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16 February, 2017 - 14:47 By Tony Quested

Cambridge deals haul tops $274 billion

deals, investment, cambridge

If there was an economic slowdown in the build up to the festive break it was well hidden in the Cambridge UK science & technology cluster.

Brexit blues, upheaval awaiting the White House and a natural inclination for busy companies to take an end-of-year break from M & A activity failed to stop big bucks flowing in their billions as local businesses continued to bloom.

Deals in the ‘Christmas quarter’ – November, December and January – totalled a touch over $6.8 billion to take the 46-month total to $274.5bn at a monthly average of $5.967bn.

That represents a very strong rate of activity for such a small business centre in global terms.

Most of the headline fundraisings and investments were engendered by companies in the cluster’s life science community.

In November, for example, the Wellcome Trust joined Cancer Research UK and others to launch a new $1.25bn cancer power fund while antibodies specialist Kymab raised $100 million Series C funding from big-hitting global investors.

It followed the $120 million Series A & B financings raised by the UK business. The Series C was led by new investors ORI Healthcare Fund L.P. with participation by Shenzhen Hepalink Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, as well as follow-on investments from existing shareholders Wellcome Trust, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Malin Corporation plc; CF Woodford Equity Income Fund and Woodford Patient Capital plc.

The funds will enable Kymab to advance its proprietary pipeline of first-in-class therapeutic human monoclonal antibodies, the first of which starts clinical development in 2017.

Peptides pioneer Bicycle Therapeutics and Cambridge UK neighbour AstraZeneca stole the show in December, agreeing a multi-target collaboration across respiratory, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. The tie-up looks set to bring Bicycle Therapeutics a $1 billion-plus haul.

Japanese pharma giant Takeda raised $36 million to launch a new brain disease hothouse in the Cambridge cluster just four months after a review indicated it would close its operations in the city.
A new Cambridge neuroscience company called Cerevance was launched in partnership with life science livewire Lightstone Ventures.

Details were firmed up showing that, in the hi-tech arena, Cambridge communications technology specialist Sepura was set to be sold to a subsidiary of Chinese company Hytera Corporation in a deal that would value the UK business at $92.55m.

Another healthy round of fundraisings by Cambridge BioMedTech businesses including Owlstone Medical and Kymab again lit up the scene in January as life science deals raced past the $700m mark.

Property and infrastructure deals contributed almost $1bn to the 2017 New Year haul.

Kiss Communications

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