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3 June, 2019 - 10:49 By Tony Quested

Stem cell star Qkine raises fresh capital to underpin growth push

Andy Richards Qkine

Qkine, a specialist manufacturer of proteins for stem cell, organoid and regenerative medicine applications has closed a £550k top-up round of investment and has taken a new HQ at Cambridge Science Park.

The funding round was led by Cambridge Enterprise and five angel investors – all of whom followed initial seed investments made in April 2018.  

Joining the original investors is biotech entrepreneur and founder member of the Cambridge Angels, Dr Andy Richards.

Stem cells are revolutionising medicine by enabling new approaches for disease modelling, precision medicine and development of new therapeutics. University of Cambridge spin-out, Qkine, uses proprietary technologies and protein engineering techniques to produce exceptionally high purity growth factors and cytokines. 

Qkine’s technologies enable it to solve scientific challenges such as structural heterogeneity, poor stability and solubility and spurious interactions with other biomolecules, and provide more reliable tools for research and bio-manufacturing.

The investment enables Qkine to establish its UK manufacturing base at Cambridge Science Park, fuel the expansion of its research team and further develop its active R & D pipeline.

Jim Warwick, angel investor and chairman of Qkine said: “Following my initial investment in Qkine was a no-brainer - its growth factors are developed from a genuinely differentiating technology, the market for these reagents is growing rapidly and the company’s founders have great, complementary skill sets.”

Dr Richards added: “CEO Catherine Elton and team have done a great job at Qkine. I am excited to join their investors in this round as they move to their new facility, scale up their team, extend their R & D pipeline and expand their commercial ambitions. 

“The need for quality and reproducibility in stem cell biology and exciting new areas such as organoids is driving a growing market that Qkine is uniquely positioned to satisfy.”

Qkine welcomes Dr Christine Martin, Investment Manager (Life Sciences), Cambridge Enterprise to the board. She said: “Cambridge Enterprise is pleased to support Qkine as it takes its next steps. The need for high quality cytokines and growth factors continues to expand, and Qkine is poised to meet the demand with a catalogue of products to support research into stem cell, organoid and regenerative medicine applications.”

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