Cambridge science and technology ‘Movers & Shakers’ raise c.$4bn in 2022
Overseas companies moving in, cash being splashed by global investors keen to test the water in the DeepTech and life science markets – combined, these factors further burnish the lustre of a golden era for the Cambridge Cluster.
Our Movers & Shakers analysis at the back end of last year showed how much money our incredible range of businesses raised in 2022; how many scaled in terms of property and headcount; the investor appetite for a slice of the action – and a rising tide of international collaborations.
Our A-Z showcases the influence and innovation of life science, hi-tech, industrial and professional services companies.
For those who like measuring success in financial terms, money raised by our Movers & Shakers since January 2022 falls just short of $4 billion. Some $3bn of that was injected by Amazon chairman Jeff Bezos and others in startup Altos Labs for whom Cambridge and California figure large in its plans to develop life extension therapies that can halt or reverse the human ageing process.
Recent reports suggest Altos has already started growing in terms of headcount and technology progress from its Cambridge base. Messages received here from potential US and Asian acquirers and investors since the turn of the year suggest that a lot more moving and shaking will be going on through 2023 – so this A-Z is just for starters.
Cambridge location technology company 1Spatial has won a number of contracts this year across the US. In February, Montana became the seventh American State and the eighth US customer overall to deploy 1Spatial to pinpoint the whereabouts of emergency services at any given time. 1Spatial followed up the Montana deal with a $1.4 million data management contract with the State of California to support the replacement of the Transportation System Network for the California Department of Transportation.
1Spatial also took its first bite out of the Big Apple via a maiden contract with the State of New York. Its 1Integrate software and services solution was chosen to automate data collation and verification for the New York State Office of Internal Technical Services. And in July, 1Spatial announced a five-year contract with The Center for Advanced Transportation Technology Laboratory (CATT Lab) at the University of Maryland. 1Spatial has also enjoyed significant new customer wins closer to home, including contracts with High Speed Two and a European aerospace company.
1Spatial increased revenue and turned a loss to a profit in the six months to July 31. The interims showed an 18 per cent increase in recurring revenue to £6.6m and a 67 per cent rise in term licences revenue to £1.7m. Profit before tax was £0.3m as opposed to a loss of £0.3m in the first half of the previous year.
Abcam, which sells life science research tools worldwide, kicked off 2022 by unveiling an alliance with California-based Alamar Biosciences to further the understanding of the human proteome and usher in the next wave of innovations in research, diagnostics and therapeutics. Abcam and Alamar have synergistic platforms key to engineer advances in the field. In February, Abcam announced a licensing agreement with Twist Bioscience in South San Francisco designed to boost antibody research.
In May, Abcam officially opened its newest regional hub – in Singapore – to be deployed as a springboard to lucrative Asian markets. The move marked a major milestone in Abcam’s growth, building on its expansion in Shanghai and Hangzhou (which continues to serve customers in mainland China) and Adelaide, Australia.
Abcam has confirmed its exit from the UK stockmarket to focus on the US where its stock – shares and kudos-wise – is soaring. In the six months to June 30, revenue of £185.2 million represented c20 per cent CER growth. Adjusted net profit almost doubled to £32.2m and Abcam had cash of £109.6m (up from £95.1m).
Abzena, whose global headquarters is at Babraham Research Campus in Cambridge, added a sixth site to its global operations network with expansion in California. Having raised an additional $65 million at the end of March, Abzena opened a new biologics testing laboratory close to its Biologics process development and manufacturing hub in San Diego. The facility gives Abzena’s partners access to cell-based and PCR safety assays and viral clearance studies to support vital applications.
At the start of 2022, Cambridge-based Agile Analog opened a sales and engineering operation based in Taipei, Taiwan in response to surging demand from chip manufacturers in the Asia-Pacific region. In May, Agile Analog announced Barry Paterson as its new CEO. With a career covering Cadence, Dialog, Intel, Maxim and Wolfson, Paterson has been at the forefront of mixed signal semiconductor design and development for 30 years. Agile Analog is a supplier of highly configurable, process node-agnostic analog IP building blocks.
Alloy Therapeutics, a transatlantic bio business with Cambridge facilities at Granta Park, raised $42 million Series D cash to underpin a new phase of expansion. Alloy says it will use the proceeds to further support the drug discovery community with new pre-competitive drug discovery technologies in fresh biologic modalities and partnership models designed to fuel innovation. Since Alloy’s Series C fundraise in March 2021, it has expanded from its foundational antibody discovery technologies and discovery services into T-cell receptors (TCRs), with the launch of its Keyway TCR Discovery division, and genetic medicines through its collaboration with Dr. Sudhir Agrawal, the inventor of gapmer technology. Alloy has further expanded with three new research sites, in Basel, Athens and San Francisco.
A new partnership in cancer drug development with the Institute of Cancer Research means that Cambridge-based Apollo now has collaborations with five world-leading research institutes.ICR joins the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, UCL and King’s College London as a strategic partner. Apollo is a portfolio biopharma company focusing on translational biology and drug development; the latest strategic collaboration is designed to discover and develop new cancer medicines for patients worldwide.
Biopharma company Arecor Therapeutics enjoyed a successful 2022 with key patent approvals, an acquisition, trials progress and solid interim results. In January, Arecor started a US Phase 1 clinical trial of its lead product AT247 to treat Type 1 diabetes then in March, The United States Patent and Trademark Office granted a patent protecting novel formulations of the group’s proprietary insulin products, AT247 and AT278. In the summer, Arecor triggered a placing of shares to raise around £6 million to acquire Northampton company Tetris Pharma – a commercial stage speciality pharmaceutical company. Since the acquisition, Tetris Pharma has launched Ogluo® (glucagon prefilled autoinjector pen) as a treatment for severe hypoglycaemia in children and adults living with diabetes in Germany. Arecor was also accorded two key patents by the European Patent Office in August, protecting its novel formulations of high-concentration adalimumab until 2038. In September, Arecor posted a solid set of interim results to June 30.
Arm posted record royalty revenue of $463m in Q2 2022. Arm partners shipped 7.5 billion Arm-based chips in the quarter – up nine per cent year-on-year – taking the total shipped to date to 240bn. Also in 2022 the company appointed Build Collective principal Tony Fadell to its board. Fadell brings decades of experience with the Arm architecture and ecosystem to his role as the company prepares for a potential public listing.
Fadell was the SVP of Apple’s iPod Division and led the team that created the first 18 generations of the iPod and the first three generations of the iPhone.
Autumn saw Arm ramp up its evolution strategy with changes to how some of its most important teams operate. Working on the mantra that ‘change drives innovation,’ CEO Rene Haas shuffled the talent pack to maximise the company’s core strengths. Dipti Vachani will continue to lead Arm’s growth in the automotive market as Senior Vice-President (SVP) and General Manager (GM) of the Automotive LoB. Paul Williamson moves from heading up the Client business to running the IoT business as SVP and GM of the IoT LoB. Chris Bergey, who formerly led Arm’s Infrastructure group during a critical phase of Neoverse adoption, becomes SVP and GM of the Client LoB. Mohamed Awad, who played a key role running the IoT business, joins the Arm Executive Committee and leads the Infrastructure team as SVP and GM of the Infrastructure LoB. Arm has also appointed new board members Karen Dykstra, former Chief Financial and Administrative Officer of AOL, and Jeff Sine, co-founder and partner of Raine Group. It has also taken on Jason Child as chief financial officer. Child most recently served as senior VP and CFO at Splunk. The previous month, Arm appointed Spencer Collins as Executive Vice-President and Chief Legal Officer.
