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8 June, 2006 - 08:17 By Staff Reporter

Akubio hopeful of sales upsurge in Europe, North America and Japan

When the investors behind a Cambridge University biotech spin-out scanned horizons overseas for outlets for its new technology, it turned to UK Trade & Investment for help.

Akubio Limited, based on the Cambridge Science Park takes the quartz crystals commonly found in mobile phones and watches and uses them to detect and measure molecular interactions. It is a technique that is particularly helpful to the bio-pharmaceutical industry, because it enables them to make better drugs by understanding how they really work.

Akubio’s chief commercial officer, Jerry Walker, explains: “Only around 10 per cent of the global pharmaceutical market is based in the UK so it was absolutely essential to the success of our company that we looked overseas for markets and partners.”

Akubio signed up to UK Trade & Investment’s Passport to Export programme in November 2005. Part of the process involved receiving training in how identify and deal with distributors and stakeholders overseas.

The company has also been able to benefit from extensive advice and guidance from biotechnology expert Belinda Clarke, who is regional international trade adviser for biotech and pharma in the East of England.

“The level of service we have received from UK Trade & Investment has been excellent,” said Jerry.

“Belinda has been able to share her knowledge and expertise with us, which has been absolutely spot on. Thanks to her help, we’ve been able to access the North American market far more quickly than we would have otherwise been able to.”

Support from UK Trade & Investment has so far enabled Jerry and his team to attend a UK trade mission to Nanotech in Tokyo in February this year and to demonstrate their technology at events in Geneva, Salt Lake City and California.

So successful have these overseas visits been, that Akubio is to launch its first commercial product next month. UK Trade & Investment has helped here, too, through advice on market research and promotion materials.

“Thanks to UK Trade & Investment we have been able to break down barriers overseas and are looking to be able to provide a return to our investors within two years,” says Jerry.

Akubio’s plans are ambitious. By the end of 2006 it is confident that it will have achieved sales across Europe and North America and be ready to set its sights on Japan early in 2007.

Belinda Clarke added: “It’s been a pleasure to work with Akubio. Its success demonstrates how the Passport to Export programme can help a forward-looking company such as Akubio achieve its exporting ambitions.”


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