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Proton Partners Secures Newport Site

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Published 3rd July 2015.

Proton Partners International has secured a site in Newport for the location of its first high energy proton beam therapy cancer treatment centre.

In April 2015, Proton Partners International secured £100m in equity finance with Sir Chris Evans and Arthurian Life Science investing in the newly formed company through the Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund, established by the Welsh Government.

The facility will be located at the Celtic Springs Business Park. Renovation of the site will begin next week and the centre is due to be operational next year.

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The Newport centre will be the first of three planned proton beam therapy sites in the UK. The others will be in Northumberland and London with additional sites identified in Liverpool and Birmingham.

In April 2015, Proton Partners International secured £100m in equity finance with Sir Chris Evans and Arthurian Life Science investing in the newly formed company through the Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund, established by the Welsh Government.

Mike Moran, chief executive officer of Proton Partners International, said: “We are delighted to have completed the acquisition of the site and work will begin immediately.

“We are working very closely with the Welsh Government and the Wales Life Sciences Fund to create what will be a step change in cancer treatment in the UK.”

Proton has appointed the company Ion Beam Applications to install its single-room proton therapy system at the facility, while Philips has been appointed to supply software and technology tools as well as a CT scanner.

Sphere to relocate to Wales after £13m fundraising round

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Published by Sion Barry, 22nd April 2015

Arthurian Life Sciences, chaired by Professor Sir Chris Evans, led on the fundraising for AIM-listed Sphere Medical

 

A Cambridge medical devices firm, which is close to full scale commercial production of its innovate blood gas measuring technology, is moving its manufacturing and HQ to Wales after a successful £13.2m new equity fundraising round.

Arthurian Life Sciences, chaired by Professor Sir Chris Evans and which manages on a discretionary basis the Welsh Government’s Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund, led on the funding raising for AIM-listed Sphere Medical.

The fund now has a 18% stake in Sphere following its £4m investment.

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As a condition of the deal, Sphere Medical has agreed to move its manufacturing operations to Wales in line with the planned scale-up of its operations.

It will have a HQ at Cardiff Bay’s Wales Life Sciences Hub. It is currently assessing a number of locations for its manufacturing base around Cardiff and Pencoed.

When operation next year the Sphere’s production facility will employs 30 highly skilled staff. The firm will maintain a laboratory presence in Cambridge.

Sphere Medical’s lead product, Proxima, addresses the unmet market need for frequent blood gas measurements for clinically unstable patients.

The global market potential of its Proxima product when sold worldwide is in excess of US $200m per annum.

It is envisaged that overtime it will scale up production to one million units annually in Wales, with many of the components as possible sourced through the Welsh supply chain.

Sir Chris said: “Wales is a world leader in life sciences and advanced manufacturing. High growth companies are increasingly attracted to scaling up here in an environment where the required skills, resource and financial support are available in abundance.

“We see this from UK and US companies looking to set up shop in Wales to target the European market, or European companies looking for the talent and resource to expand into the next phase of growth.

“The fundaising is the latest in a number of significant advances made by Sphere Medical.”

Sir Chris said that Arthurian currently has a number of “imminent” investment deals, which would see a three further life sciences firms relocating to Wales.

He is also working with the Welsh Government on restructuring and enlarging the Wales Life Sciences Fund, of which £50m has been committed by the Welsh Government, to potentially as much as £300m – with a number of London-based institutional investors understood to be keen to commit funding.

Sir Chris said: “There are other funders looking to pile in, but Wales has to continue to be bold and brave and build on the brilliant momentum we have created in life sciences over the last few years.”

However, it is understood that private sector commitment to backing any enlarged fund only has a small window of opportunity and would have to be concluded by the summer.

 

First proton beam centres in the UK get £10m equity injection from the Welsh Government

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Posted 6 April 2015 by Sion Barry.

Professor Sir Chris Evans

Professor Sir Chris Evans

The first proton beam centre in the UK will open in Newport next year after the company behind it, Proton Partners International, raised £100m.

The company behind the UK first’s cancer treating proton beam centres in the UK is being supported with £10m equity backing from the Welsh Government.