Artios Pharma, which has operations in Cambridge and New York, initiated a Phase 2 study in August designed to test a new treatment for a type of breast cancer. Based at Babraham Research Campus, Artios has secured deals with major global partners that are worth billions of dollars over the long haul. The company is pioneering the development of novel small molecule therapeutics that target the DNA damage response process to treat patients with a broad range of cancers. Artios has raised $320m to date.
At the start of 2022 AstraZeneca and Scorpion Therapeutics in Boston MA agreed to discover, develop and commercialise novel cancer treatments against ‘undruggable’ targets. Scorpion gets an upfront cash payment of $75 million and is eligible to receive additional success-based payments.
AstraZeneca and US conglomerate Honeywell joined forces to develop nextgen respiratory inhalers which are as close as it comes to net zero impact.
AstraZeneca earned a $175m milestone from MSD in March after the US FDA approved Lynparza (olaparib) to treat high risk early breast cancer. The IP behind the blockbuster emanates from Professor Steve Jackson’s former Cambridge startup KuDOS which was acquired by AstraZeneca. In April, AstraZeneca posted massive Q1 revenue increases and unveiled plans to open a new site at the heart of the Cambridge MA. Total Q1 revenue rose 60 per cent to $11.39 billion. In May, AstraZeneca handed startup RQ Bio a flying start to its mission to transform treatment of potentially fatal viral infections. RQ Bio emerged from stealth with a huge cash haul via a licensing deal with AstraZeneca for its existing early stage monoclonal antibodies against SARS- CoV-2 with payments of up to $157m plus royalties. AstraZeneca further strengthened its cancer medicine pipeline with the acquisition of US company TeneoTwo for a projected $1.26 billion. Most recently, AstraZeneca revealed first-half revenues up 48 per cent to £22.161bn.
In March, Cambridge mobile payment trailblazer Bango started trading its shares in the US on OTC Markets Group’s OTCQX Best Market in addition to AIM. Bango says the North American initiative reflects the growing proportion of business the company is conducting in the US.
Bango has signed a number of deals to date this year. In April, it announced that telco giant T-Mobile US had signed up to license the Bango platform to boost its third party subscriptions business. The company won business with computer security software company McAfee Corp to expand its global user base through partnerships with service providers. In June, TelevisaUnivision, Inc in New York came onboard; it dominates Spanish-speaking audiences in the US. Prior to winning Quoted Company of the Year at the Business Weekly Awards in September Bango clinched the €4m acquisition of NTT DOCOMO’s global payments business – virtually doubling the size of the Cambridge company.
The company harnesses the power of a vast and growing corpus of biomedical data and makes it accessible and useful for scientific inquiry. The company is regarded as unique in its scope and ambition: it believes that any single data point has the potential to unlock the mysteries of disease. By empowering scientists to uncover new insights from this data, BenevolentAI can accelerate innovation and increase the probability of discovering a successful drug. Based locally at Babraham Hall, the company has submitted a Clinical Trial Application to the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency for BEN-8744 – an oral phosphodiesterase 10 (PDE10) inhibitor in development for the treatment of ulcerative colitis. Subject to obtaining MHRA approval, BenevolentAI plans to initiate a Phase I clinical trial of BEN-8744 – anticipated to start in the first half of 2023.
NASDAQ-quoted life sciences innovator Bicycle Therapeutics expanded its management team at the start of 2022 with chief operating officer Michael Skynner taking the new position of chief technology officer and Alistair Milnes assuming the COO role. Bicycle is pioneering a new and differentiated class of therapeutics based on its proprietary bicyclic peptide (Bicycle®) technology and reports continued progress in its ongoing Phase I/II clinical trials. In March, Bicycle signed a 10-year lease for 45,000 sq ft in the revamped Portway building at Granta Park. In July, Roche Group company Genentech exercised its second option in 10 months to expand its use of immuno-oncology therapies from Bicycle Therapeutics paying $10m. The deal doubled Genentech’s spend with Bicycle in the space of nine months.
In September, Bicycle was named Business of the Year at the Business Weekly Awards. The company has more than doubled its headcount in 2022 across both its Cambridge and US sites. It now employs more than 240 people globally and continues to recruit. At September 30 it had $361.5m cash.
Brain health company Cambridge Cognition recently agreed to acquire Scottish company eClinicalHealth Ltd (eCH) – a full-service digital technology provider working on virtual clinical trials for three of the world’s top 10 pharma companies – in a deal worth up to £1.7 million in cash and shares.
Cambridge Cognition is already an active player in the central nervous system (CNS) market, supplying world-leading digital solutions to assess brain health. It says this significant acquisition will accelerate the company’s growth.
Cambridge Consultants has formed a partnership with Genomic Vision in Paris to jointly develop the next generation of a technology platform for the analysis of structural and functional genome modifications. The future platform will improve performance by reaching a higher throughput compatible with pharmaceutical requirements.
In May, CML and French company Interhaptics.agreed a strategic collaboration to bring a cutting-edge AR/VR haptics technology demonstrator to the market. CML has established relationships with major global corporations across international supply chains. Its solutions are in production under licence by global manufacturers, which are currently shipping in volumes of 10s of millions. CML recently rubbed shoulders with a tech elite including Arm, NVIDIA, Samsung, Rolls-Royce, Jaguar, Ford, Google and Dyson for the highest number of patent applications.
Cambridge Science Park pharma company Cerevance unveiled a strategic research collaboration with Merck designed to discover novel targets in Alzheimer’s Disease in August. Cerevance will receive a $25m upfront haul and is eligible to receive development and commercial milestone payments totalling around $1.1 billion plus potential royalties on sales of approved products derived from the collaboration. Cerevance is a private, clinical-stage drug discovery and development company focused on central nervous system diseases.
It’s been a great year for CMR Surgical with more than 100 of its Versius® robot arms now installed in commercial markets around the world. CMR has continued to scale and has now installed the nextgen system across Europe, Asia, Australia, Latin America and the Middle East. The company is set to pump up the volume via a new manufacturing facility in Ely.
Crescendo Biologics started the year by announcing a a multi-target drug discovery collaboration with German influencer BioNTech. They are to develop novel immunotherapies, including mRNA-based antibodies and engineered cell therapies, for the treatment of patients with cancer and other diseases, leveraging Crescendo’s proprietary Humabody® VH platform. Crescendo received $40mn upfront, as well as research funding, and is eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments up to a total of more than $750m plus sales royalties. Crescendo now has platform validation from major partnerships to the tune of $2 billion in potential milestones and royalties.
Cambridge’s world-leading cyber security AI business Darktrace has strengthened its tech armoury, made key new hires and unveiled strong revenue growth in 2022. It paid $53.7m for Dutch company Cybersprint – an attack surface management company that provides continuous, real-time insights from an outside-in perspective to eliminate blind spots and detect risks. Darktrace has launched new technology in the form of the PREVENT product family which expands the company’s offering and continues delivery of Darktrace’s technology vision of an industry-first Cyber AI Loop. A number of organisations in the US, UK and northern Europe are early adopters. Darktrace cites year-over-year growth of at least 32 per cent in the number of customers, a 42 per cent uptick in constant currency ARR and a 48 per cent rise in revenue.
