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24 September 2012

The North West Fund for Biomedical invests in drug discovery technology

Press Release 24th September 2012

The North West Fund for Biomedical, the £25million fund managed by SPARK Impact, has invested £350,000 into a drug discovery company which could lower the cost of inventing new medicines.

Molplex Ltd has developed automated decision making systems using predictive chemistry and biology software which incorporate critical decisions made by drug development professionals during the early stages of drug discovery and design.

This process means that safer and better quality drugs could be developed at a fraction of the cost and faster than traditional research and development methodology.

The North West Fund for Biomedical is a sub-fund of The North West Fund, which is financed jointly by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank.

The investment from SPARK Impact, managers of The North West Fund for Biomedical, means that Molplex will be able to establish proof of concept with their current platform and complete further updates to the software. It will also enable the company, currently based in Newcastle, to establish a base in the North West.

The funding will be used to progress ten early stage drug projects through laboratory synthesis and testing using Molplex's automated systems.

David Leahy, CEO of Molplex said: "We would like to thank The North West Fund for Biomedical for supporting our transformation into the first of a new class of an ultra-effective drug discovery business.

"Molplex's novel approach to the automation of drug discovery decision making can radically lower the cost of inventing new medicines, while increasing the quality of the new drug candidates. This funding creates an opportunity for us to convert that promise into reality."

Penny Attridge, senior investment director at SPARK Impact and fund manager for The North West Fund for Biomedical said: "We are really excited to be working with David and the team from Molplex and see a bright future for the company."

Northstar Ventures originally invested in Molplex and Richard Exley from Northstar, echoed his support for further funding: "We are pleased to see the expansion of Molplex beyond its original North East base, whilst also growing its operations in the North East with the chief operating officer and co-founder, Vladimir Sykora remaining in the North East office.

"Molplex has potentially disruptive technologies for drug discovery which led to our original investment and the company is now well positioned to move forwards in the market."

Molplex is the 22nd investment for The North West Fund for Biomedical.

Melanie Yeomans, corporate finance partner at Ward Hadaway, led the firm's team advising on the deal. Melanie said: "We are delighted to have assisted SPARK Impact on this investment from The North West Fund.

"Molplex is involved in some truly ground-breaking work which has the potential to make a real difference to the development of vital new drugs and treatment."


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