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15 April, 2015 - 09:53 By Kate Sweeney

Rare disease pioneer completes £300k seed round

The Healx team with dignitaries at a CfEL Enterprise Tuesday event

Healx, the Cambridge University startup helping to match potential cures to some of the world’s rarest diseases, has closed a £300k seed round and lined up Science & Technology big-hitters to help steer the next phase of growth.

Lead investors are serial life sciences entrepreneur and Cambridge angel Jonathan Milner – founder of Abcam – and San Francisco telecoms innovator Ronjon Nag.

The venture is equally funded by financial strategist David Fuller, biotech investor Ian Mackenzie and software manager Laurent Brisedoux.

Horizon Discovery CEO and serial entrepreneur Darrin Disley will become an independent non-executive director. Until Healx has a formal board he will act as an adviser to the young business.

The highly respected biotech entrepreneur and drug development guru David Brown has agreed to become chairman.
Ronjon Nag co-founded and sold companies to BlackBerry and Motorola and was awarded the Mountbatten Medal in 2014 by the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

He has been a pioneer of smartphones and the 'app stores' they depend on and worked in smartphone componentry – touch screens, mobile search, voice recognition, text prediction and handwriting recognition – as well as smartphone ecosystems, so called app stores.

Healx co-founder Tim Guilliams said the company is to start hiring. It is initially seeking a technology officer (bioinformatics) and operational officer and is considering recruiting a science writer/marketer. The company will also be offering part-time internships.

Healx has gained traction incredibly early in its life cycle, not least because of a seminal project working on a potential cure for American youngster Bertrand Might who was the first patient ever to be diagnosed with NGLY-1 deficiency and loss of function – an extremely rare congenital disorder.

This month Healx gained widespread publicity for launching the Cambridge Rare Disease Network (CRDN) which aims to link key influencers through a series of events and initiatives.

The venture – exclusively revealed by Business Weekly in March –  is designed to improve dialogue and promote best practice in this specialist field of medical technology.

Guilliams has found himself in demand for radio and TV interviews about the network and is giving a keynote address at a major drug repositioning conference in Chicago at the end of May. He has been booked in to talk at other leading international conferences later this year.

Healx was a finalist in the Disruptive Technology, Startup of the Year, Life Science Innovation and Cambridge Graduate Business of the Year categories at the recent 25th Anniversary Business Weekly Awards.

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