Cambridge University spin-out DIOSynVax announced in March that it was to receive $42m to develop a vaccine candidate that could provide protection against both existing and future variants of SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – as well as other major coronaviruses, including those that cause SARS and MERS. The investment is from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) which has offices in Oslo, London and Washington US. It will support the development of an mRNA vaccine by DIOSynVax, which is led by Professor Jonathan Heeney, head of the Laboratory of Viral Zoonotics at the University of Cambridge. The Cambridge team will design and select the lead antigen through proof-of-concept preclinical studies, and undertake initial clinical development through Phase I/II studies.
Parkinson’s UK, the largest charitable funder of Parkinson’s research in Europe, and Cambridge company Domainex, revealed a game-changing collaboration in February The alliance is focused on developing small molecule therapies targeting neuroinflammation that could slow the progression of Parkinson’s. The collaboration is anticipated to be undertaken over a two-and-a-half-year period, with Parkinson’s UK investing up to £3 million in the project via its drug development arm – the Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech. Also in February, Domainex opened a facility of over 7,000 sq ft at Unity Campus in Sawston and announced an anticipated increase in headcount of up to 50 per cent by the end of 2022.
The pioneering TechBio platform business applying network science to biology, raised a $20m first close of its scale-up funding round but hopes to raise half as much again. The round will remain open for an unspecified further period to facilitate more investment up to an additional $10 million. The cash will support further development of Eagle’s e[datascientist]™ platform and continue to drive expansion into global markets and the deepening of client impact.
Endomag’s ground-breaking magnetic lymphatic tracer Magtrace® recently received its recommendation from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellent for use in sentinel lymph node biopsy procedures. This could see a change in the standard of care for breast cancer staging for the first time in years, allowing for drastically improved efficiencies and scheduling. After securing 20.386 sq ft of space on Cambridge Science Park for a new UK HQ at the end of 2021, CEO Eric Mayes announced a fresh surge of activity was underway with the company set to increase headcount by 60 per cent by the end of this year to 120 people.
Cambridge synthetic biology company Evonetix, which is bringing semiconductor technology to DNA synthesis, ended a long wait for a new CEO in June by hiring Colin McCracken from Fludigm Corp in San Francisco. He is focussing on building strategic partnerships and customer relationships ahead of the commercial introduction of the company’s first product, a benchtop DNA printer.
Cambridge Science Park company FlexEnable raised $11 million Series B finance in February with the option of a further $14m on the table to take flexible displays and active optics to mass production. Investors in the flexible organic electronics specialist include Coretronic, a major Taiwanese LCD backlight module manufacturer, alongside significant European family offices. The total haul is expected to finance FlexEnable through to mass production ramp up of flexible displays and liquid crystal optical modules at Asian display manufacturing partners. The funds will also be used to scale the company’s organic materials production capacity to meet the growing needs of display manufacturing partners entering volume production.
Two unnamed global acquirers jointly snapped up Cambridge flow sensor technology company Flusso for £28m in August. The deal will enable the acquirers to expand their current product portfolio into flow and environmental sensing and establish a European footprint in Cambridge to add to their existing facilities in the US and China. Flusso – a 2016 spin-out from the University of Cambridge – will continue to operate under its own brand name and with its existing management team under the direction of CEO and company co-founder Dr Andrea De Luca. The company has a sales office in the US to serve the North America market and one in Hong Kong for Asia.
Cambridge DeepTech company FocalPoint announced the first close of a multi-round Series C funding round of up to £23m from a consortium of investors co-led by Molten Ventures and Gresham House. The proceeds enable FocalPoint to continue its mission to revolutionise the accuracy of GPS and other global navigation satellite systems by scaling its customer support operations to meet the growing demands of equipment and chipset manufacturers. It will also facilitate growth of its R &D teams and enable the business to pursue opportunities in other radio technologies, including 5G and WiFi. Earlier, FocalPoint secured funding from the European Space Agency to develop a live demonstration and rapid prototyping system to accelerate FocalPoint’s activities in the automotive and mobile sector.
Frontier Developments Plc
David Braben, the iconic and globally respected mastermind behind Cambridge video games powerhouse Frontier Developments, yielded the CEO role and stepped up to become president after 28 years at the helm. Jonny Watts took over as CEO after 10 years as chief creative officer. Frontier has announced record annual revenue of £114 million in FY22, 26 per cent up on the previous year. Earlier this month Frontier paid £11.6 million cash to acquire Winnipeg-based studio Complex Games Inc.
In June, Gearset, the CevOps solutions provider for Salesforce, closed a $55m growth investment led by Silversmith Capital Partners, a Boston US-based growth equity firm. It marked the first time the company had raised outside capital. Gearset runs 250,000 deployments a month across more than 1,700 companies from SMB to enterprise organisations including McKesson, Zillow, Traction on Demand, Intercom, Accenture, IBM and Johnson & Johnson. It was spun-out of Redgate Software in 2015 with a team of eight people and now has more than 150 employees; it has thousands of customers worldwide.
The AI-powered company, which is pioneering the next generation of drug discovery for rare diseases, took more than 3,500 sq ft of space within Chesterford Research Park’s multi-occupancy lab building in July. Healx’s headquarters is on Hills Road in Cambridge but the company is hiring fast for the additional facility.
A formidable alliance was forged by AstraZeneca and genome sequencing ace Illumina to find promising drugs based on human omics insights. The Cambridge neighbours aim to accelerate drug target discovery by combining their strengths in AI-based genome interpretation and genomic analysis techniques along with industry expertise.
Business Weekly’s reigning International Trade Award champion, IQGeo has racked up a number of global contract wins, made a key acquisition and hoisted revenues. In a vibrant six months to June 30, the company saw recurring revenue growth of 75 per cent to £4.5m. IQGeo is confident of accelerating net profitability in 2023 and beyond following the shrewd acquisition of Belgian company Comsof N.V. for €13m. In July, IQGeo won a $3.6m contract in the US to fast-track a nationwide fibre roll-out for a telecom network operator. It secured a further contract in the US last month and another in the Netherlands.
Video game developer and publisher Jagex last month announced it had reached its highest ever revenue since foundation in 2001. Revenue for 2021 hit £124.86m – up four per cent on 2020 – and represented the seventh year of sustained growth for the Cambridge Science Park company.
Jagex was acquired by The Carlyle Group in January. A global force in creating deep and engaging live games on PC and mobile, Jagex’s flagship MMORPG RuneScape has welcomed over 300 million player accounts to its world and is a $1billion lifetime revenue franchise. The company, which employs more than 450 people at its Cambridge HQ, acquired Pipeworks Studios, a 200-person development studio based in Eugene, Oregon in the Summer - its first ever acquisition of an external studio.
Earlier this year JM announced a refreshed strategy with an ambition to be the “market leader in performance components for fuel cells and electrolysers”, targeting more than £200 million sales in hydrogen technologies by the end of 2024/25. In January, Johnson Matthey launched an innovative technology – HyCOgenTM – to help enable the conversion of captured carbon dioxide (CO2) and green hydrogen into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
JM expanded its presence in the green hydrogen marketplace in May by taking a stake in German AEM electrolyser pioneer Enapter – investing €20m (representing 4.31 per cent) in the business. AEM is a next generation electrolyser technology that promises to drive down the cost of green hydrogen towards a point where it becomes competitive with fossil fuels. JM also unveiled that it is building an £80 million gigafactory at its existing site in Royston to scale up the manufacture of hydrogen fuel cell components. The investment will safeguard highly skilled manufacturing jobs in the UK. The site is expected to be in operation by H1, 2024.