Cardiff-based start-up venture Proton Partners International will initially be located at the Life Sciences Hub in Cardiff Bay. It has raised £100m to build three proton beam centres in the UK.

The first centre, which will also pioneer other cancer therapies and clinics, will be based at Celtic Springs business park in Newport.

It will open in the summer of next year. The other two in the first wave of centres will be in Northumberland and London, which will be operational by 2017.

US technicians in proton beam technology will be in Wales to provide training ahead of the centre’s opening.

As well as treating private patients the centres will also treat NHS patients. The NHS spends at least £100,000 per patient transferred overseas for proton beam treatment.

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Biggest investment yet

The investment into Proton Partners includes the biggest investment to date from the Welsh Government’s Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund.

The £50m fund, which is seeking match funding to take it to at least £100m, is managed on a discretionary basis by the Arthurian Life Sciences, which is chaired by Port Talbot-born serial investor and entrepreneur in the life sciences sector Sir Chris Evans.

Sir Chris is also deputy chair of Proton Partners International. Arthurian put the project together and led the successful fundraising round.

Sir Chris said: “We are delighted that the UK’s first centre will be based in Cardiff. The Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund is proud to support this breakthrough. There are more than 150,000 people treated for cancer each year in the UK and the demand for treatment is growing.

It is anticipated that NHS demand for proton beam therapy abroad will reach 1,500 patients by 2017. Proton Partners will be able to play a leading part in helping meet demand in the UK as of next year.”

The NHS first’s proton two proton team centres will not open until 2018.

In addition to state of the art proton beam services the Newport centre will provide conventional radiotherapy, chemotherapy and supportive care. This could then be offered through other centres.

Next phases

Sir Chris said: “Arthurian put this project together very rapidly and people very quickly grasped what we were talking about. It is a very good model. We have also received fantastic support from Business Minister Edwina Hart.

After the first three centres will be looking at a further 3-4 in the UK and a similar number overseas over the next few years. We are already looking at another big funding round before looking to float the business, which will provide more capital to invest in the business.”

The technology

Proton beam therapy is a highly-targeted type of radiotherapy that can treat hard-to-reach cancers, such as spinal tumours, with a lower risk of damaging the surrounding tissue and causing side effects.

As well as the Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund other backers in the funding round include world leading investor in the biotech sector Neil Woodford – who is also understood to be interested in backing a larger Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund.

Sir Chris said the first centre in Newport, a former endoscopy site, was chosen due to its close proximity to the M4, so providing easy access to staff and patients from across South Wales and the west of England

He added: “It is conveniently located close to Velindre and the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, as well as to serving the south-west of England. We are already on site for what is a hugely exciting project for Wales.”

Cancer Treatment Breakthrough – Proton Beam Therapy Centres Launched

 

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By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: April 04, 2015

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The UK is to get its first three Proton Beam Therapy centres, marking a significant breakthrough in the provision of cancer treatment.

Cardiff-based Proton Partners International Ltd is to open the treatment centres in Cardiff, London and Northumberland by 2017 and the first, Cardiff, will be operational next year

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The centres will be available for NHS patients from England, Scotland and Wales, medically-insured private patients and self-paying patients.

Proton Partners International has been formed following discussions between Professor Sir Chris Evans, the leading life sciences entrepreneur, and leading UK life sciences and healthcare investors on addressing cancer treatment in the UK. Institutional and private investors have committed to almost £100m equity finance in the company.

Investors back £100m plan for UK proton-beam cancer centres

4th April 2015  Andrew Ward, Pharmaceuticals Correspondent

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Two of Britain’s best-known life-science investors are backing a £100m plan to build three proton-beam cancer treatment centres in the UK, a year before the National Health Service is scheduled to adopt the technology.

The scheme is led by Sir Chris Evans, a biotech entrepreneur, with support from Neil Woodford, the fund manager and long-time enthusiast for life sciences.

