Biotech firm Synpromics secures £5.2m cash injection

Synpromics chief executive David Venables said the Edinburgh biotech firm was poised for 'further rapid expansion'. Picture: Contributed

Synpromics chief executive David Venables said the Edinburgh biotech firm was poised for 'further rapid expansion'. Picture: Contributed

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An Edinburgh-based specialist in “synthetic biology” has raised £5.2 million in its latest funding round as it seeks to expand further.

Synpromics, currently based at the city’s BioQuarter life sciences incubator, also said it was preparing to move to a larger, purpose-built, facility amid growing demand from international customers.

• READ MORE: Edinburgh biotech outfit in tie-up with GE Healthcare

The firm was founded in 2010 to commercialise technology developed by Michael Roberts in the “highly disruptive” field of synthetic biology – which gives researchers the ability to create man-made DNA sequences in the development of cures for conditions such as haemophilia and hereditary blindness.

Participants in its latest funding round, which follows a £2.1m investment secured in 2015, included existing investors Calculus Capital, the Scottish Investment Bank – the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise – and private shareholders.

Chief executive David Venables said: “Since our last fundraising round 18 months ago, the business has grown rapidly as we’ve signed more commercial partnerships with companies in the US and Europe. We see an exciting opportunity to fund further rapid expansion of our business, supported by our innovative science and novel capabilities.”

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In January, Synpromics announced a research collaboration with industry giant GE Healthcare. The tie-up will see the firm create a “toolbox”, using GE Healthcare’s Chinese hamster ovary cell platform, aimed at helping to develop a range of biopharmaceuticals, including difficult-to-manufacture proteins.

It said the bulk of its fresh funding will be used to develop its PromPT platform, which enables the design of “synthetic promoters” that give precise control of gene functions in areas such as gene therapy, cell therapy and gene editing.

Alexandra Lindsay, investment director at Calculus Capital, said: “We have been delighted with the progress which Synpromics has made since we made our first investment some 18 months ago. They have a very strong team and the technology has been clearly validated through partnerships with some of the world’s leading gene medicine companies.”

Kerry Sharp, head of the Scottish Investment Bank, added: “Having supported Synpromics from an early stage it is great to see the progress that has been achieved to develop and grow the business in the highly dynamic synthetic biology industry.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the company, both from an investment perspective and through our account management support, to deliver its long-term growth ambition.”

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