Levidian’s vision of a decarbonised world powered by hydrogen and built on graphene received a powerful endorsement via a £12m investment from US energy technology giant Baker Hughes. The money and the expertise provided by Baker Hughes heightens the profile of Levidian’s world-first decarbonisation technologies and opens up fresh global collaboration opportunities. The cash injection will enable the further scale-up of Levidian’s business, including both LOOP – Levidian’s decarbonisation device – and graphene production capacities at the company’s Cambridge headquarters.
Significant investments from Tencent in China and Flerie Invest in Sweden underpinned a $67m Series B round for microbiome specialist Microbiotica. The raise will fund Phase 1b clinical trials in immuno-oncology and ulcerative colitis and expansion of the product pipeline to other indications. Spun out of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in 2016, Microbiotica is based at Chesterford Research Park and won the Business Weekly Life Science Innovation award in September.
A research alliance was formed earlier this year by life science trailblazer Mogrify and Tokyo-based regenerative medicine company Astellas Pharma Inc.The partners are working together on in vivo regenerative medicine approaches to address sensorineural hearing loss.
Nuclera, which won the Tech Scale-Up accolade at the Business Weekly Awards in September, has enjoyed a productive 2022. It raised an extra $15.5m in Series B financing in July to bring the total haul to $58m. Nuclera is using the cash to accelerate the commercial launch of its eProtein™ desktop bioprinter. In August, Nuclera took a pre-let on all 31,248 sq ft of Mortlock House at Vision Park to establish its new global HQ. Nuclera was founded by four PhD students at the University of Cambridge and has expanded rapidly across two continents. The company launched a US subsidiary in Boston US in January 2022.
Optibrium, which develops software and AI solutions for drug discovery, has expanded into a new HQ, raised capital and strengthened its leadership team with key hires in the UK and US. Anchored in Cambridge, Optibrium also has offices in Boston and San Francisco in the US. More than 170 organisations worldwide, including five of the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies, deploy Optibrium’s computational drug discovery technologies in their research programmes. In June, Optibrium moved to larger office premises on Cambridge Innovation Park North and secured unspecified investment from existing backer Kester Capital.
Paragraf, a leader in the development and production of graphene electronic devices, recently appointed Tom Wilson as chief commercial officer. His role for the Cambridge University spin-out is to build Paragraf’s commercial strength by developing market share in key verticals that will support the company’s rapid manufacturing expansion plan. At the start of 2022 Paragraf raised around $60m in a Series B funding round.
Having secured a lucrative deal with Roche shortly after winning the Life Science Scale-Up accolade at the Business Weekly Awards, PhoreMost announced another agreement with US-based Arvinas, an industry leader in targeted protein degradation. PhoreMost will receive research funding and be eligible for pre-clinical, clinical and commercial milestones. It will deploy its in-house expertise and next-generation phenotypic screening platform, SITESEEKER®, toward multiple high-value therapeutic targets. Earlier in 2022, PhoreMost relocated its UK headquarters to a 14,900 sq ft state-of-the-art facility at Howard Group’s Unity Campus. Nearly doubling the size of its previous facilities, the relocation accommodates PhoreMost’s accelerated expansion and ongoing recruitment efforts within one location.
PragmatIC scooped two accolades at this year’s Business Weekly Awards, taking home the Disruptive Technology and the CJBS Graduate Business of the Year prizes.
A $5m cash injection in January from Wall Street packaging giant Amcor took PragmatIC’s Series C haul past $90m. Amcor is working with PragmatIC to implant its ultra low cost solutions into nextgen packaging.
PragmatIC develops flexible, integrated circuits beyond the scope of conventional electronics. Its ConnectIC® family of radio frequency identification and near-field communications (RFID/NFC) integrated chips can be embedded into packaging to store and relay information to devices such as smartphones. In March, it was chosen to lead a £1.4m Innovate UK, Smart Sustainability Plastic Packaging business project to make reusable plastic packaging systems a reality at scale. It has also won acclaim for opening a second fabrication line in the UK – located in Durham.
In February, Machine Learning specialist Quantinuum – forging fresh frontiers for quantum computing – agreed a globally significant alliance with US giant IBM which has also invested in the Cambridge business. The partners are to expand the IBM Quantum Hub with Cambridge Quantum Computing Limited. This will provide clients with greater access to New York headquartered IBM’s quantum computing systems. Quantinuum is a result of the combination of two leaders in the global eco-system for quantum computing: Honeywell Quantum Solutions and Cambridge Quantum Computing. More recently, Quantinuum announced a partnership with NVIDIA to accelerate quantum computing advances, and another with Mitsui in Japan.
Technology innovator RealVNC last month acquired German-owned software that will enable the company to branch out beyond graphical screen sharing and into remote management. It bought CloudRadar’s RPort remote management software for a modest sum. With this acquisition, RealVNC will soon offer a comprehensive IoT device management platform to their customers. Business Weekly understands that this could be the first of a number of deals likely to be struck by RealVNC to underpin an aggressive growth strategy via M & A activity.
Life science innovator RxCelerate unveiled a new, next generation small molecule discovery platform this year. RxNfinity leverages machine learning, in silico structure modelling and combinatorial chemistry in a novel workflow that offers significant advantages over the current generation of tools to identify small molecule drugs against a wide range of protein targets. Founded in 2012, RxCelerate has grown rapidly to become one of the leading providers of drug development services in the UK. It operates a unique model, providing capabilities to discover and develop drugs for clients, designing as well as executing every aspect of the R & D plan. RxCelerate has more than 60 employees and consultants based in 25,000 sq ft of premium lab and office space at Babraham Research Campus and has offices in Boston and San Francisco – key life sciences corridors in the US.
SDI Group Plc
SDI Group gained access to markets in China and Germany through the near-£17m acquisition of Fraser Anti-Static Techniques, a UK manufacturer of anti-static equipment. This was the 16th acquisition by AIM-quoted SDI which is an export powerhouse. Besides its Cambridge stronghold, SDI also has a United States office. The group is focused on the design and manufacture of scientific and technology products for use in digital imaging and sensing and control applications.
Japanese owned Sosei Heptares has reaped handsome revenues that have cut deep into losses and produced an excellent performance in the third quarter and first nine months of 2022. Revenue totalled $67.5m – an increase of $34.6m against the prior corresponding period. In August, Sosei was backed by Cancer Research UK to fast-track a cancer immunotherapy drug candidate into a first-in-human trial. In May, Sosei expanded its UK R & D operations into a second site within Granta Park – to The Cori Building, previously occupied by Cancer Research UK.
During the summer, speech recognition technology pioneer Speechmatics raised $62m Series B cash to facilitate a further uptick in capability as well as territorial expansion in the US and Asia-Pacific. The round was led by Susquehanna Growth Equity in Pennsylvania with participation from existing investors AlbionVC in London and Cambridge’s IQ Capital. Speechmatics’ vision is to be a world-leading speech platform, understanding every voice with human-level accuracy. Following a major breakthrough in 2021, the Speechmatics speech-to-text engine is now trained through exposure to hundreds of thousands of individual voices using millions of hours of unlabelled, more representative voice data that doesn’t require human intervention. The Speechmatics engine already understands 34 languages for live and pre-recorded media.
