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5 September, 2006 - 10:44 By Staff Reporter

Launch of Babraham BioConcepts Ltd - £1 million investment by Avlar BioVentures

With the injection of £1 million investment from Avlar BioVentures Fund II LLP, Babraham BioConcepts Limited has been launched to form and fund new early-stage Life Sciences companies associated with the Babraham Research Campus.With the injection of £1 million investment from Avlar BioVentures Fund II LLP, Babraham BioConcepts Limited has been launched to form and fund new early-stage Life Sciences companies associated with the Babraham Research Campus.

BioConcepts has acquired a 10-year pipeline agreement with the Babraham Institute giving it the right to form companies around intellectual property created at the Institute.

In addition, BioConcepts receives shareholdings in several early-stage life sciences companies (namely Actinomics, CTM Biotech, Innova Biosciences, MultiProSys and Probe Scientific that are associated with or have been formed on the Babraham Research Campus.

BioConcepts will work closely with entrepreneurs and scientists to create and nurture emerging companies from world-class science and technology deriving mainly from the Babraham Institute or locating to the Babraham Research Campus.

It will provide seed and early round funding, inject specific expertise and provide access to facilities that will enable companies to get off the ground. This is a unique offering designed to lower the barriers to the formation of high quality early-stage companies.

For example, companies coming through BioConcepts will have free access to fully equipped laboratory facilities – meaning they can conduct crucial proof-of-concept experimental work before attempting to raise substantial venture capital finance.

BioConcepts is funded by Avlar BioVentures – a UK-leading exponent of early-stage bioscience investment. Avlar operates an active management style working with management to build companies and shareholder value. This hands-on expertise will be made available to BioConcepts as required.

The Babraham Institute was founded in 1948 and is now a world-leader in cell signalling and developmental genetics.

Around 330 staff work at the Institute which received £19m grant and other income in 2005. Babraham is ranked equal 4th in the UK by citation in its areas of research specialism while the Babraham Research Campus has become a powerhouse of biocommerce.

Presently 29 bioscience companies are located on the campus, employing around 200 staff. In all, 41 companies have been associated with the campus since the Bioincubator opened in 1998 and these companies have raised in excess of £150m investment.

The Babraham Campus has long been associated with successful bioventures, most notably Chiroscience and Cambridge Antibody Technology and more recently Arakis, started life and developed at Babraham before moving to larger, dedicated premises.

Importantly, Babraham is a key part of the vision for building the Cambridge cluster – being at the apex of a triangle linking the Cambridge Science Park, Addenbrookes & Papworth Hospitals and the Human Genome Campus at Hinxton.

This is evidenced by a major capital investment programme supported by the BBSRC and EEDA to construct new buildings to house new research and commercial activities on the Babraham Research Campus.

Dr Daniel Roach, investment director of Avlar said: “Cambridge is the leading centre for biotechnology in the UK and we are convinced that Babraham has a pivotal role in the expansion of the cluster.

“We see BioConcepts’ role in creating and nurturing early-stage bioscience companies as vital. There is a funding (and expertise) gap for fledgling companies seeking seed and series A funding – BioConcepts will address this gap and be in on the ground floor of some exciting investment opportunities.”

Dr David Hardman, chief executive of Babraham Bioscience Technologies added: “The partnership with Avlar and its investment in BioConcepts represents a major development for the Babraham Research Campus and will strengthen significantly our support for the region’s bioventures.

“The campus provides physical infrastructure and a nurturing environment and BioConcepts will provide funding and business and scientific mentoring. Avlar’s investment in BioConcepts has helped bring this extra dimension to our campus.”

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