ANIMAL healthcare company Curar Animal Therapeutics is hoping to release its first product by the end of the year with the help of venture capital investment.
The company has secured £100,000 from the Finance for Business North East Proof of Concept Fund managed by Northstar Ventures, which will help it to develop products for the treatment of injured pets and horses.
The first product will be a non-invasive device that will help these animals recover more quickly from soft tissue and bone injuries. A prototype is currently under construction, and the money will also be used to build the company’s networks and customer base.
Curar was launched in 2010 by Helen Floyd, with Dan Martin and Peter Masters of Octo Design. It was one of the firms to develop under Newcastle Science City’s Innovation Machine programme, which enabled entrepreneurial businesspeople to develop ideas that filled an unmet need with the help of mentors.
Floyd said: “We’re executing the plan we put in place a year ago. Our first hurdle was securing funding. Our second is to develop the product, while we’re also keen to talk to the customer about their needs.
“It’s an alternative method of treating soft tissue and bone injury. It adds another tool to the kit. This is like any market in that it’s not totally recession-proof, but we do believe there’s a small gap for veterinary devices.”
The company will shortly move from its current location in Felling to its new home in the Toffee Factory in Ouseburn, Newcastle. The aim is to offer the products to the UK market, and the founders already have some ideas for future developments.
Newcastle Science City says its approach to commercialising ideas that meet market needs has created 23 companies that are currently trading in the region.
Head of business support Simon Green said: “Our work with Helen focused on identifying the market opportunity and then building a business around that. Too often, business development is built on taking a clever idea and then trying to sell it, rather than finding out what customers really want and satisfying that demand. Curar is an excellent example of using current technology, developed in a different context, to fill a gap in the market.”
The Proof of Concept Fund managed by Northstar is backed by the European Investment Bank and the European Regional Development Fund, and is set up to support innovative projects in the technology sector with high potential.
Richard Exley, the head of Proof of Concept Funds for Northstar Ventures, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Curar and Newcastle Science City.
“We consider Curar to be a great company to invest in, and it is our first investment in a veterinary healthcare business. We look forward to watching this company grow and develop its products further.”