Life science company Sphere Fluidics has doubled its footprint by opening a new facility at Granta Park and in the long-term looks set to quadruple space size. A second phase is under development – due to complete by the end of the 2023 – and will further expand its space to around 30,000 sq ft.
Sphere Fluidics is developing single cell analysis systems underpinned by its patented picodroplet technology; the new labs double existing capacity, enabling the team’s accelerated expansion and the development of innovative new products.
STORM appointed a life science industry big-hitter as president and CEO in September. Dr Gerald (Jerry) McMahon will lead a new phase of growth for STORM, which is discovering and developing novel small molecule therapies targeting RNA modification enzymes for oncology and other diseases.
Dr McMahon was President and CEO of NASDAQ listed Harpoon Therapeutics, building the company from early stage through to IPO, follow-on financings, and development collaborations. Prior to that he held numerous roles including President and CEO of Kolltan Pharmaceuticals which was acquired by Celldex, Senior VP Oncology at Medimmune (AstraZeneca), and President at SUGEN (Pharmacia and Pfizer), where he was instrumental in the invention and full development of several ground-breaking protein kinase inhibitors including sunitinib (Sutent®) marketed by Pfizer.
Inkjet printing technology group Xaar plc believes it is on the cusp of achieving sustainable profitability after it hugely hoisted revenues and cut losses for the six months to June 30. Xaar revenues were 39 per cent higher year-on-year to £36.6m and the pre-tax loss was cut from £1.4m to £0.3m. The printhead business performed well with strong growth in Europe and the US offsetting a COVID-19 related slowdown in China. In early 2022 Xaar acquired Megnajet Ltd and Technomation Ltd, whose businesses trade together under the name of Megnajet. It has just launched its revolutionary printhead – the Xaar Aquinox – delivering exceptional reliability, creativity, and sustainability for printing aqueous fluids.
The Cambridge startups making the headlines in a transformative 2022
52 North Health
Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge led a £1m funding round of UK and US-based medtech startup 52 North Health in April. 52 North is developing NeutroCheck, a fully-integrated clinical, AI and medical device-based system for people living with cancer.
Adrestia Therapeutics, a leader in synthetic rescue therapies for genetic diseases and backed by Ahren Capital and GlaxoSmithKline, has made a number of key appointments in 2022. Recently, Adrestia partnered with German contract research company Proteros to work out protein structures to help Adrestia’s drug design. The company will use data from two synchotrons, one in Germany as well as the UK’s Diamond Light Source. The move to beef up chemistry activity and drug design signals a new phase for Adrestia as it focuses on translating its work to date into drug candidates that can begin testing. Adrestia’s scalable platform builds on decades of research by Professor Steve Jackson’s laboratory at the University of Cambridge into synthetic rescue and the related concept of synthetic lethality for the treatment of cancer.
Altos Labs officially launched in California and Cambridge at the start of 2022 – fuelled by $3 billion investment capital committed from global backers including Jeff Bezos, executive chair of Amazon. Its vision is to transform medicine through cellular rejuvenation programming. The company is dedicated to unraveling the deep biology of cellular rejuvenation programming – to restore cell health and resilience to reverse disease, injury, and the disabilities that can occur throughout life. Its board and advisory team are rammed with Nobel Laureates and scientific leaders. Altos has operations in the San Francisco Bay Area and San Diego, as well as Cambridge – with significant collaborations in Japan. In March, Altos agreed a 10-year lease on 51,000 sq ft at Granta Park. The site, which is led by Cambridge Institute of Science Director Wolf Reik, houses the labs of leading scientists in the cellular rejuvenation programming field.
Axol Bioscience, which provides iPSC-derived cells, media, and characterisation services for life science discovery, raised $4.2m in April in an extension of its previous funding round, bringing the haul to $9.2m. The round was led by existing investors Calculus Capital, Par Equity and Scottish Enterprise with support from Meltwind, including early investor Dr Jonathan Milner. The funds will be used to bring new human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) products and service solutions for cardiac, neuroscience, and immune cell modelling to the drug discovery and screening markets.
Zero-carbon refrigeration pioneer Barocal secured a £1.3m investment to accelerate commercialisation of its novel technology designed to dramatically cut global CO2 emissions. As the technology also works in heating applications, the University of Cambridge spin-out plans to explore the potential of its breakthrough for domestic and commercial heating systems – to provide a cost-effective, efficient alternative to expensive air source heat pumps.
Balderton Capital led a $16m Series A round in Better Origin whose technology can process human and animal food from insects cultivated from food waste. Better Origin has developed a solution that can convert full-grown insects into ingredients for salmon feed, pet feed and human food in a sustainable and scalable way.
Precision cancer diagnostics, Biofidelity, completed a significantly oversubscribed $23m Series A+ round in February, led by Octopus Ventures. The haul will fund the launch of ASPYRE-Lung, the company’s first commercial diagnostic assay based on its breakthrough molecular technology. ASPYRE is a completely new category of molecular diagnostic technology that simplifies and accelerates the detection of genomic biomarkers. While the company’s initial focus is on non-small cell lung cancer it intends to expand this to broad application across the $15 billion cancer testing market.
Earlier this month, it was announced that technology from BIOS Health, a pioneer in the development of AI-driven precision medicine technology for decoding and treating the human nervous system, was moving into eight clinics worldwide to power a groundbreaking new study funded by the US National Institutes of Health. The NIH – the US Government’s national medical research agency – is funding a $21m clinical programme called Research Evaluating Vagal Excitation and Anatomical Links. This will take place over three years with world-leading partners including University of Minnesota, Mayo Clinic, Stanford University and BIOS.
Cambridge University spin-out, BKwai raised £2.2m seed capital to accelerate data-driven infrastructure and construction – one of the world economy’s largest sectors worth £7 trillion. A construction data company that helps engineers develop smarter, more sustainable built infrastructure, BKwai secured the cash from Octopus Ventures with participation from Deeptech Labs and Cambridge Enterprise. Although only founded in 2019, BKwai is already deployed on construction sites by some of the biggest names in UK building and on existing major infrastructure assets. Customers include Thames Tideway, Laing O’Rourke, Kier, WSP and Highways England.
Broken String Biosciences
A genomics startup with big-hitting collaborative partners including AstraZeneca and Unilever expanded its Cambridge footprint and announced a hiring spree in February. Broken String is causing a global stir with technology that eschews animal testing and is set for international take-off bolstered by a healthy £3m seed funding round. Anchored at the Wellcome Genome Campus, the company has also taken space at Chesterford Research Park’s Science Village to relocate its laboratory-based operations.
Cambridge Future Tech
Vest Coast Capital, which has bases in Silicon Valley and New York, invested in a seed round for Cambridge Future Tech – a venture builder for DeepTech startups accessing novel and disruptive technologies from a host of UK-based universities. With four ventures already underway and plans to co-found another six by the end of 2023 alone, the capital infusion will allow CFT to grow its Cambridge team and develop key partnerships across the UK.
