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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.