Oban, Scotland, UK – 23nd March 2010 – Aquapharm Biodiscovery, a leading marine biotechnology company, today announces the close of a £4.2 million investment from existing investors Aescap Venture, Tate & Lyle Ventures, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and NESTA. Alongside the completion of the financing, Aquapharm has appointed the seasoned biotech entrepreneur Simon Best as CEO. Current CEO and founder Andrew Mearns Spragg will take up the role of Chief Technical Officer.
The additional finance will be used towards the further development and commercialisation of Aquapharm's product portfolio produced from over 7,250 marine micro-organisms. Natural products from this unique source of new biological and chemical diversity are already being exploited commercially with major partners such as Croda Plc and Dr Reddy's Laboratories in the personal care and pharmaceutical fields respectively. New collaborations in further applications such as nutrition are also in the pipeline.
Over the next year, Aquapharm will also use the new funding to build a large marine derived compound library containing small molecule and peptide compounds with the size and structural characteristics of potential new drugs. Upon its completion, the compound library will accelerate Aquapharm’s drug discovery efforts, principally in the anti-microbial field. The Company will also build on existing interest from major Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology companies to enter into discovery and development alliances against other disease targets.
Simon, formerly CEO of Roslin BioMed and later Chairman of Ardana Plc and the UK BioIndustry Association, has joined Aquapharm at this critical juncture and brings extensive experience to the Company, including demonstrable success in taking biotech companies through raising finance, deal formation and product commercialisation all the way to exit. Simon is a visiting Professor at the University of Edinburgh and remains the Chair of the BioQuarter Commercialisation Board.
Andrew Mearns Spragg, who is moving from the role of CEO to become CTO said: “I would like to welcome Simon to Aquapharm, a company for which I have endless passion, having founded and developed it over the past 10 years.” Andrew’s role as CTO will be to focus on the strategic development and exploitation of the science and technologies within Aquapharm, to ensure that maximum value is extracted from the platform.
Simon Best added: “I am excited to step into a Scottish business that I see having immense commercial potential, and would like to acknowledge Andrew’s achievements since he founded Aquapharm. Recent highlights include completing today’s new financing, the deal with Croda Plc, and the appointment of a high-calibre management team. I look forward to working with Andrew and this team on leveraging Aquapharm's unique assets into high-value consumer, industrial and healthcare products. I relish another opportunity to demonstrate that the UK's enormous strengths in R/D can be successfully translated into superior financial returns for investors”
Notes to Editors
About Aquapharm Biodiscovery Ltd.
Aquapharm is a leading marine biotechnology company pioneering the discovery, isolation and development of novel, marine-derived bioactives for application in a wide range of commercial sectors, including pharmaceuticals, functional ingredients and industrial biotechnology. The company is based at the European Centre for Marine Biotechnology in Oban, Scotland.
Aquapharm has built a substantial and specialised collection of marine bacteria and fungi from a variety of diverse habitats. Through the application of its proprietary technologies to this collection, the company has been able to stimulate the production of novel, biologically active products with broad chemical diversity. To accelerate its discovery efforts, Aquapharm is currently preparing one of the world’s largest marine-derived compound libraries.
For more information, please see www.aquapharm.co.uk
About Simon Best
Professor Simon Best has over 25 years experience across the life science sector in pharmaceuticals, agbiotech, chemicals and industrial enzymes. Through this time, Simon has gained significant entrepreneurial and senior management experience of raising finance, deal formation and product commercialisation. He has founded two lifescience businesses; within Ardana one responsibility as CEO was taking the company public on the London Stock Exchange, and as Roslin Biomed’s CEO he was responsible for the commercialisation of the technology that developed Dolly the Sheep, including the merger of the business into the US-listed biotech company Geron Corp. Earlier in his career, Simon was CEO and Managing Director of Zeneca Plant Science, where he managed the groups joint ventures and acquisition programmes. Simon is currently Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Partner at TVM Capital (Munich, Germany), Chairman of Advisory Board and non-exec Partner at PAR Equity (Edinburgh, UK), and Chairman at Edinburgh Technology Fund; and non-exec Director at Polytherics (London, UK), Targeted Growth (Seattle, USA), Ohmedics (Glasgow, UK) and Director International Potato Centre (Lima, Peru). He was formerly chairman of Neuro3D (Mulhouse, France) and ICRISAT (Hyderabad, India), and non-exec director of Avesthagen (Bangalore, India), and Direvo (Germany).