Censo Biotechnologies secures £1.3m for stem cell research

An Edinburgh-based stem cell research business has landed a seven-figure funding boost allowing for expansion of its exploratory services, which include tackling diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

The funding will help further Censo's research of diseases including Parkinsons and Alzheimers. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
The funding will help further Censo's research of diseases including Parkinsons and Alzheimers. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Censo Biotechnologies has secured a £1.3 million investment to help broaden the stem cell research services it supplies to pharmaceutical companies developing new treatments for a range of diseases.

The firm creates technology to produce stem cells in a laboratory from a person’s skin or blood sample, which are then transformed into brain and other types of cell for drug research.

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Stem cell research hit the headlines earlier this week after Glaswegian comedian Sir Billy Connolly revealed he would participate in a pioneering Harvard University study which aims to use stem cells to find a cure for Parkinson’s.

Censo said it has a “rapidly expanding” portfolio of major drug company clients choosing to outsource this specialised research, including some of the best known pharmaceutical and biotech companies across Europe, the US and Japan.

The research firm plans to use the £1.3m investment to accelerate business growth, expand its marketing and sales capabilities, and broaden the range of commercial research services it provides to clients.

The funding will be provided by three sources: Edinburgh-based venture capital firm Par Equity’s Par Syndicate EIS Fund, which invests in young, innovative technology companies; the Par Syndicate, which is a network of specially selected expert investors; and the Scottish Investment Bank.

Aidan Courtney, chief executive at Censo, said: “This investment from Par Equity has come at exactly the right time for the company.

“Over the past two years we have developed a comprehensive suite of resources which allow us to create human stem cells from any individual and use derivatives of these cells to test drugs for clients.

“Our focus on selected research areas, such as neuro-inflammation, has aligned extremely well with our clients’ needs and we are seeing more demand than we can accommodate with our current resources.

“Par Equity’s investment will allow us to broaden our service offering and accelerate growth.”

Paul Munn, partner at Par Equity, said: “Our investment gives Censo the capital to build upon its important work, but we’re also very active managers.

“We’ll work closely with Censo’s management, drawing on the expertise and experience of our network of investors to give them the support they need to scale up this exciting business, which could help transform treatment of a number of serious diseases.”

Censo was founded in 2016 following the merger of Roslin Cellab and Roslin Cell Sciences, and has employs teams in the Scottish capital and Cambridge.