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18 July 2013

Spinout Company secures £850,000 to develop vaccines against infection

Press Release 18th July 2013

A COMPANY working to develop vaccines and antibodies to treat bacterial infections has secured a £850,000 investment.

Absynth Biologics Limited, a UK biotechnology spinout company from the University of Sheffield, has secured £400,000 from The North West Fund for Biomedical, managed by SPARK Impact as well as £450,000 from Fusion IP plc, the university commercialisation company.

The North West Fund for Biomedical is part of the wider £155m North West Fund, financed jointly by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank.

With bacterial infections a major cause of death worldwide, Absynth's lead programme focuses on infections caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus including its more difficult-to-treat drug-resistant form, methicillin-resistant S.aureus (MRSA).

Absynth's novel antigens offer broad potential against a range of bacterial infections and form the basis of the company's pipeline that includes vaccines to prevent Clostridium difficile (C.diff) and Streptococcus pyogenes infections. 

Absynth will use the investment to advance the Staphylococcus aureus programme to key pre-clinical milestones. The investment will also complement funding secured from the Biomedical Catalyst - a funding stream administered by the UK's innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), to further develop Absynth's product pipeline. This brings the total awarded to Absynth since 2012 to £175,000 in two grants from the TSB.

Fiona Marston, chief executive of Absynth Biologics which is based in Sheffield, said: "I am delighted to have the support of our new investor The North West Fund for Biomedical and the ongoing support of our existing shareholder Fusion IP. This investment will fund exciting stages of development for Absynth's S. aureus vaccine and pipeline R&D programmes."

Peter Grant, operations director for Fusion IP and Absynth's chairman said: "We very much look forward to developing Absynth with our new investor, the North West Fund for Biomedical, to create a very exciting range of products in infectious diseases. The Absynth team are highly motivated and complemented by industry specific non-executive directors, all of whom work together against the very concerning threat of drug resistant bacteria."

Dr Penny Attridge, senior investment director at SPARK Impact and manager of The North West Fund for Biomedical, said: "We hope that this funding will help Absynth Biologics to continue to excel and further develop its products to make a real difference in targeting infectious diseases. We're delighted to make this investment into such a forward thinking company which is clearly passionate about combatting infectious diseases."

DWF Solicitors advised SPARK Impact on the deal whilst Andrea Cropley from Irwin Mitchell acted on behalf of Fusion IP and Robert Matthews of Keystone Law acted on behalf of Absynth Biologics.

Absynth Biologics is The North West Fund for Biomedical's 61st investment to date and the 41st company to be supported by the Fund.


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