Colworth Park based nanotechnology business, MIP Diagnostics, has completed a £5.1m funding round to accelerate its global expansion. The co-investment has come from Mercia Asset Management, a founding investor and the largest shareholder in the company, and was led by Downing Ventures (£1.4m), BGF (£2m) and Calculus Capital.
MIP Diagnostics has developed a proprietary process for the manufacture of synthetic polymer alternatives to antibodies, known as Molecularly Imprinted Polymers (MIPs) and nanoMIPs The company develops and manufactures synthetic affinity reagents – small molecules that are designed to bind to specific target molecules for detection, purification or extraction purposes.
The robust nature of the MIPs allows for a range of applications including point-of-care diagnostics, clinical and non-clinical in-vitro diagnostics (IVD), healthcare and bioprocessing. MIPs are also well suited to enhance sensor detection in a wide range of applications. Given their synthetic nature, MIPs can withstand harsh chemical environments such as extremes of pH, seawater, or high concentrations of organic solvents. In addition, MIPs are temperature resistant and have a very long shelf life at room temperature, making them ideal when the cold chain cannot be guaranteed.
The global market for antibodies and antibody alternatives is growing rapidly (value is c.£85bn) and has been accelerated by the current COVID19 pandemic, creating a sizeable demand for MIP Diagnostics to apply its innovative approach and depth of expertise within the IVD and life sciences industry.
Initially supported via Mercia’s EIS managed funds, MIP Diagnostics was originally founded in 2015 as a spin out from the University of Leicester Chemistry Department to commercialise the ground-breaking advancements in nano MIP technology from Prof. Piletsky’s research team. Since then, the company has experienced rapid growth, having now also secured a number of development contracts to licence the company’s technology for commercial use. The fundraise will support the business as it continues to build its in-house R&D team as well as invest in commercial resource and scaling-up of manufacturing capacity.
Stephane Argivier, CEO, said: “We are delighted to be bringing such high-profile investors on board, who share our ambitious growth plans for the business. This significant investment is a strong endorsement of the MIPs technology, it will enable us to scale our operations and take the business to the next level. MIPs offer many advantages and provide solutions to enable new applications that push the limit of what was previously possible. This investment will enable us to rapidly expand our operations to service these opportunities and bring exciting new products to the market.”
Jim Reid, Chairman, said: “Achieving this investment is an endorsement of the world class team that has been assembled at MIP Diagnostics and signals strong support for the technology and an important step for the business as it moves into the next phase of growth. MIP continues to expand in several areas and the investment will strengthen our capabilities to respond to the growing demand.”
Will Brooks, Investment Director at Downing Ventures said: “We quickly identified the value and advantages that MIP’s could bring to expand diagnostics and measuring both in the healthcare and other industries. Along with the rest of the syndicate we believe that this technology and the strong and experienced management team can lead MIP Diagnostics to become a leading UK technology company.”
James Syrotiuk, an investor at BGF, said: “The rapidly scaling diagnostics industry represents a real opportunity for the UK to become a global leader and is an area where BGF can support exciting businesses that are working on the development of advanced technologies that will ultimately improve healthcare through innovation. We recognise the unique scientific underpinning to MIP Diagnostics’ capabilities and are delighted to partner with the business and support the management team in realising their growth ambitions.”
Mark Payton, CEO Mercia Asset Management, said: “In our last financial year we have made significant investment into regional businesses in the UK making us a dominant provider of capital in the regions. As in keeping with our model, we were the founding investor into MIPs and have actively supported the business with our managed fund capital. Five years from our initial investment, we are pleased to be part of a meaningful syndication to scale the business toward disrupting an attractive and growing market currently served by costly antibodies with inherent limitations which we believe MIPs has a robust alternative approach.”