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Life sciences company raises more than £1m Corporate

Life sciences company raises more than £1m

12/01/2024

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A Newcastle-based company, that has created a model of the human gut which can be used as an alternative to animal testing, has raised more than £1m which will enable it to scale-up its sales and marketing activity and create jobs.

Aelius Biotech, a spin out from Newcastle University, provides testing services for major pharmaceutical and nutrition companies including Huel.

The £1.25m has been raised from the North East Venture Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Mercia Ventures – which was advised by Newcastle-based law firm Mincoffs Solicitors.

It will allow the business to meet growing demand by relocating from the university into Newcastle laboratories, while expanding its five-strong team. 10 jobs are expected to be created in the next two years.

The funding will also support sales and marketing activity, while helping the business to continue its R&D.

Aelius’s model is the only one of its kind that can simulate all three stages of the digestion process. By giving companies an insight into how their product performs and is absorbed into the body, it can help improve formulations and re-risk product development.

Dr Peter Chater, Dr Matt Wilcox and Professor Jeff Pearson established Aelius five years ago.

Chater, who is the company’s chief executive, said: “Formulation development is one of the big challenges faced by our customers and because of the limitations of current laboratory models, a lot of testing is done in animals.

“Apart from ethical issues, this is expensive, time-consuming and the results are often not replicated in human trials. Our unique model simulates the processes of digestion and absorption in a single lab system, giving customers vital data on how their formulations perform early in the development process and without the need for animal testing.

“We are excited to secure backing from Mercia and the NEVF to support our mission to make Aelius Biotech a trusted global leader in this field.”

Chris McCourt of Mercia Ventures said: “There is increasing demand for laboratory testing services but companies are trying to move away from the use of animals. Aelius’s model is the most advanced of its type in the world and allows customers to determine the likely success of their products in a faster, more cost-effective and more ethical way.

“The team has been providing testing services for five years now and are seeing growing demand. This funding will enable them to take the business to the next level.”

Chris Hughes and Max Gilchrist of Mincoffs LLP provided legal advice to Mercia Ventures and NEVF.

“Aelius Biotech is utilising pioneering technology which has the potential to revolutionise testing services in the pharmaceutical and nutrition industries,” said Chris.

“This fund raise will enable the business to accelerate its expansion plans, along with creating further job opportunities within the region in the coming years.

“It was our pleasure to advise Mercia Ventures, which manages the North East Venture Fund, on this transaction and we look forward to following Aelius Biotech’s future success.”

 

Photo credit – Mercia Ventures

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