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27 November 2012

The North West Fund for Biomedical invests £550,000 in personalised smoking cessation product

Press Release 27th November 2012

The developer of a personalised nicotine patch for smokers has received a £550,000 investment from The North West Fund for Biomedical.

TTS Pharma has created a Companion Diagnostic blood test product that allows the company to provide smokers with a tailored dose of nicotine via their unique patch technology to greatly improve the patient's chances of quitting.

The cost saving to healthcare providers by increasing quit rates is significant as is the impact on the health of the patient.

The investment is part of a larger round of funding comprising £260,000 in capital equipment and £130,000 from angel investors and current management, with a potential additional sum from high net worth individuals before the end of the year.

The company is also relocating from Bristol to Liverpool Science Park early next year.

Globally, the smoking cessation market is reportedly worth $2bn, of which nicotine products comprise more than half. Among smokers using nicotine replacement, 52% are said to under-dose, while 11% over-dose and many more suffer severe adverse reactions to medications such as Bupropion or Varenicline.

The North West Fund for Biomedical, managed by SPARK Impact, is a sub-fund of the £155m evergreen North West Fund that is jointly financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank.

Mark Tucker, CEO of TTS Pharma, said: "TTS is all about improving the quality of care at the point of care, providing the right treatment, to the right patient, at the right dose.

"Even the best medicines are not equally effective in all patients, especially when you consider the propensity to administer the wrong dose. Knowing which treatment pathway works best for each quitter in advance empowers clinicians and pharmacists to prescribe more accurately. We can now simultaneously offer both a cheaper and clinically more effective treatment introducing major savings and allowing budgets to be redistributed more fairly.

"We are delighted that The North West Fund for Biomedical has recognised the impact that personalised medicine can bring to patients and providers alike. Their support will help us to secure regulatory approval for the lead product and commercialise it in the UK, Europe and other high growth markets."  

Dr Penny Attridge, Senior Investment Director at SPARK Impact, manager of The North West Fund for Biomedical, said: "As the NHS and healthcare continues to change the way it prescribes and pays for treatment, TTS has a solution which will be in the vanguard of the innovative interventions they must adopt to limit unnecessary overspend and contribute to greater efficiencies.

"CDx patches could have a profound effect on the provision of care in this area and we are excited about what lies ahead."

TTS Pharma is the36th investment to date for The North West Fund for Biomedical.

Henry Talbot-Ponsonby, Managing Partner of Venture Capital Partners, a London and Beijing based corporate finance firm that advised on the transaction, said: "TTS' focus on low cost, high impact biotechnology, which has developed an emerging market appeal, is vital in today's global marketplace and we are pleased that we have been able to attract a highly professional investor, SPARK Impact to this deal."

Ward Hadaway provided legal advice to Spark Impact on the investment with Corporate Finance Partner Melanie Yeomans from the firm's Manchester office leading the team on the transaction.

Melanie said: "We are delighted to have been able to work with Spark Impact on this investment in technology which targets a huge global market. As healthcare spending increasingly focuses on providing personalised treatment, TTS' approach sees it well placed to provide solutions."

Osborne Clarke acted as legal advisors to the company.


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