A GROUND-BREAKING sensor that will revolutionise the way in which pharmaceutical processes are monitored should reach the market in the next six months, thanks to a £325,000 investment by IP Group, managers of the Finance for Business North East Technology Fund.
The investment into Bioinnovel, based at The Wilton Centre in Redcar, will allow the team headed by entrepreneur Joanna Vlahopoulou to complete the development of the technology behind a pioneering probe which could ultimately save the pharmaceutical industry thousands of pounds in R&D and production costs.
Bioinnovel originally started life in Cambridge, a city renowned for its cluster of biotechnology companies but moved to the North-east in 2008, attracted by the business support available, opportunities for early stage funding and seed capital, as well as the wide manufacturing base.
Four years in development, Vlahopoulou was inspired to design the sensor after identifying there was no existing product that could provide reliable, real-time measurement of microbial fermentation processes, which are fundamental in the R&D behind a wide range of products for pharma, specialist chemicals, food ingredients and bio fuels.
Bioinnovel’s managing director, Joanna Vlahopoulou, said: “We have been hugely impressed by the North-east region as a place to do business - from the links to financial support and access to other world class businesses, there is a hub of talent and all sorts of resources that can be quickly tapped into.
“Working closely with the IP Group and through the Finance for Business North East Technology Fund investment, we have been able to significantly strengthen our offering, and are currently focused on building on the management expertise within the team.
“It’s been a very fruitful collaboration that will hopefully yield strong results for all involved.”
Ian Wilson, investment manager at IP Group, said: “Bioinnovel has developed a highly innovative sensor and with our investment is working on predictive software to sit behind this, in a move that could create huge benefits for anyone working in pharmaceuticals.
“We are a strong advocate of what this company has to offer and are looking forward to seeing it launch in the coming year.”
The North East Technology Fund is a £25m venture capital fund dedicated to investing in technology businesses with outstanding potential which are based in, or are willing to relocate to, the North-east.
The Fund is backed by the European Investment Bank, ONE North East and European Regional Development Funds. It is able to co-invest with other institutional, private or corporate investors and at all stages of the business cycle from early stage to mature businesses.
IP Group is an intellectual property company that specialises in commercialising university technology. Founded in 2001, IP Group listed on AIM in October 2003 and moved to the Official List in June 2006. It has formed long-term partnerships with 10 universities - the University of Oxford, King’s College London, CNAP/University of York, the University of Leeds, the University of Bristol, the University of Surrey, the University of Southampton, Queen Mary (University of London), the University of Bath and the University of Glasgow.