Alderley Park Ventures, the investment fund created in late 2014 and managed by BioCity, has announced its first investment -...

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Sally Hannam (Director of Science) , Paul Holme (Director of Operations), Elizabeth Thomas (CEO), Claire Brown (Alderley Park Ventures), Claire Ayre (Director of Projects)

Alderley Park Ventures makes first investment

Alderley Park Ventures, the investment fund created in late 2014 and managed by BioCity, has announced its first investment - a £200,000 equity investment into Alderley Analytical.  

The investment was made together with The North West Fund for Biomedical, managed by SPARK Impact, who also invested a further £100,000.

The £5 million fund was created in December 2014 to make equity investments, typically between £50,000 and £500,000, in life science companies based at BioHub on the Alderley Park site, Cheshire.

Alderley Analytical provides bioanalytical services to support the development of small and large molecule therapeutics, generics and biomarkers in all stages of the drug development process, from discovery to post launch marketing (including bioavailability and bioequivalence studies).

Speaking at the fund’s launch, BioCity chairman Dr Louis Nisbet advised that;

“It is likely that many of the investments will be made in businesses with which the BioCity team and our advisors have worked closely, or are well known through the BioHub. Life sciences companies relocating to the area will also be considered.”

That has been borne out by this first investment. Alderley Analytical is a “cornerstone” tenant at BioHub and was also one of the first companies to access Biocity's business support programmes.

BioCity designed this model to provide a stronger basis for investment decisions. Net proceeds from investments will be returned to the fund to be used for further investments, thus creating an “evergreen” environment.

Claire Brown, Investment manager of Alderley Park Ventures said;

“This is our first investment from the fund and also the first round of investment for Alderley Analytical, (so we are talking about true seed funding). In just two short years, the company has been able to achieve GCP & GLP Accreditation and gain MHRA approval. In addition it has grown its analytical capability with state of the art technology while building a pipeline of clients and collaborators from across the world.”

“This sector has seen significant consolidation in recent years, leaving a gap for a flexible group that can offer high quality bioanalysis support together with outstanding customer service. Alderley Analytical is perfectly positioned to serve this niche.”

David Grimm, investment manager at SPARK Impact, which also has a base at the BioHub, said: 

“Alderley Analytical shows great promise and the team has a really solid background in pharmaceuticals making them ideally placed to exploit a gap in the market. We’re delighted to invest in the business and look forward to seeing it progress.”

The management team of Alderley Analytical comprises highly experienced individuals with a combined total of over 100 years in the industry and significant experience in Contract Research Organizations (performing Bioanalytical services) or in Large Pharma, managing external outsourcing of such contracts. Several contracts have already been secured with mid-size Pharma companies.

Whilst multiple companies exist offering Bioanalytical services, for the majority, Bioanalysis is often conducted in conjunction with other services (eg clinical trials conduct) or supports non GLP/GCP Preclinical studies.  Alderley Analytical is one of a niche group of bioanalysis companies that aim solely to provide bioanalysis support with bespoke customer service. 

While the company is also able to support analysis of lower value pre-clinical samples, the GCP & GLP accreditation allows them to tender for, and secure, higher value clinical trials analysis.

Liz Thomas, CEO of Alderley Analytical said;

“We are delighted to receive this investment from APV and SPARK Impact and it presents Alderley Analytical with some real opportunities to grow. It will allow us to increase our marketing and business development activities and grow our customer base.

“In addition, we can also recruit new staff, purchase a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), lease additional state of the art LC-MS/MS equipment and increase our service offerings – all of these being essential to provide our customers with a first class service and to support the bioanalysis from large clinical trials.”

BioCity specialises in the creation and development of life science businesses. In addition to its business creation work, it provides homes and access to high-end equipment, shared services, training, business support and access to investment for new and growing bioscience businesses. In the North West region, it is understood that there are several clinical Phase 1 units that have indicated the benefit of having local service providers for rapid turnaround of analysis - reflecting the power and potential of the clustering model of BioCity in place at BioHub.

Dr Glenn Crocker, CEO of BioCity concludes;

“This is part of our holistic approach to fostering the creation and development of the next generation of world-class companies. We are all striving to create the right environment for our companies to have the strongest chance of success and funding plays a major role in that. With this approach we can make a major contribution to the life sciences sector – the jewel in the UK economic crown.”

200 companies are based in a BioCity business incubator across four UK sites, making the BioCity network one of the largest concentrations of life science businesses in the UK. The 91% survival rate of companies at the most established site, BioCity in Nottingham, tangibly demonstrates a key benefit to a company of being located within the BioCity network. The funding available at BioHub will only add to this.

In 2012, BioCity established BioCity Scotland, near Glasgow and in 2013 BioHub at Alderley Park and later MediCity on the Alliance Boots campus in Nottingham. BioCity Nottingham was established in 2012.


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