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13 October 2014

Magnus secures $25m

UCL life sciences spin-out Magnus raises seed funding.

Author: Thierry Heles, reporter

Magnus Life Science, a spin-out of University College London (UCL), has secured £15.5m ($25m) in a seed round led by an unnamed private equity investor.

Magnus’s business model is unique in that the company establishes each programme as a separate company. The respective companies have the founding scientists as shareholders, while Magnus itself manages the overall strategic direction, management, and a central project development capability.

Magnus is aiming to support early-stage development of therapies before seeking outside investment and partnerships with established biotechs for the concerned programme and subsidiary. Magnus will use the funding to advance its therapeutic programmes.

To date, it has set up five such subsidiaries, at the core of which is research into blood flow. Apart from the £15.5m seed funding, two programmes have also attracted European Commission Framework 7 grants totalling €11.5m ($14.5m).

The company has an industrial agreement with UCL, and both its operational and research and development team are based at the university. The company’s chief scientist is John Martin, chair of cardiovascular medicine at UCL as well as adjunct professor of medicine at Yale.

David Campbell, chief executive officer at Magnus, said: “We are extremely excited to share details of what we believe will be a unique model for European biotechnology. At Magnus we combine world class science with the management, people and capital needed to make real progress. Our industrial collaboration with UCL allows our team to work in an environment at the heart of university innovation. In securing this significant seed financing alongside grant funding, and through our close relationship with UCL, we can take three projects to clinical proof-of-concept, advance our earlier stage programmes and build the foundations for further progress.”

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