in its £64 billion life
sciences sector – the industry launched an independent sector-led Life
Sciences Industrial Strategy Review at the end of August, which will
inform the basis of UK Government work with the sector towards a sector
deal in the coming months.
Funding for early stage projects is crucial to support the next
generation of therapies, devices, and treatments, but with public market
money turning to ever later stage companies, sources of funding to
progress early stage innovations can be limited. This shortage will be
exacerbated for UK companies by the loss of access to the European
Investment Fund (EIF), as a result of Brexit. The need for capital
investment into life sciences companies – both early stage and longer
term, is the subject of the Treasury’s Patient
Capital Review, which is open to consultation until 22 September.
Patient capital supports small firms to grow into large, world-leading
Crowdfunding has become an increasingly important means of financing
early stage companies in recent years. Between 2014 and 2015, equity
crowdfunding increased by 295% in the UK. In 2015, $150 billion was
generated globally through crowdfunding. VC funding, for so long the
backbone of early stage investment, is expected to be overtaken by
crowdfunding in Europe by 2020.
Capital Cell has a unique evaluation model. Companies looking to raise
investment through the platform are analysed in-house and through its
BioExpert Network. These BioExperts are PhD level scientists, IP
lawyers, investment consultants and industry professionals. In return
for their opinion on companies, the BioExperts receive tokens to invest
into a company of their choice. Companies must also secure a lead
investor as part of the process.
“Investing in private life sciences companies has traditionally only
been available to highly sophisticated investors with significant
technical expertise and large sums to invest. Whilst investing in early
stage companies will always involve significant risks, Capital Cell’s
unique screening process and new investment platform opens up
opportunities to everyone. If the companies are successful in achieving
their goals the financial rewards for investors can be significant and
the social impact can affect the lives of millions” said Dr Laura
Ferguson, UK Director. Dr Ferguson has been appointed to drive Capital
Cell’s UK expansion.
With its UK headquarters in Cambridge, Capital Cell is based in
proximity to 33% of the UK’s biotech companies, 10% of the entire total
in Europe. Its remit however is to support innovation from across the UK
ecosystem. The company views the distribution of capital out of the
‘Golden Triangle’ as one of the key contributions it can make to the
early-stage funding landscape for life sciences in the UK.
Notes to Editors
About Capital Cell
Capital Cell was founded by Daniel Oliver, CEO, and has been trading in
Barcelona, Spain for two years. Following investment into Capital Cell
of more than €500,000, including UK and Spanish business angels as well
as “crowd” investment from its own €300,000 crowdfunding campaign closed
in March 2017, the company has launched in the UK. Daniel Oliver remains
in majority control of the company, with the UK launch being led
alongside Dr Laura Ferguson, UK Director. Dr Ian Tomlinson, UK Chairman,
was the co-Founder of Domantis Ltd which was acquired by GSK for $454
million in 2006. He is Chairman of the Stevenage BioScience Catalyst and
Since its launch in Spain in 2014, Capital Cell has raised £3.77 million
for early stage companies, completing 14 successful campaigns. Investors
have already begun to see returns, with investors in ZeClinics receiving
back twice their original investments made.
The first company to be live for investment in the UK is:
Absynth Biologics – Cheshire UK – pioneering innovative
alternatives to antibiotics, in particular vaccines for S. Aureus (MRSA)
and C. Difficile – targeting £650,000. The company is backed by
Alderly Park and O2h Ventures, and the CEO, Fiona Marston is an
Innovate UK Women in Innovations finalist as well as holding a number
of Innovate UK grant awards.
Three more companies are live in ‘Discover’ phase:
Tharos – Hertfordshire, UK – a patent-rich equine health
company focused on optimizing digestion, gut health and the
microbiome: developing veterinary supplements and medicines –
Ovusense – Warwick UK – fertility monitoring for 24hr advance
ovulation prediction with 99% accurate detection of exact date –
Antikor – Stevenage, UK – next-generation antibody fragment
drug conjugates – targeting £500,000
And a surgical robot will be live on the platform within the next 3
Investments in early stage life science companies involves significant
risks including loss of capital, illiquidity, lack of dividends and
dilution as well as potential rewards.
Please see https://capitalcell.co.uk/
for more information.
Capital Cell Ltd (FRN 774677) is an Appointed Representative of Larpent
Newton & Co Ltd. Larpent Newton & Co Ltd is authorised and regulated by
the Financial Conduct Authority, FRN 141275.
This press release has been approved as a financial promotion by Larpent
Newton & Company Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial
Conduct Authority (FRN: 141275). Investments are only offered to Capital
Cell registered users. Capital Cell takes no responsibility for the
information, recommendations or opinions made by the companies in their