 

 

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Clinics would be opened in Cardiff, London and Newcastle by 2017, offering proton-beam therapy — a highly targeted form of radiotherapy — to treat hard-to-reach cancers. The technology made headlines last year when five-year-old Ashya King was removed from hospital by his parents against medical advice and taken to Prague to have a brain tumour treated with proton beams. Last month, the couple said their son was free of cancer.

The case highlighted the absence of such technology in the UK and the growing demand from patients because of its potential to destroy cancer cells with less damage to surrounding tissue and organs than traditional radiotherapy.
Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, announced last month that proton-beam therapy would be introduced at centres in London and Manchester in 2018.

Sir Chris plans to have his company’s first clinic open in Cardiff as early as next year. He told the Financial Times that Proton Partners International had received commitments of almost £100m from investors, including Mr Woodford. Others include the Welsh Life Sciences Fund, set up by the Welsh government to support biotech investment in Wales and managed by Sir Chris. It will put in £10m.

Sir Chris predicted strong demand from private patients and “health tourists” travelling from countries without the technology, but said he wanted the clinics to be open to NHS patients as well.

The NHS spends tens of millions of pounds a year sending hundreds of patients for treatment at proton-beam centres overseas, mainly in the US, with costs often above £100,000 per person.
Proton Partners would be able to “save the NHS a lot of money” and spare patients and their families a trip abroad, said Sir Chris.

His plan could face obstacles depending on who wins next month’s general election. Ed Miliband announced plans this week to cap the profits available to private providers to the NHS.

Sir Chris, the son of a Port Talbot steelworker, who has lent money to the Labour party in the past, said Proton Partners would work with any government to find ways of making its treatment available to NHS patients.

“I love the NHS,” he said. “It is a fantastic British institution, but there is a limit to what it can do.
“They are going to end up with a lot of patients who will want proton-beam therapy and they will not be able to meet demand through their own centres.”

Sir Chris cited estimates that demand for proton-beam therapy in the NHS could reach 1,500 patients a year in the next two years, implying a cost of more than £170m from sending people overseas.

In the longer term, he said research suggested that 10 to 15 per cent of all cancer radiotherapy would involve the technique.

At current levels, that would mean at least 15,000 patients receiving the treatment. But Sir Chris said the figure would be higher because of rising incidence of cancer and potential use of proton-beam therapy in a wider range of cancers.

Proton Partners will be chaired by Gordon McVie, senior consultant at the European Institute of Oncology. The chief medical adviser will be Karol Sikora, former head of the World Health Organisation cancer programme.

Sir Chris made a fortune from founding and selling a series of biotech companies and now invests in the sector through his Arthurian fund management company.

CANCER TREATMENT MILESTONE AS PLANS ARE UNVEILED

CANCER TREATMENT MILESTONE AS PLANS ARE UNVEILED FOR UK’S FIRST PROTON BEAM THERAPY CENTRES

April 5th 2015 : The UK is to get its first three Proton Beam Therapy centres, marking a significant breakthrough in the provision of cancer treatment.

Cardiff-based Proton Partners International Ltd is to open the treatment centres in Cardiff, London and Northumberland by 2017 and the first – Cardiff –  will be operational next year.

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The centres will be available for NHS patients from England, Scotland and Wales, medically-insured private patients and self-paying patients.

Proton Partners International has been formed following discussions between Professor Sir Chris Evans, the leading life sciences entrepreneur, and leading UK life sciences and healthcare investors on addressing cancer treatment in the UK. Institutional and private investors have committed to almost £100m equity finance in the company.

Professor Gordon McVie, Senior Consultant at the European Institute of Oncology, has been appointed chairman and Professor Karol Sikora, has agreed to become chief medical adviser to the company, alongside a range of renowned cancer and healthcare experts.

Professor McVie said: “This is an exciting and important development of the provision of cancer treatment in the UK. As things stand, patients who can benefit from this treatment have to go abroad for treatment, often at great expense to the NHS. The creation of these centres will go a long way to ensuring the very best of treatment is available in the UK.”

Professor Sikora said: “I was delighted to be approached by Sir Chris as there are only 40 Proton Beam Therapy centres around the world and a pressing need for more.  In the UK there are none. Given the ageing population, there will be a significant rise in the number of cancer cases in the UK and therefore we should do what is necessary to provide the appropriate level and type of care.”