Cambridge GaN Devices
Cambridge GaN, the first company to win three Business Weekly Awards in a year, has had a transformational 2022. The fabless semiconductor company recently announced a $19m Series B round led by Parkwalk Advisors and BGF with participation from IQ Capital, CIC, Foresight Williams Technology and Martlet Capital. It allows CGD to target a $50bn global mega-market. CGD has gone from strength to strength internationally since being spun out of the renowned power device group at Cambridge University’s Engineering Department in 2016. It is uniquely positioned to disrupt multiple industries such as consumer and industrial power supplies, lighting, data centres and automotive HEV/EV.
CGD is leading a $10m European-funded project developing GaN-based modules for low and high-power applications (GaNext); is participating in a UK supply chain initiative for PCB-embedded power systems with GaN devices (P3EP) and recently launched a project to develop highly reliable GaN power transistors and ICs to cut data centre emissions (ICeData). CGD is also focused on key partnerships with customers focused at the datacom and automotive solutions.
CamGraPhIC, a Cambridge University spinout, raised more than £813k in August 2022 from Wealth Club clients through the Enterprise Investment Scheme to scale its graphene-based photonics technology. CamGraPhIC is developing graphene-based photonics technology for scalable, faster and cheaper optical transceivers – devices at the centre of high-speed data and telecoms networks. Its proposition has the potential to become a core enabling technology for next generation 5G networks and beyond. The transceivers are also said to be more energy efficient, meaning they are not only cheaper to buy but also to run. Other applications will include 6G mm wave which will allow data to be transferred at speeds up to 1 terabit per second, High Performance Computing and networks to handle the demands of AI.
Charco’s CUE1 – a therapeutic wearable device to alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s – delivers individualised peripheral nerve stimulation designed to alleviate motor symptoms such as slowness, stiffness and freezing while walking and has a waiting list of more than 7000 people. In May 2022, Charco and Queen Mary University of London won a £120k funding award from Innovate UK to test CUE1’s feasibility, assessing its tolerability and effect on clinical outcome measures, assessing optimal stimulation settings and positioning for the CUE1, and drafting a design for a formal clinical trial. This project comes at an exciting time for Charco, currently working to scale up operations following the initial launch of the CUE1 in December 2021. Lucy Jung, CEO of Charco Neurotech became the youngest ever winner of the Cambridge Judge Business School’s Woman Entrepreneur accolade at the latest Business Weekly Awards.
CN Bio, a leading Organ-on-a-chip Company that designs and manufactures single-and multi-organ microphysiological systems opened new laboratory facilities at Cambridge Science Park in July. The company’s laboratory space was doubled in response to the increasing market demand for OOC services as the technology gains traction within drug discovery and development programmes.
Cambridge Enterprise participated in an £18 million Series B investment round for University of Cambridge spin-out Colorifix. By replacing industrial chemistry with biology at every step of the textile dyeing and fixing processes, Colorifix has earned a place at the forefront of the industry’s transition to a more sustainable era. Colorifix was co-founded by Jim Ajoika, in the Department of Pathology, and Orr Yarkoni, formerly a postdoc in Jim’s lab and now the company’s CEO. The company is entering industrial scale-up following its first customer implementation at RDD (Valérius Group) in Portugal, where last year product was launched with H&M and Pangaia. The Series B funding will support a trebling in team size as Colorifix prepares to expand further into Europe and Asia. Colorifix will implement its technology into the supply chains of several leading players in the global fashion industry.
New synthetic biology power player, Constructive Bio, emerged from stealth in August fuelled by $15m seed cash and gold dust IP. The company is set to re-engineer biology and create completely new classes of enzymes, pharmaceuticals and biomaterials. It holds an exclusive licence to IP developed by the Chin Lab at the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. Constructive Bio is backed by leading DeepTech investors – Ahren, Amadeus Capital Partners, OMX Ventures and General Inception. The Chin Lab has pioneered the development and application of methods for reprogramming the genetic code of living organisms, rewriting the near-universal genetic code of natural life to create organisms that use new genetic codes.
Cambridge diagnostic company Cyted reached the milestone of completing 10,000 early oesophageal cancer detection tests for NHS patients in more than 50 hospitals in September last year. Cyted’s unique data-driven test monitors patients suffering from Barrett’s oesophagus – who risk developing oesophageal cancer – ensuring that the disease can be quickly detected and treated, or even treated at the pre-cancerous stage to stop it progressing. The test is currently used in more than 50 hospitals in England and Scotland and the NHS has provided £500,000 of funding to pilot testing in community care across the North-West.
Dunad, which is focused on developing small molecule covalent therapies based on novel insights from chemistry and protein degradation, appointed pharmaceutical industry ‘evergreen’ Dr Pearl Huang as CEO. Her biotech and pharma industry experience spans leadership positions at major pharma companies such as Roche, GSK and Merck, to name a few. The appointment came as Dunad was establishing its US operations, continued to expand its platform based on novel insights into covalent chemistry and building its internal drug discovery programs. While Dunad is headquartered in Cambridge UK, Dr. Huang will be based out of the Cambridge Massachusetts office. The company also has operations in Toronto.
The business, which is leading the AI revolution in nucleic acid therapeutics, has raised a total of $22m seed funding after a recent top-up. Eleven, which is also based in Boston US and Tel Aviv, is harnessing the power of combinatorial chemistry and AI to transform RNAi drug development into a programmable process. Among its funders is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which committed $9m – including $5m towards future equity investment. Earlier in 2022, Eleven and NASDAQ-quoted DNA doyen Twist Bioscience Corporation in South San Francisco announced the creation of a synthetic viral RNA tool, called a replicon, which can mimic how viruses replicate.The replicon can be used as a safe alternative in the screening process for new antiviral drugs and vaccine development.
Empyrean Neuroscience Inc.
Last month, genetic engineering company Empyrean Neuroscience, Inc., launched with a $22m Series A financing and a genetic engineering platform to advance a pipeline of neuroactive compounds targeting disorders of the central nervous system. The business, based in Cambridge and New York, is dedicated to developing neuroactive compounds to treat neuropsychiatric and neurologic problems. It is founded on a proprietary platform designed to genetically engineer small molecule therapeutics from fungi and plants.
Functional genomics company Enhanc3D raised £10m in Series A money in October to accelerate the development of its proprietary technology platform GenLink3DTM. The company is unlocking the full potential of the human 3D genome to transform therapeutic development. The financing was led by BGF and Parkwalk Advisors with support from existing private backers and Bioqube Ventures. It will enable Enhanc3D to capitalise on its validated platform’s ability to rapidly and deeply decode the genomic dark matter into hundreds of new candidate targets for diagnostic and therapeutic asset development. Initially it will generate large datasets across multiple immune-cell types that have broad relevance to auto-immune diseases, cancer and ageing. Enhanc3D will also be expanding its team, moving into larger facilities in Cambridge’s St John’s Innovation Centre, providing the infrastructure to support the next phase of expansion.
In April, Cambridge Innovation Capital backed a $13.6m seed round by Epitopea, a transatlantic cancer immunotherapeutics company and global leader in exploiting a new class of untapped tumour-specific antigens (TSAs). The Epitopea fundraising has been backed by a transatlantic syndicate of top-tier life sciences investors; besides CIC they include Advent Life Sciences, CTI Life Sciences and Fonds de solidarité FTQ. Epitopea says the money will leverage its ground-breaking Cryptigen™ approach to create transformational immunotherapies that target broad cancer patient populations in both solid and haematological cancers.
