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5 April, 2017 - 12:18 By Tony Quested

Cambridge investments help drive Touchstone growth

Touchstone Innovations Russ

Touchstone Innovations has leveraged the progress of its Golden Triangle investment portfolio to turn a first-half loss of £5.9 million in 2016 to a pre-tax profit of £16m in the six months to January 31.

Cambridge investments figure large in the success story – chiefly among them Crescendo Biologics – as Touchstone continues to thrive from a base at Babraham Research Campus.

Among its portfolio star turns, Crescendo Biologics signed a collaboration and licence deal with Takeda Pharmaceutical for up to $790m while Circassia signed a $230m collaboration with AstraZeneca – now headquartered in Cambridge.

Touchstone saw its net portfolio value increase by £47.7m to £382.8m; its unquoted portfolio value was up 16 per cent to £340.3m.

Chief executive Russ Cummings said: “Our patient and focused approach to investing for the long-term is now showing real results, with a number of substantial transactions endorsing our model – notably the recent PsiOxus Therapeutics’ and Crescendo Biologics’ collaborations worth potentially $936m and $790m, respectively. 

“More recently, Cell Medica and Pulmocide completed material funding rounds and Circassia agreed a $230m collaboration with AstraZeneca.

“We have a dozen companies of material scale and considerable potential.  Most of our larger and maturing unlisted companies made significant progress and are approaching key inflexion points. We have great depth to our portfolio, with another 20 portfolio companies or so making significant progress and showing rapid development.

“This not only reflects the fruits of 10 years of investment, but also the more recent acceleration of capital deployment, with 63 per cent of all funds invested by Innovations being made within the last three and a half years. The vast majority of this capital has gone into existing portfolio companies that we know well.

“We are actively involved in discussions about partnerships, licensing and other corporate developments across a number of our larger unlisted portfolio companies.”

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Russ Cummings

Kiss Communications

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