Sir Chris Evans and his team at Arthurian Life Sciences, which manages the £100 million Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund established by the Welsh Government, are investing in the company through the fund.

Sir Chris said: “We are delighted that the UK’s first centre will be based in Cardiff and Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund is proud to support this breakthrough. There are more than 150,000 people treated by radiotherapy for cancer each year in the UK and the demand for treatment is growing. It is anticipated that NHS demand for Proton Beam Therapy abroad will reach 1,500 patients by 2017. Proton Partners will be able to play a leading part in helping meet demand in the UK as of next year.”

Edwina Hart, the Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, in the Welsh Government, said:  “I am delighted that Sir Chris and his Arthurian team are bringing this excellent project to Wales to build the first Proton Beam Therapy centre in Britain.”

In addition to state of the art Proton Partners’ treatment services, the Cardiff centre will provide conventional radiotherapy, chemotherapy and supportive care. This could then be offered through other centres.

Proton beam therapy is a highly-targeted type of radiotherapy that can treat hard-to-reach cancers, such as spinal tumours (chordomas), with a lower risk of damaging the surrounding tissue and causing side effects.

In the future, Proton Partners International intends to develop further proton therapy centres in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

The Government has announced that it is to create two NHS proton beam therapy units which will open in 2018.

 

Notes to Editors:

Proton Partners International is a private limited company, registered in Wales.

Professor Gordon McVie is Senior Consultant at the European Institute of Oncology, Visiting Professor at Glasgow University and Honorary Consultant in Medical oncology at the Welsh Cancer Institute, Cardiff, Wales.

Professor Karol Sikora is former Chief of the World Health Organisation’s Cancer Programme and medical adviser to Cancer Partners UK.

Sir Chris Evans (deputy non-executive chairman) has established high-quality science companies, 20 of which have been taken public and is widely regarded as Europe’s leading life sciences entrepreneur.

Mike Von Bertele CB OBE (non-executive director) is International Director of Save the Children working alongside DfID to combat Ebola in West Africa. Formerly Director General Army Medical Services., he was appointed Honorary Surgeon to Her Majesty The Queen in 2008.

Mike Moran MBE( managing director) has 30 years experience in strategic leadership, planning & programme delivery and has held executive positions in defence and healthcare companies in UK & abroad.

John McIntosh MSc MA (Programme director) has three decades leading healthcare delivery in challenging international environments.

David Knott (Chief Technology Director) is CEO of The MEI Healthcare Group, a 40 year-old healthcare strategy and development group. He has personally led the setting up of 6 such proton centres in the USA.

BUPA estimates that by 2021, the UK’s ageing population is likely to see: 20% rise in the number of new cancer cases to 383,000. 62% rise in the treatment cost to £15.3bn.

 

Further information:

Proton Partners International Ltd

Professor Gordon McVie

Professor Sir Chris Evans

Professor Karol Sikora

The Welsh Life Sciences Investment Fund

Martin Walton

The Welsh Life Sciences Hub

Professor Chris McGuigan, Chairman.   

 

Contact:

Ramsay Smith, Media House 07788414856 / ramsay@mediahouse.co.uk.

Clare Ambrosino 07502971408 / clare@mediahouse.co.uk

 

Arthurian Brings Leading US Medtech Firm to Wales

ARTHURIAN BRINGS LEADING US MEDTECH FIRM TO WALES

December 1st 2014: Arthurian Life Sciences, the specialist fund management company led by  Professor Sir Chris Evans, announced today it has formed a partnership with one of the leading medtech firms in the US, Interrad Medical Inc.

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The Minneapolis-based company is the developer and manufacturer of the unique SecurAcath®, the world’s most effective device for securing catheters in hospital patients.

The partnership is the sixth investment of The Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund, managed by Arthurian which was specifically formed to act as General Partner of the fund.

The fund has made a £3 million investment in Interrad Medical Inc, acting as cornerstone investor in a financing through which the company will establish its European headquarters at the Life Sciences Hub Wales in Cardiff, as a base for sales, marketing, distribution and training.