German tech giant Bosch agreed in May to acquire Cambridge-headquartered Five to accelerate the vision of fully automated driving and create Europe’s leader in the field. Five CEO Stan Boland, a past master at maximising the full value of technology businesses, lauded the technological and cultural fits of the alliance. Bosch wasn’t the only choice to take Five forward but was the most compelling, Boland said. While the company has raised $78m to date, Boland said it was clear early in the piece that the journey to perfection could cost billions over the long haul and Bosch was ideally placed to help Five achieve the ambitions set out at launch.
Helio Display Materials
A recruitment spree got underway at Helio Display Materials – the first Oxbridge spin-out – following a $4.75m Series A round which put the startup in prime position to exploit a $120bn display module market. The company is poised to solve a problem facing LCD and large-area OLED displays. Helio is creating proprietary materials for a new generation of brighter and more colourful displays that use significantly less power. Co-founders and leaders in perovskites science, Professor Henry Snaith and Professor Sir Richard Friend remain actively engaged in developing the product and in further R & D.
Helio won the Academic spin-out of the year prize at the recent Business Weekly Awards.
In March, Machine Learning company Intellegens expanded its operations to include a US-based sales and service team. Intellegens already has an active and growing customer base of US-based organisations in sectors spanning chemicals, materials, aerospace, battery technology and energy. The first Intellegens team members in the US will enable the company to work more efficiently with these customers and to grow more rapidly the number of organisations benefiting from its Alchemite™ technology in the US and Canada.
In another significant move, the Cambridge University spin-out joined forces with Bletchley-based Zizo to help businesses extract more value from their data through advanced data management and analytics. Zizo provides big data and edge analytics. US space agency NASA delivered a timely boost for Intellegens. Scientists from the NASA Glenn Research Center published the results of extensive validation work on the company’s Alchemite™ software, and the NASA team now plans to implement the Intellegens solution into its inverse design architecture. The news gives wings to Intellegens’ growth blueprint in Cambridge UK, Europe, the US and Asia.
Intellegens is also looking to hire talent in the US and establish a ‘boots on the ground’ base there – possibly in the industry-rich territory of the Midwest. Growth in Asia is also imminent. The company’s advanced deep learning technology originated from the work of Dr Gareth Conduit and collaborators at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge.
An unspecified but over-subscribed investment round by Cambridge University spin-out Kalium Health has lit the touchpaper to an expansion surge to advance blood monitoring technology for people living with chronic kidney and heart disease. As part of the current scale-up process Kalium has secured new, dedicated offices and laboratories at Allia Cambridge Future Business Campus, providing a platform to grow the business over the next two years, with further investment and expansion planned for 2023. The funding round was led by Cambridge Enterprise, the university’s tech transfer arm, with participation from new and existing investors including Kidney Research UK and Martlet Capital. Kalium, which spun out of the University of Cambridge in 2019, has developed technology to monitor blood potassium levels that it says is so simple that patients themselves can use it.
University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory spin-out lowRISC acquired a Canadian business for an undisclosed sum. It bought Nova Scotia-based NewAE Technology Inc – adding advanced security analysis tools to the OpenTitan Platform. An open source project, OpenTitan enables the larger community to proactively audit, evaluate and dramatically improve the security properties of the chip design. lowRISC is a not-for-profit company with a full stack engineering team based in Cambridge. NewAE Technology is a privately-held designer and manufacturer of broadly accessible silicon security analysis tools. The acquisition brings added momentum to lowRISC, whose OpenTitan project – a collaboration between lowRISC, Google, Western Digital, Seagate and other commercial and academic partners – has created the first transparent, high-quality reference design and integration guidelines for silicon root of trust (RoT) chips.
Mimicrete, a materials technology company from the University of Cambridge, was awarded a competitive Innovate UK Smart Grant for £450k in June and unveiled its maiden commercial pilot with JP Concrete. The JP Concrete project is designed to advance the development of the company’s proprietary self-healing concrete, extending the useful life of new infrastructure and construction projects while greatly reducing unnecessary costs and carbon emissions.
The business has already attracted senior people from McLaren, Microsoft and Arm and is looking to revolutionise the global electric vehicle market. Monumo is an electromagnetic engineering business creating new tools and designs to help build a sustainable future. CEO and co-founder Dominic Vergine, formerly VP of Sustainability at Arm, said the company remained in stealth but he was able to reveal that its immediate focus was “on using DeepTech tools and engineering innovations to generate optimal motor designs in the electric vehicle market.”
Monumo’s mission is to improve how most of the world’s energy is used by optimising electric motors to their fundamental limits. It examines real world problems and applies cutting edge technologies to achieve impact, combining advanced electronic and mechanical engineering expertise with the latest developments in machine learning, neural nets and Artificial Intelligence.
Neuroscience company NRG Therapeutics raised £16m Series A cash and has shifted its base from Cambridge to Stevenage. The round – led by US investor Omega Funds in Boston – is designed to advance disease-modifying oral medicines for debilitating chronic neurodegenerative disorders through IND-enabling studies. The disease areas targeted feature Parkinson’s and motor neurone disease.
The pioneer of end-to-end fast-charging battery systems revealed in July the initial close of a £50m Series B round which will enable the company to enter a stage of manufacturing at scale. The financing takes Nyobolt’s value to £300m. The investment is set to drive Nyobolt’s market entry by establishing its presence and launching the manufacturing of millions of units next year. The Series B is led by German materials power player H.C. Starck Tungsten Powders which will enable Nyobolt’s first materials manufacturing plant in the UK as well as expansion of the US cell engineering facility and the team’s growth across the globe.
Porotech, a global leader in microLED and Gallium Nitride semiconductor technology, launched the world’s first public demonstration of an ‘all-in-one’ full-colour display of microLED pixels. Porotech is pioneering the next generation of displays by using a single microLED diode for all colours, moving away from the constraints of the RGB (red-green-blue) sub-pixel model that underpins all current commercial display technologies. It won the inaugural Materials Technology award at this year’s Business Weekly Awards in September.
A multinational electronics company was among the backers for a landmark $20m Series A round in the company at the start of the year. The money will fast-track mass production of its unique micro-LED products as the company scales like never before in a $140 billion display market. Micro-LED displays will play a vital role in the next generation of TVs, wearables and smartphones.
HealthTech company Psyomics opened up access to its online mental health assessment platform Censeo for the first time to individual users at the start of 2022. Built by psychiatrists, Censeo mirrors the rich process of a face-to-face psychiatric assessment in a digital form. In June 2022, Psyomics closed a £2.4m funding round as it continued to expand access to its online mental health assessment platform to individual users and NHS trusts. The financing was led by Parkwalk, the UK’s most active investor in the university spin-out sector. Jonathan Milner’s Meltwind fund and other investors participated along with new backing from Newable Ventures. Psyomics was spun-out from the University of Cambridge with a mission to develop technology to support earlier and improved mental health diagnosis and treatment management.
Data company Qureight raised £1.5m seed funding early in 2022 to deliver the next generation of its groundbreaking platform and capitalise on its vision to house the world’s largest collection of data from complex diseases. Each Phase III pharmaceutical study in complex diseases can cost £200m-plus. Qureight’s proprietary technology allows scientists to track disease progression and drug response in patients with complex diseases, developing unique digital biomarkers for use in clinical trials. This will significantly reduce the costs of bringing complex, life-saving drugs to market. One of Qureight’s first targets is idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) – a condition in which the lungs become scarred and breathing becomes increasingly difficult. Qureight was named Young Company of the Year at the recent Business Weekly Awards.
