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4 January, 2016 - 15:15 By Tony Quested

Cell Guidance Systems raises cash to commercialise armour-plated proteins

Gonçalo de Vasconcelos

SyndicateRoom members have invested alongside Dr Steve Chambers to help Cambridge biotech pioneer Cell Guidance Systems fund to 151 per cent of its target.

The company, which raised a total of £378,108, has found a way to extend the shelf life of medicinal proteins by encasing them in ‘crystal armour’. According to Evaluate Pharma, the protein drug market, which was worth $154 billion in 2010, is expected to grow to $234bn by 2018. However, proteins degrade quickly, which has inhibited further growth in the market. Funds from this raise will enable Cell Guidance Systems to scale up manufacturing, accelerate R & D and hire new scientists.

Cell Guidance Systems is developing a patented potential solution: Pods™. This technology provides a novel solution to protein instability by encasing proteins within crystal armour, protecting them while they are slowly released to their target. This is a significant breakthrough, and, to the company’s knowledge, there are no similar technologies in existence or development.

Since raising the funds, Cell Guidance Systems has continued to report record-breaking progress. Sales were up 50 per cent on last year by November 2015 and collaborations with new corporate partners and numerous universities worldwide are now being cemented.

Cell Guidance Systems will be working alongside those partners to conduct research on Parkinson’s disease, spinal injury, wound healing, vaccine delivery and stem cell culture.

The CEO of Cell Guidance Systems is Michael Jones. Before founding Cell Guidance Systems, Jones was COO of Reprocell – a Japanese stem cell company with a current market capitalisation in excess of $250 million. Jones said: “We are very excited to have completed this round of funding and are very encouraged by the strong support shown by many SyndicateRoom investors. 
“We plan to get the company to a position where it will be attractive as an acquisition for one of the larger companies working in the field. But ultimately our motivation is playing a part in developing drugs and therapies that can make a difference to people’s lives, and the families of those people as well.”

The lead investor, Dr Steve Chambers, was a founding partner in Adgen Ltd, which was sold to Nasdaq-listed Neogen Corporation in 2003. In line with SyndicateRoom’s unique, investor-led model, SyndicateRoom members invested at the same share class and price per share as Dr Chambers.

Gonçalo de Vasconcelos (pictured), CEO and co-founder of SyndicateRoom, said: “This is a scientific breakthrough that could significantly improve the effectiveness of certain key drugs. The applications are innumerable, as are the potential benefits for both patients and the healthcare industry as a whole.”

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