SecurAcath® is a unique, competition-beating device that in multiple tests has proven to provide significant advantages and cost savings over current securement methods, decreasing time to secure, maintain and remove catheters and essentially removing dislodgement risk. This results in greater patient comfort, saving in nursing time and eliminating the potential for costly needle stick injuries. It is already in use in almost 300 hospitals globally, including Cardiff’s Velindre hospital which reported the overwhelming benefit of the device in prevention of migration.

Interrad will co-ordinate sales and training in 9 European countries initially. Arthurian will assist the company in this expansion, and ultimately into MENA and the Far East. Future plans for Wales include manufacturing, packaging and distribution of SecurAcath, in addition to the development of new products on the platform.

Arthurian Chairman Professor Sir Chris Evans commented:

“The investment in Interrad demonstrates the global reach of my team at Arthurian and the very meaningful impact the Wales Life Sciences Fund can make to the sector in Wales by bringing in the very best of US medical technology, know-how and practices. Advances in medical science and biotech are a global industry affecting everyone in the world, and I am very pleased to be placing Wales at the forefront of that industry”.

Interrad Medical Inc., CEO Joe Goldberger said:

“We are very pleased with this latest investment round, to establish a European headquarters in Cardiff. We look forward to working with Arthurian and the Life Sciences Hub Wales on expanding and growing global sales of the revolutionary SecurAcath device.”

Minister for Economy, Science and Transport Edwina Hart said: “We are delighted to welcome Interrad to Wales, and wish them every success in expanding their sales and distribution from their new European headquarters at Cardiff Bay. Interrad’s decision acknowledges the leading position of Wales in life sciences in Europe and builds on the strong foundation of medtech research, development and production for which Wales is well known. The move also confirms the position of the Life Sciences Hub Wales at the centre of this growing, vibrant and prosperous sector.”

Life Sciences Hub Wales Chairman Professor Chris McGuigan said:

“Wales has some gems of world-leading activity in medical device technology – and this is further strengthened by the great news of the Life Science Fund’s investment in Interrad Medical. Interrad will find a thriving ecosystem in the newly opened Life Sciences Hub and we will warmly welcome them as our 60th member”.

 

About Interrad Medical, Inc.

Plymouth, MN based Interrad Medical, Inc. is a developer, manufacturer and marketer of medical devices, designed for minimally-invasive interventional and surgical procedures. The Company was founded by practicing Interventional Radiologist and Interrad Medical Chairman and Chief Medical Officer, Michael Rosenberg, M.D. For more information, visit www.securacath.com and download the new SecurAcath App at the App Store or Google Play.

 

About the Life Sciences Hub Wales

The Life Sciences Hub Wales is part of the Welsh Government’s strategy to develop the Life Sciences Sector in Wales. Along with the £100M Life Sciences Investment Fund, the Hub acts as a focus for the sector to encourage collaboration and innovation amongst the life science community.

Opened in July this year, the Life Sciences Hub Wales is creating an ecosystem for Life Sciences in Wales by bringing together universities, businesses (both SMEs and multinationals), clinicians and health boards, government, professional service providers and funders. Located in the heart of Cardiff Bay, the Hub provides high quality meeting, networking and desk space and excellent opportunities for companies to interact and transform early stage ideas into real life projects. After only 5 months of operations, the Hub is over half full with 60 member organisations.

Medical technology firm Medaphor raises £4.7m for planned flotation with investors including Arthurian Life Sciences

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Medical technology firm Medaphor raises £4.7m for planned flotation with investors including Arthurian Life Sciences

Aug 18, 2014      By Sion Barry

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Cardiff-based medical technology firm Medaphor has raised £4.7m from institutional investors, including the Welsh Government’s Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund, for its planned flotation on the Alternative Investment Market next week.

Last week the company, whose lead ultrasound training simulator product ScanTrainer enables trainees to literally feel what they see on the computer screen in order to develop the complex mix of cognitive skills and eye-hand movement coordination required to learn all the key ultrasound scanning skills, announced its flotation plans.

