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19 November, 2020 - 14:45 By Tony Quested

DefiniGEN US and UK growth spurred by £3.25m funding

Cambridge University spin-out DefiniGEN, which provides human cell products and services, has closed a £3.25 million funding round to accelerate its next phase of growth in the US and UK. 

The cash haul includes £2 million from BGF, which markets itself as the UK’s most active investor, alongside its existing consortium of investors led by 24Haymarket.

DefiniGEN creates highly predictive disease cell models for preclinical research and drug development. The process of bringing new drugs to market is arduous, expensive and blighted by a high failure rate. 

DefiniGEN’s models help the biopharma industry to respond to these challenges, enabling highly relevant information on potential new drug efficacy to be realised in an accelerated manner.

The business says its technology platform achieves this using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), applying proprietary techniques to differentiate these into specific cell types and leveraging gene-editing tools to insert disease mutations.

DefiniGEN has capabilities across a range of cell types, with particular expertise in the liver disease field. Liver disease is currently ranked as the fifth most common cause of death in the UK and is receiving mounting interest in pharma R & D.

This funding will be used to boost DefiniGEN’s presence in the US, where the business has gained strong commercial traction. Investment will also be used to further expand DefiniGEN’s Cambridge facility at Babraham Research Campus and broaden its gene-editing capabilities.

Dr Marcus Yeo, co-founder and CEO of DefiniGEN, said: “Our technology platform harnesses iPSC technology to develop models that are transformational for drug discovery. 

“We have gained significant commercial momentum in recent years, and this investment will be a significant driver of continued growth for DefiniGEN. We’re thrilled to be working with BGF, who understand the complex issues that we are addressing and are committed to helping us accelerate the next phase of growth.”

Lucy Edwardes-Jones, investor at BGF added: “DefiniGEN has a strong technology platform, differentiated IP, significant commercial validation and a platform that we believe is ready to support strong growth. 

“From an investment perspective BGF has been active in supporting the UK’s life sciences industry, approaching 30 investments completed and £100m of capital deployed.

“DefiniGEN is a great example of a company that facilitates the process of discovering, developing and bringing much needed drugs to market. The market need is clearly emerging, and we believe there is a significant opportunity for DefiniGEN’s technology in the coming years.”

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