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27 January, 2016 - 14:13 By Tony Quested

Axol raises the bar to potential £1m target

Jonathan Milner

Axol Bioscience has raised £600,000 in four weeks on Cambridge equity crowdfunding platform SyndicateRoom and is now overfunding to a maximum of £1 million. 

The Cambridge UK medical technology business is raising the cash to dramatically accelerate revenue growth and international expansion, as well as to support further product development.

The successful crowdfunding round includes a £400,000 investment from Dr Jonathan Milner, the founder of Abcam and Axol’s chairman. Dr Milner is a highly experienced investor having previously invested over £11m in more than 30 companies, with exits including Horizon Discovery, Frontier Developments, Curidium and Phonetic Arts. The returns from his previous investments have already covered the cost of his portfolio, plus a 60 per cent return.

Axol provides access to human cells and related materials (critical reagents) in order to help its customers quickly and effectively advance their research. The Nobel Prize winning IP behind the company will help reduce the need for animal testing, by producing highly validated human cells and critical reagents, such as media and growth supplements. It is already generating significant revenue, which is highly unusual for such a young biotech company.

Dr Milner (pictured above) said: “I'm really excited by what the future will hold for Axol, due to the colossal market opportunity we're addressing and how well Dr Yichen Shi and his team have been delivering our plans. As such, I increased my investment in this round from £200,000 to £400,000, and I am delighted that the company has already hit its £600,000 target.”

New investors now have the chance to take part in Axol’s overfunding round.

Axol’s expertise includes reprogramming donor cells, such as skin or blood cells, into different cell types - including stem cells, nervous system and cardiovascular cell types. These cell cultures are used to develop human cellular disease models for studying disease and drug mechanisms, such as the role of specific mutations, as well as being used to predict chemical toxicity during drug development.

Axol Bioscience has already secured a roster of clients that includes Janssen, Pfizer, Lilly and Nestle, along with Harvard University, Kings College London, the University of Oxford and Aston University.

Cell biology research is rapidly changing, with researchers requiring a constant supply of cell types and genetic backgrounds. This means that Axol's quick access to human cell types of specific genetic background is increasingly essential for R & D. The global cell-based market is predicted to be worth over $1.8 billion by 2020.

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