The successful fundraising round is now closed.

Stuart Gall, chief executive of university spin-out company MedaPhor Group said: “This is a landmark event for the company and we are grateful to our existing investors, especially IP Group, Finance Wales and founder Professor Nazar Amso, for their support, as well as welcoming our new investors, who include Arthurian Life Sciences Fund (which manages the Welsh Life Sciences Investment Fund on a discretionary basis).

“Medical simulation services continue to grow rapidly and we believe our products have the potential to make us a major player in the ultrasound sector of this exciting market.

“Moving to AIM provides us with the backing and visibility to deliver on our growth strategy.”

Alan Aubrey, chief executive of IP Group, said: “This is a huge achievement for MedaPhor and will enable the company to pursue its growth strategy in its target markets. MedaPhor became part of the IP Group portfolio through our recent acquisition of Fusion IP.

“It is the third IP Group portfolio company to float on AIM this year and a good example of how we continue to support our later-stage portfolio companies.”

Richard Hadden, investment executive at Finance Wales, said: “MedaPhor’s ScanTrainer simulator has been well received in its target markets and we’re delighted that the company now plans to raise new capital to facilitate its ambitious growth plans through AIM.

Finance Wales is a cornerstone investor in MedaPhor.

“We’ve backed the company over a number of investment rounds since 2009, including a recent significant pre-IPO round which has taken our total investment in the company to over £1.5m.”

Sir Christopher Evans, chairman of Arthurian Life Sciences, said: “We have had MedaPhor on our radar since we launched our fund in 2013 and we’re delighted to be partnering and investing with IP Group and Finance Wales on this exciting project.

The company has tremendous potential to capitalise on its early success in both the UK and the USA and we look forward to supporting its future growth and expansion.”

Following Medaphor’s float Arthurian will have a 6% stake in Medaphor. IP Group  will remain the largest individual investor at 47.2%. Finance Wales has a stake of just over 23%.

Professor Nazar Amso, founder of MedaPhor, said: “This is a wonderful accomplishment for MedaPhor and an exciting step towards fulfilling its ambition to be a global innovator in ultrasound simulation and education.

As a founder, I am grateful for Cardiff University and our current investors’ early support, and am delighted that the Company has attracted new major investors in its IPO.”

Cenkos Securities is acting for MedaPhor as nominated adviser and broker in relation to the proposed admission.

Admission to trading on AIM is expected to take place  next week when the company will have an anticipated market capitalisation of £10.1m.

 

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MEDAPHOR RAISES £4.7M IN PLANNED FLOTATION

19 Aug 2014

Cardiff University spin-out MedaPhor has raised £4.7m ahead of its planned flotation on the London Stock Exchange.

The company has developed ScanTrainer, a virtual reality education platform to train students, doctors and sonographers. Trading on the AIM market is expected to begin on 27 August with the company expecting a market capitalisation of £10.1m.

“This is a landmark event and we are grateful to our existing investors for their support, as well as welcoming our new investors,” said Stuart Gall, chief executive of MedaPhor.

“Moving to AIM provides us with the backing and visibility to deliver on our growth strategy.”

MedaPhor is backed by intellectual property developer IP Group, Finance Wales and its founder Professor Nazar Amso. New investors include the Welsh Arthurian Life Sciences Fund.

Amso added: “This is a wonderful accomplishment for MedaPhor and an exciting step towards fulfilling its ambition to be a global innovator in ultrasound simulation and education. I am grateful for Cardiff University and our current investors’ early support, and am delighted that the company has attracted new major investors in its IPO.”

Alan Aubrey, chief executive of IP Group, said: “MedaPhor became part of the IP Group portfolio through our recent acquisition of Fusion IP. It is the third IP Group portfolio company to float on AIM this year and a good example of how we continue to support our later-stage portfolio companies.”

Cenkos Securities is acting for MedaPhor, which has bases in Cardiff and San Diego, as nominated adviser and broker.

