Tate & Lyle Ventures and Scottish Enterprise’s Scottish Venture Fund acquire BioFilm Limited

Tate & Lyle Ventures and Scottish Enterprise’s Scottish Venture Fund have acquired BioFilm Limited through a newly formed company, BioFilm Holdings Limited. BioFilm Limited, a subsidiary of Devro plc, is the only fully integrated manufacturer in Western Europe of dissolvable / edible films that carry active ingredients, designed for use in the nutraceutical and medical markets.

BioFilm Limited (“BioFilm”) is being acquired for a nominal initial consideration plus a sum in respect of working capital. The agreement provides for a further potential payment to Devro plc in the event of a subsequent sale of the business. BioFilm Holdings Limited plans to invest £3 million in the business to allow the Company to supply the rapidly growing medical devices, lifestyle and pharmaceutical markets. BioFilm will be headed up by Trevor Morgan, formerly Devro plc’s Business Development Director.

Use of dissolvable / edible films as medical devices (such as anti-snoring strips) and as a delivery mechanism for a range of active ingredients (including breath fresheners, nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals and now drugs) is increasing rapidly. This is due to ease of use, cost benefits and, in some cases, improved absorption through the buccal membrane (inside cheek).

The North American edible film market is well established and the European market is beginning to emerge; some analysts estimate that the total market for edible films could reach $500m this year and $2bn by 2012. BioFilm’s expertise allows it to use a wide range of film formers to meet the end customer’s requirements; films can be made from a range of products including gelatine, pectin, cellulose, pullulan and collagen.

David Atkinson, Managing Partner, Tate & Lyle Ventures said, “The edible film market is fast-growing, particularly in North America, and enjoys an excellent fit with our Fund’s focus on biomaterials. We see potential in the medical/ drug delivery market where dissolvable films allow fast delivery of active ingredients. BioFilm also provides a unique opportunity for us to enter the European market, which is currently small but we believe is likely to follow North American trends.”

Jonathan Lloyd-Hirst, Investment Manager, Scottish Venture Fund said, “The Scottish Venture Fund was set up as a market making mechanism to attract new investors to Scotland. We are therefore delighted to be investing for the second time alongside Tate & Lyle Ventures in a Scottish company, BioFilm. With our investment and backed by a strong management team, BioFilm has the potential to become a global pioneer in its field.”

Trevor Morgan, Chief Executive Officer, BioFilm said, “We are delighted that we have been able to attract such high calibre investors, who bring with them the resources and experience to develop BioFilm into a world class producer of highly differentiated dissolvable film products for a wide range of markets.”

Tate & Lyle Ventures and Scottish Enterprise were part of a consortium which invested in second round funding in Scottish marine biotechnology company, Aquapharm Biodiscovery Ltd in July 2007.

Tate & Lyle Ventures (www.tateandlyleventures.com) is a £25m venture capital fund focused on investing in high growth companies in the fields of renewable ingredients, food technologies, renewable resources such as biomaterials and biofuels and industrial processing technologies. Tate & Lyle, the fund’s principle investor is one of the world's leading renewable ingredients companies focused on innovation and product development in these sectors. The fund is independently managed by Simon Barnes and David Atkinson of Circadia Ventures, an FSA authorised and regulated firm based in London.

The Scottish Venture Fund provides investments of up to £2m per transaction in partnership with the private sector on at least a matched funding basis in syndicated transactions, typically, between £2m and £10m. Further information on Scottish Enterprise investments is available at http://www.scottish-enterprise.com/equity. Scottish Enterprise is the main economic development agency for Scotland covering 93% of the population from Grampian to the Borders. The Scottish Enterprise Network consists of Scottish Enterprise and 12 Local Enterprise Companies. Working in partnership with the private and public sectors the Network aims to build more and better businesses, to develop the skills and knowledge of Scottish people, and to encourage innovation to make Scottish business internationally competitive. Further information on Scottish Enterprise is available at http://www.scottish-enterprise.com.

Devro (www.devro.plc.uk) the world’s leading manufacturer of collagen products for the food industry. In addition, the company manufactures a range of plastic casings, supplies customers in the food industry with a range of distributed products and also supplies pure collagen raw materials for use in the healthcare industry. With manufacturing facilities in three continents and 2006 revenue in excess of £150m, Devro products are sold worldwide.

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