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27 September, 2010 - 20:42 By Tony Quested

Horizon closes £6.25m Series C financing


Horizon Discovery, the translational genomics and personalised medicine pioneer, has closed a £6.25m Series C financing led by top-tier European venture capital firm DFJ Esprit.

The Cambridge company is also believed to be close to completing a significant, strategic acquisition within the Life Sciences cluster, Business Weekly can reveal.Horizon has also further strengthened its world-class board by recruiting  two Life Science industry stalwarts –  Nigel Pitchford and David Evans.The new funds will enable Horizon to further improve its core GENESIS™ and X-MAN™ technology platforms, address new markets, and begin to target therapeutics markets outside of its historical cancer-focus. Horizon’s third round of financing was also subscribed to by past investors Roche Venture Fund, Dr Jonathan Milner – chief executive of antibodies supernova Abcam – and David Evans.The latest fundraising success caps an incredible surge by Horizon, Business Weekly’s reigning ‘Killer Technologies’ champion.Its cash haul to date represents 30X post-money since it gained seed investment in the spring of 2008; that equates to a current post-money tally of £24m. I also believe Horizon is closing in on a key acquisition in the cell biology sphere, although it declines to comment.Nor will it confirm or deny Business Weekly’s judgement call that Horizon will float on the London Stock Exchange in 2012-13 – but smart investors are hereby advised to form an orderly queue.Horizon’s mission is to provide its customers with cutting-edge biological tools and services that will accelerate the pace of development of ‘stratified’ or ‘personalised’ medicines. The company has grown significantly since its seed funding round in March 2008 and has received numerous innovation and business awards including Business Weekly’s accolade in March and the UK’s inaugural iAward.  Dr Darrin Disley, executive chairman of Horizon said: “Historically, Horizon has adopted a leveraged business model fuelled by modest investment and organic growth. “This model has served us well and enabled the company to grow 300 per cent and generate £2.1m revenues and £8m in orders in the 12 months to the end of Q3 2010. “We welcome DFJ Esprit as a new investor and are very pleased to have such strong support from our current investors. This support recognises the progress made to date and the quality of the Horizon team.”New investment director, Dr Nigel Pitchford, partner at DFJ Esprit and formerly with 3i Cambridge added: “Horizon’s unique platform technology presents a great opportunity to grow a substantial multi-faceted life science business. “Commercial progress to date has been eye-opening, and we expect that with this investment round the company will accelerate even further. We look forward to working with this entrepreneurial team to deliver that potential.”Dr Pitchford previously led 3i’s venture team’s healthcare activities across Europe and the US. He was responsible for leading deals such as Domantis, Apatech and Arakis, and in working closely with the management teams to create and realize significant value. New non-executive director, David Evans, is chairman of Immunodiagnostics Systems and has considerable expertise within the diagnostic industry. As FD, he was a key member of the team that floated Shield Diagnostics Group plc in 1993, and was the CEO responsible for the merger of Shield Diagnostics Group plc with Axis Biochemicals ASA of Norway in 1999 to create Axis-Shield Plc. He is currently involved in a non-executive capacity with several other companies. • PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Dr Darrin Disley, executive chairman of Horizon (right)

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