Regulatory Genome Development
The University of Cambridge spin-out completed a $6m seed funding round led by Evolution Equity Partners in April. Its vision is to transform the way the world consumes regulatory information. The company provides structured machine-readable regulatory content that is dynamic, granular, and interoperable, all powered by AI-based textual information extraction techniques. This enables regulatory authorities to increase accessibility and dissemination of regulatory information and empowers organisations to deepen their regulatory intelligence and digitise their compliance and risk management processes.
Quantum engineering company Riverlane is at the heart of two related initiatives to troubleshoot problems and advance risk-free adoption worldwide. It head-hunted leading scientist Dr Earl Campbell to accelerate efforts to solve quantum error correction and also joined an influential consortium to build error corrected quantum processor. Riverlane has already partnered with a third of the world’s quantum computing hardware companies and successfully tested Deltaflow.OS with multiple hardware approaches, including trapped ions and superconducting circuits. In June 2022, Innovate UK announced it was pumping an initial £500k funding into a Cambridge-California project to tackle syndrome extraction on superconducting quantum computers. Riverlane and California’s Rigetti – a pioneer in hybrid quantum-classical computing – are partners in the project.
Transatlantic business RKVST, which has bases in Cambridge UK and Santa Clara, wrapped up the first close of a $7.5m Series A round in September. RKVST is an integrity, transparency and trust platform for digital supply chain operations. RKVST powers verifiable digital supply chains for a growing customer base to track, trace and share the provenance of enterprise assets – enabling more resilient operations and accountability for improved decision-making.
The company is set to transform compute with a superchip that will fuel exponential advances in Artificial Intelligence. It recently won $11.5m seed cash from Oxbridge investors.
Salience Labs was spun-out of the University of Oxford and the University of Münster in 2021 to commercialise an ultra high-speed multi-chip processor that packages a photonics chip together with standard electronics. The technology is highly scalable – capable of stacking up to 64 vectors into a beam of light. The seed round was led by Cambridge Innovation Capital and Oxford Science Enterprises. Oxford Investment Consultants, former CEO of Dialog Semiconductor Jalal Bagherli, Yew Lin Goh and Arm-backed Deeptech Labs also participated.
Cambridge aviation CleanTech business SATAVIA and global gamechanger AirCarbon Exchange embarked on an historic partnership, combining world-leading technology with pioneering commodities infrastructure to support trading of carbon credits generated by SATAVIA’s unique contrail prevention technology. Aircraft-generated condensation trails, or contrails, account for up to 60 per cent of aviation’s climate impact – almost double that of direct CO2 emissions from aircraft engines. SATAVIA was named Sustainability Champion at the Business Weekly Awards, shortly after clinching a deal with Dutch airline KLM.
Cambridge University HealthTech spin-out Sano Genetics raised $11m Series A cash in March to accelerate research into Long Covid, MS, Parkinson’s and other chronic conditions. The company was founded in 2017 by three University of Cambridge postgrads studying genomics – Charlotte Guzzo (COO), Patrick Short (CEO) and William Jones (CTO) – and uses technology to solve existing problems with participant recruitment and retention in personalised medicine research. Sano intends to use the money to expand in the US and Europe. It has developed a software platform that connects patients living with rare and chronic conditions, such as Long Covid, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, directly with biotech and pharma companies leading personalised medicine research – a market worth $52.4bn in 2020 and predicted to reach $112.8bn by 2027.
The spin-out from Cambridge University’s Cavendish Laboratory combines materials engineering and cell biology to tackle unmet drug screening needs. It closed a $2.89m seed round in February. The investment was led by Parkwalk Advisors with the University of Cambridge Seed Funds, Martlet Capital and angel backers also contributing. The cash will support the commercial development of Semarion’s SemaCyte® cell assaying platform. It will also enable further expansion of the team as Semarion recruits scientists and engineers and establishes additional research partnerships with biopharma partners for bespoke solutions to cell screening challenges.
Molecular diagnostics innovator Sense Biodetection hired a new CFO in April as it scaled product and ambition. Michael Jones has over 25 years of finance experience across several industries including medical devices, software, global manufacturing, internet and telecoms. The appointment coincided with the company’s initial commercialisation of the Veros™ rapid, instrument-free molecular platform. The CE marked Veros COVID-19 test, the first on the platform, provides healthcare professionals with lab quality, point of care molecular results in about 15 minutes without an auxiliary machine or reader.
Spirea Limited, which was created to advance a new generation of antibody drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, secured £2.4m funding in June. The investment was co-led by Jonathan Milner and Cambridge Enterprise and included backing from US-based R42 Group, ACF Investors, o2h Ventures, Syndicate Room and the Cambridge Angels. Spirea will use the funds to initiate its pipeline of superior and differentiated ADCs in the treatment of solid tumours where there is a high unmet need.
Silicon Valley-based R42 Group and Cambridge Angels led an oversubscribed funding round in Digital postage company Stamp Free Ltd earlier this year. The company is edging closer to the commercial launch of its AI phone-based alternative to traditional mailing and returns. The £600k raised will be used to increase sales & marketing activities to ramp up commercial traction and for further product development.
University of Cambridge spin-out, Tenkys, started 2022 with a $3.4m seed round. The startup’s platform helps machine learning engineers working with computer vision data build more reliable software, faster. Like a ‘doctor for AI’, it helps developers understand what’s wrong with their algorithms, resolve issues, remove bias, boost model performance and enhance data quality.
Transine tripled its footprint at The Babraham Research Campus following £13.7m extended seed financing to accelerate its platform and portfolio development.
Transition Bio wrapped up a $50m Series A round in June with cash from Japanese and US VCs. The microfluidics-driven drug discovery platform company is using biophysical sciences and AI tools to map and modulate biomolecular condensates. The money will accelerate the progress made to date with the company’s novel Condensomics™ platform which utilises microfluidics to drive high-throughput generation of proprietary data to enable machine learning-guided condensate target identification and drug discovery.
In September, Wave Photonics announced it was leading a £500k Innovate UK-funded project to develop packaging solutions for Quantum Photonic Integrated Circuits. The Quantum Photonic Integrated Circuit PACkaging project will develop a template-driven approach to minimise custom development requirements and costs for quantum technology companies.
Xampla, creating natural alternatives to single-use plastic, has made a number of top level hires this year as part of its ongoing scale-up strategy, with the team growing by 95 per cent over the last year. Xampla’s Supramolecular Engineered Protein has created the world’s first plant protein material for commercial use. Its material performs like synthetic polymers but decomposes naturally and fully without harming the environment. In February 2022, Xampla announced a packaging alliance with Britvic and one with Croda International Plc through a £640k project trial of Xampla’s plastic-free seed coatings backed by the UK government and the National Institute of Agricultural Botany.
Zetta Genomics, a pioneer in large-scale genomic data management, recently unveiled its new global HQ in Cambridge. Since its inception at the University of Cambridge, and within the ground-breaking 100,000 Genomes Project, Zetta has built strong customer and partner networks which include Microsoft, Fujitsu, Genomics England and the NHS Genomic Medicine Service.