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Capital Cell opens to UK investors


Investing in the UK’s innovative life sciences and biotech sector just became more accessible to a wide spectrum of investors, with the launch Capital Cell, Europe’s first dedicated Life Sciences crowdfunding platform.

Capital Cell has formally ‘opened to investors’ with the first four investment opportunities now live on the platform. These opportunities include a company developing alternatives to antibiotics and an equine health company.
Capital Cell works with companies whose technology is based on biology or healthcare to secure the investment they need to progress their innovative, potentially life-changing ideas. Capital Cell’s model is to support early stage companies, with seed stage investment up to GBP1 million sought through the platform.
Founded in Spain in 2014, Capital Cell is already building a track-record in raising investment to progress promising medical inventions and secure a return to investors. This expansion into the UK market sees Capital Cell establish a presence in the leading biotech market in Europe. The Company is backed in its expansion by a number of leading UK life sciences innovators and investors, including: Dr Harren Jhoti, founder and CEO of Astex Pharmaceuticals; the life sciences angel investor David Ford; Adrian Parton, MBE, of Boundary Capital and serial life sciences entrepreneurs Sunil and Prashant Shah of O2h Ventures. Dr Ian Tomlinson – founder of Domantis, sold to GSK and now supporting a number of innovative life sciences companies as Chairman and board member, including Stevenage BioScience Catalyst and Apollo Therapeutics – is also an investor and has been appointed as Chairman of the Board.
Tomlinson says: “Having spent my career in life sciences, the opportunity to become a part of the next wave of funding for the sector is very exciting. UK innovation is amongst the best in the world: with the support Capital Cell seeks to provide for early stage companies, start-ups and spin-outs can look to the future with confidence. Capital Cell, and crowdfunding more generally, provides an answer to a funding gap which has been becoming more obvious for some time. Following its successful start to life in Spain, Capital Cell is well set for success in the UK.”
The launch of Capital Cell comes at a time when the UK has recognised the substantial strengths and opportunities in its GBP64 billion life sciences sector – the industry launched an independent sector-led Life Sciences Industrial Strategy Review at the end of August, which will inform the basis of UK Government work with the sector towards a sector deal in the coming months.
Funding for early stage projects is crucial to support the next generation of therapies, devices, and treatments, but with public market money turning to ever later stage companies, sources of funding to progress early stage innovations can be limited. This shortage will be exacerbated for UK companies by the loss of access to the European Investment Fund (EIF), as a result of Brexit. The need for capital investment into life sciences companies – both early stage and longer term, is the subject of the Treasury’s Patient Capital Review, which is open to consultation until 22 September. Patient capital supports small firms to grow into large, world-leading businesses.
Capital Cell has a unique evaluation model. Companies looking to raise investment through the platform are analysed in-house and through its BioExpert Network. These BioExperts are PhD level scientists, IP lawyers, investment consultants and industry professionals. In return for their opinion on companies, the BioExperts receive tokens to invest into a company of their choice. Companies must also secure a lead investor as part of the process.
“Investing in private life sciences companies has traditionally only been available to highly sophisticated investors with significant technical expertise and large sums to invest. Whilst investing in early stage companies will always involve significant risks, Capital Cell’s unique screening process and new investment platform opens up opportunities to everyone. If the companies are successful in achieving their goals the financial rewards for investors can be significant and the social impact can affect the lives of millions,” says Dr Laura Ferguson, UK Director. Dr Ferguson has been appointed to drive Capital Cell’s UK expansion.

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