Newcastle-based human stem cell model specialists, Newcells Biotech, have secured a total of £5.25m worth of funding to accelerate their growth plans in the international life sciences market.
The funding comes from two existing backers. Mercia has invested from its Northern Venture Capital Trust (VCT) and EIS funds and the North East Venture Fund (NEVF), which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF); while NorthStar Ventures invested from the North East Innovation Fund, which is also supported by the ERDF. This funding round will help Newcells Biotech expand their growth in 3D tissue modelling for drug discovery.
The investment will be used to spearhead the biotech company’s international expansion in the USA, growing their existing commercial operations and launching innovative new products. This second major investment means the company has received a total of £10m of non-dilutive and equity funding over the last 5 years.
Newcells Biotech is a commercial stage life science company exploiting its proprietary technology in stem cells (iPSC) and cell biology to build models of human tissues. This pioneering modelling technology improves the ability to generate data on the safety, efficacy, and pharmacology of drugs prior to human trials. The seven-figure investment will accelerate the development of models for liver and lung conditions, the latter of which could advance the research into SARS-CoV-2 and its treatments. The investment will also be used to fast track the commercialisation and launch of their kidney and retina treatment models in its major North American market.
Commenting on their recent investment success, CEO Dr Mike Nicholds said, “Over the last two years Newcells has made great progress in bringing innovative products and services to market that have delivered value to our global pharmaceutical customers. Whether it be in understanding how new drugs interact with the kidney or the retina, our scientists have produced data that has helped lower the risk of early drug discovery projects. The input and support of Mercia and NorthStar has been invaluable in driving forward the business. Our vision is to bring the best in vitro biology to market, improving the productivity of drug discovery and development.”
Tim Levett, Mercia Asset Management, said, “Since our first investment the team at Newcells have made great strides forward both in the development of new organoids and in winning contracts with major global pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Our substantial investment will fund the resources that will enable Newcells to accelerate growth and become a global market leader in four high growth areas.”
Alex Buchan, Investment Director, NorthStar Ventures, said, “We’re delighted to continue to support Newcells with developing their cutting-edge products and services. We’ve been impressed with the vision and drive of the team and look forward to the continuing expansion and scale up of this vital work.”