Simbec buys its way into late-stage R&D with Orion deal

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Simbec Research and Orion Clinical Services Merge

The merger of Simbec Research, the specialist CRO in Early Stage Clinical Development, and ORION Clinical Services, the specialist CRO in Late Stage Clinical Development, is tremendous news for the clinical research sector, the merged company and its employees and Wales.

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The Simbec-Orion Group will be a full service international contract research organisation (CRO) with capabilities in both Early Stage Clinical Development and Late Stage Clinical Development with deep expertise in oncology and rare and orphan diseases.  The Group, with combined revenues of approximately £25m, employs approximately 250 staff and has operations across Europe, Australia and the United States together with capabilities in multiple other territories. Simbec-Orion will maintain its headquarters in the UK based in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales.

Simbec-Orion will offer its current 65 large and mid-cap pharmaceutical and biotech clients a complete service offering from first in human exploratory clinical pharmacology studies, through Phase II and Phase III studies.  Currently the Group has approximately 90 clinical trials running for clients.  In addition, the Group offers its clients Phase IV post authorisation studies for marketing, observational and post authorisation safety studies (“PASS”).

The merger was completed through the provision of £12.5m of funds raised from the Welsh Arthurian Life Sciences Fund and HSBC Bank plc’s West and Wales Corporate team.

My investment management team at Arthurian Life Sciences first backed Simbec in 2013.  Together with HSBC we are delighted to be leading this transaction and look forward to supporting further acquisitions for the new combined Simbec-Orion Group. There is no shortage of targets which would be an excellent fit for what is a world-leading  CRO.

This is also a proud moment for Wales in that it will be retaining the worldwide HQ for the company and it shows what can be achieved in the life sciences sector. I will be delighted to serve as a non-executive director on the board of Simbec-Orion.

Professor Sir Chris Evans

 

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Simbec buys its way into late-stage R&D with Orion deal

June 23, 2014 | By Damian Garde

Welsh CRO Simbec Research is expanding beyond its focus on early-phase studies, buying up Orion Clinical Services in a move the company says will make it a full-service organization.

The roughly $21.3 million deal will create a combined entity with Phase I-IV capabilities, 250 employees around the world and nearly $43 million in annual revenue, the companies said. The two will do business as Simbec-Orion, take up the former company’s Welsh headquarters while maintaining operations across Europe, Australia and the U.S.

Together, Simbec-Orion has a client roster of 65 large- and mid-cap pharma and biotech companies, and the group has about 90 working studies around the world. The combined company has plans to expand from there, promising to “rapidly pursue further acquisitions” on the hunt for more revenue sources.

“Simbec is proud of its 30-year history of excellence in early-stage clinical development,” Chairman Trevor Jones said in a statement. “We are delighted to complete the merger with Orion, which takes our Welsh-headquartered company onto an international stage and expands its capability into late-stage clinical development.”

The deal follows Simbec’s efforts to strike out on its own, as the CRO used an investment from the Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund to acquire itself from Canada’s Altasciences Group last year.

The Welsh Arthurian Life Sciences Fund, backed by biotech entrepreneur Sir Chris Evans, pitched in to help Simbec buy Orion, and Evans will serve as non-executive board director for the combined company.

 

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Biotech veteran back on deal trail

Matthew Goodman Published: 22 June 2014

BIOTECH entrepreneur Sir Chris Evans is spearheading the creation of a new force in clinical research for novel drugs.

Simbec Research, a specialist in conducting early-stage trials on behalf of big pharmaceutical companies, and backed by Evans, is to merge with rival Orion Clinical Services, which carries out later-stage tests.

The enlarged group is expected to pursue further acquisitions in an attempt to become a key player in its field. Evans said: “This is a very good area for consolidation. There are scores of targets, varying from £1m businesses to £80m businesses.”

The market is fragmented with estimates suggesting that there are about 750 companies world-wide working on outsourced drug trials.

Evans will become a non-executive director of the combined research business, which will be run by Ronald Openshaw, the former boss of Plethora, a London-listed healthcare company. Simbec-Orion will be chaired by Trevor Jones, a former director of the Wellcome Foundation.

