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19 June, 2006 - 18:23 By Staff Reporter

Bioreactor company plans AIM move, targets US and Japan

An innovative young Cambridgeshire firm carving a niche in the field of specialist disposable bioreactors has unveiled plans to float on the Alternative Investment Market early next year.

The listing is part of a Cellexus Biosystems growth strategy that has already seen the six-month-old firm join the Ofex Exchange, relocate it headquarters to new facilities and land a deal with a US firm to provide a cutting edge, sensor-enabled disposable bioreactor.

Disposable bioreactors are viewed as a booming market; transferring to AIM would enable Cellexus to raise enough cash to push its products to a global market, with particular emphasis on the US and Japan.

Cellexus chief executive, Kevin Auton, said: “We have already raised £350,000 and are looking for another £500k. We will look to AIM some time next year – sooner rather than later – to raise the money to go international, subject to market conditions.”

Cellexus offers a range of disposable bioreactors for use by the biopharma industry and academia to cultivate cell lines that can be used for the development of new biopharmaceuticals.

Its three main products are all based around the core technology and offer significant technological improvements for cell culture and cell growth in the developing disposables market. A patent application protecting the IPR was filed last December.

Sales of biopharmaceuticals reached £32bn in 2005 and are growing at 20 per cent a year.

Disposable bioreactors make it easy to change products in a production process quickly and inexpensively in contrast to reusable bioreactors that have a complicated cleaning and sterilisation process, which drives up cost.

Auton said: “There is massive interest in a market that is gradually replacing steel and glass. We are looking to exploit a small but significant niche within it.

“A growing level of interest in our products is driving our expansion plans and by the end of 2008 we want to have up to 40 people working here. We would eventually have separate manufacturing facilities in Japan and the US to respond to local requirements.”

Cellexus recently moved into a new 25,000 sq ft facility on the Hereward Innovation Centre in March, which offers scope for growth.

Its US deal is to supply patent-protected oxygen and pH detectors from Polestar Technologies in Boston as part of its disposable bioreactor suite.

A bioreactor’s internal environment needs to be closely monitored and this non-exclusive agreement will enable Cellexus to distribute Polestar’s optical dissolved oxygen and optical pH monitors as part of its portfolio of disposable bioreactor products.

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