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15 March, 2006 - 13:38 By Staff Reporter

Nanotech start-up confident despite pulling float

Owlstone Nanotech, the young Cambridge company commercialising a dime sized chemical detection sensor, is bullish about its prospects, despite recently shelving a US float.

While it has not yet decided on an alternative financing avenue, the company says it has money in the bank and is about to close a deal for its technology.

Its American parent, Advance Nanotech Inc, has linked Owlstone up with ThinkEquity Partners – a research-centric institutional investor – to act as exclusive financial adviser.

Owlstone recently won the Innovation category in this newspaper’s East of England Business Awards and seemed destined for an over-the-counter bulletin board float in the States that could have valued the two-year-old business at £58m. It was seeking to raise around £3.5m.

Co-founder Billy Boyle said the decision followed a rethink about the company’s likely progress over the next 18 months and how that should be funded.

When the IPO versus private funding option was revisited, it was felt the regulatory demands of an OTCBB listing could act as a constraint on a young technology developer and outweighed other considerations.

He said: "There’s no gun to our heads. We’re not under pressure financially and are still in discussions with ThinkEquity over the likely funding requirement for the next 18 months.

"There is always a danger of going to the market and raising more cash than you really need, which can bring problems of a different kind."

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