The merger has been funded with £12.5m from the Arthurian Life Sciences Fund, an Evans vehicle set up to manage the Welsh government’s commitments to the biotech industry, and HSBC.

Simbec-Orion will employ 250 staff and is expected to generate sales this year of about £25m. Bosses hope to grow that to £100m. Its client list stretches to about 65 drug developers, including the largest firms in the industry.

Respiratory disease drug company Verona Pharma relocating to Wales

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Respiratory disease drug company Verona Pharma relocating to Wales

Mar 06, 2014 By Sion Barry

The £100m Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund has made its third investment in a deal that will see London-based Verona Pharma relocating its headquarters to Cardiff.

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The Aim-listed firm is developing a range of medicines to treat respiratory diseases.

The fund which is managed on a discretionary basis by Arthurian Life Sciences, chaired by Port Talbot-born biotech serial entrepreneur and investor Sir Chris Evans, is the lead investor in the deal which will see a £14m cash injection into Verona.

The company currently has a number of its drugs in clinical trials.

The funding will be raised through the placing of new shares, with leading institutional investors in the US and UK having already committed funding alongside Arthurian – in what will be an oversubscribed placing.

The deal represents the third investment made from the Wales Life Investment Fund, which Arthurian is currently in the process of securing match funding to take it to an initial target of £100m. As the cornerstone investor in a placing, subscription and open offer Arthurian is investing £4.6m from the fund, which will give it a 20.8% stake in the enlarged share capital of Verona.

The Welsh Government has already committed £50m to the fund, which as well as attracting life sciences firms into Wales will also seek to back indigenous firms in the sector, including those in biotech, pharma, life sciences and medical devices.

Arthurian has already made investments into Merthyr-based Simbec Research and was the lead investor in a £25m rights issue which will see Surrey-based Aim-listed cell therapy firm ReNeuron relocating to South Wales.

Sir Chris said: “We are delighted that we have a great pharmaceutical company like Verona coming to Wales. This is one of the greatest things I have done in Wales in the last few years. In the last couple of deals [Arthurian] we have brought to Wales some of world’s biggest investors in the sector such as Abingdon, who have hundreds of billions in funds.

“It really is a case of wow that these leading funds are coming to Wales for the first time and there is more [co-investment with Arthurian] to come.

“Verona has the potential to be worth hundreds of millions in value. We have invested roughly £10m from the fund to date. but the value added is that this has brought more than £50m in cash into Wales from our co-investors.”

As part of the deal within the next couple of months Verona will establish a new headquarters in Cardiff.

An element of Verona’s drug formulation and clinical trial work will also be coming to South Wales. Simbec is expected to be supporting Verona in its clinical trials.

Verona is developing drugs to treat conditions such as chronic asthma and severe cough, as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Sir Chris said: “With 10% of the population in Wales suffering from a respiratory disease bringing this world class company here is  particularly relevant.”

Chief executive of Verona Dr Jan-Anders Karlsson said: “I am delighted at the strong demand for shares form institutions in both the UK and US for this proposed fund raising. which was significantly oversubscribed.

“The monies raised will allow us to progress our lead pipeline asset, RPL554, in further phase two studies through the next significant value inflection point.

“We would like to thank our existing investors for their continuing support and look forward to  welcoming our new shareholders to the company.

“We are confident that the progress we will make in the medium and longer term will not only result in important new medicines for patients with respiratory, disease but will also translate into the creation of significant value for our shareholders.”

Speaking earlier at the BioWales 2014 event  at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay, Sir Chris said that Arthurian has 360 targets on its deal flow database. He added: “Of these we are talking seriously to 42 companies.”

Sir Chris told the conference, attended by 600 delegates, that Wales was working on a much needed life sciences brand which would be recognised by companies, researchers and investors globally.

He added: “We have to think international and that is all that I think about. I see that as my principle role within the life science sector in Wales.”

He said that Wales needed to develop a “truly iconic” Welsh science park, which he is confident will be realised.

He added: “At the moment we are one of the few countries in the world that doesn’t have a national science park. We have to bring the world to embrace Wales and they have to come here because we are brilliant.”