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23 June, 2020 - 07:58 By Tony Quested

CIC piles on the assets in boom year for investments

Cambridge Innovation Capital expanded its portfolio to 30 companies and increased net asset value by 46 per cent to £301.7 million in the year to March 31.

The successes included one unicorn (CMR Surgical) and CIC’s first IPO courtesy the NASDAQ float by Bicycle Therapeutics.

CIC invested £35.7m into four new and 12 existing portfolio companies, bringing the total invested to £163m. It cites a fair value increase of £69.5m (2019: £30.7m) which, together with investments, resulted in a portfolio value of £291.5m (£186.3m). CIC adds that £42.5m (£38.6m) was drawn down from the £150m committed by shareholders in the year to March 31, 2019.

CIC welcomed Riverlane, Sense Biodetection, PredictImmune and Immutrin to its family of portfolio companies – plus PetMedix post-period.

Bicycle Therapeutics conducted its NASDAQ IPO to progress its programmes, including toxin drug conjugates and immune modulators, to treat cancer and other debilitating diseases.

CMR Surgical closed a £195m Series C funding round to commercialise its next generation surgical robotic system and hit unicorn status ($1 billion valuation).

Managing partner Andrew Williamson was thrilled by CIC’s progress. He said: “Despite the recent challenges posed by the global coronavirus pandemic, we have made tremendous progress during the year.

“Our portfolio now includes one company valued in excess of £1 billion and another that has listed on NASDAQ, our first IPO. We have expanded the number of companies in, and value of, our portfolio, enhanced our potential deal flow with the creation of two accelerators and augmented our team to support the growth of the business.”

In addition to the Bicycle and CMR successes, CIC participated in a £6.5m Series A funding for AudioTelligence, which is dedicated to making speech clear and intelligible in a noisy world. 

AudioTelligence’s technology acts like autofocus for sound, using data-driven ‘blind audio signal separation’ to focus on the source of interest, allowing it to be separated from interfering noises. This enables microphones to focus on what users are saying, improving the audio quality for listeners, regardless of background noise.

CIC also backed Cytora, which closed a £25m Series B to continue developing its artificial intelligence-powered insurance technology platform that enables insurers to underwrite more accurately, reduce frictional costs and achieve profitable growth. 

CIC led a £3.3m seed round for Riverlane, a quantum computing software developer transforming the discovery of new materials and drugs. Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge, also participated. 

Riverlane’s software leverages the capabilities of quantum computers, which operate using the principles of quantum mechanics. 

CIC co-led a £12.3m Series A in Sense Biodetection, alongside Earlybird, to allow the business to develop a portfolio of instrument-free, point-of-care molecular diagnostic tests – a pioneering new class of diagnostic product.  

During the year CIC also announced the launch of Start Codon and established DeepTech.labs – two new accelerators focused on accelerating the translation of world-class research into commercially successful companies. 

Post-period CIC invested in PetMedix, a Cambridge UK-based biopharma company developing antibody-based therapeutics for companion animals; it was CIC’s first investment in the animal health space. 

PetMedix has developed an innovative platform for the creation of naturally generated, fully species-specific therapeutic antibodies, enabling the discovery of its own veterinary medicines to target some of the most important clinical areas in animal health.

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