Calculus Capital invests £2.5m in Axol Bioscience
Private equity firm Calculus Capital, a leading EIS and VCT investor, has invested £2.5 million in Cambridge-based Axol Bioscience – a provider of stem cells produced from reprogrammed human blood and tissue cells.
Axol supplies high quality human cells – especially live human neurons – created by stem cell technology to many of the world’s biggest and best-known pharma companies and research institutions. These cells are used for medical research, disease modelling and drug development.
Axol’s client list includes global pharma and biotechs as well as leading academic institutes such as Harvard University, King’s College London, and Oxford and Cambridge Universities. The company generates stem cells from blood and tissue cells extracted from healthy and diseased patients. These cells are able to self-renew and may be used to become any tissue in the human body.
Importantly, Axol’s innovative approach to this process means that each cell line it produces for customers will be identical to the last production batch, ensuring the quality and the consistency required for research and drug development projects.
Once a new cell line is developed from a healthy or diseased individual, it is added to Axol’s suite of ‘off the shelf’ products which can be bought via its website. The combination of these properties means the stem cells supplied by Axol are hugely important for research into treatments for many serious illnesses and diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s.
Alexandra Lindsay of Calculus Capital, said: “Axol Bioscience is doing very important work; its products and services – stem cells and the culture systems required to maintain them – are essential to gene-based medical research.
“Our investment will enable Axol to grow and develop more product lines that are able to make a real and effective contribution to medical research efforts to combat killer diseases.”
Axol was founded in 2012 by its chairman – serial entrepreneur Jonathan Milner – and CEO Yichen Shi. Dr Shi said: “The market for our products is growing rapidly all around the world and the funding from Calculus will help us to make the most of that opportunity through new product development and increasing our sales and marketing capabilities.”
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Dr Yichen Shi