UK-based technology commercialisation and investment group Imperial Innovations‘ portfolio company Abingdon Health has made an investment and acquired a controlling 80% interest in Forsite Diagnostics, a UK-based contract developer and manufacturer of lateral flow diagnostic products. Oxford-based Abingdon Health is a business founded and led by Dr Chris Hand, to commercialise a portfolio of novel clinical diagnostics technologies.
Imperial Innovations Group plc (AIM: IVO, ‘Innovations’), a leading technology commercialisation and investment group, announces that its portfolio company Abingdon Health (‘Abingdon’) has made an investment and acquired a controlling 80% interest in Forsite Diagnostics (‘Forsite’), a private UK-based contract developer and manufacturer of lateral flow diagnostic products.
Oxford based Abingdon Health is a business founded and led by Dr Chris Hand, to commercialise a portfolio of novel clinical diagnostics technologies. He is also interim CEO of Innovations portfolio company, Molecular Vision.
The acquisition complements Abingdon’s current businesses, providing it with the manufacturing capability to produce point of care diagnostics, including key tests from its own portfolio. In addition it strengthens the Company’s development and sales and marketing capabilities.
Forsite, co-located with Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA), at the Sand Hutton Innovation Campus, York, was spun-out from DEFRA in 2007 and has established a strong and diverse customer base, which includes European regulatory authorities, multi-national diagnostic and food companies. The company has invested in creating a state of the art manufacturing facility, which has the capacity to produce many millions of lateral flow tests per annum. FERA will remain a shareholder in Forsite.
Susan Searle, Chief Executive Officer, Imperial Innovations, said:
“The acquisition of Forsite gives Abingdon manufacturing capabilities and a strong customer base, enabling them to exploit additional market opportunities. Following its recent £3 million funding round, which Innovations led, we are pleased to see Abingdon moving further towards becoming a truly integrated clinical diagnostics business and strengthening its market position.”
Dr Chris Hand, CEO, Abingdon Health, said:
“Today’s acquisition follows our recent investment in Molecular Vision and creates a focal point for our other activities. It is another important step towards our strategy of creating a fully integrated, medical diagnostics business. Abingdon now has the ability to develop, manufacture and sell a wide spectrum of diagnostic reagents and kits. This includes the synthesis of relevant peptides and production of antibodies as well as integrated medical diagnostic reagent-instrument systems
“We continue to look for other appropriate opportunities to strengthen our business and provide Abingdon with the critical mass to enable it to exploit opportunities within the US$11.2bn global immunodiagnostics market. We would like to thank our shareholders for supporting this acquisition.”
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Notes to editors
Imperial Innovations – www.imperialinnovations.co.uk
Innovations creates, builds and invests in pioneering university technologies addressing global problems in healthcare, energy, engineering and the environment. It combines deep understanding of science and technology with commercial acumen and strong investment expertise.
Innovations supports scientist-entrepreneurs in the commercialisation of their ideas by:
· leading the formation of new companies and providing facilities in the early stages
· providing significant investment and encouraging co-investment to accelerate the transition from R&D to products
· providing operational expertise
helping to recruit high-calibre industry figures and experienced entrepreneurs as executive management and Board members
Innovations invests in companies based on technologies from or associated with four universities: Imperial College London; and Cambridge University, Oxford University, and UCL supported by its collaborations with Cambridge Enterprise, OSEM and UCL Business. These are the UK’s leading research intensive universities, measured by research income.
By raising £140 million in January 2011, Innovations has been able to accelerate the making of, and increase the size of its investments. In the year to 31 July 2011, Innovations invested £35.1 million (2010: £14 million) in 23 ventures, and launched six new companies.
In its current portfolio of 78 companies, Innovations’ most advanced assets include Circassia, which develops innovative vaccines for the treatment of a wide range of allergies; and Nexeon, a battery materials and licensing company which develops silicon anodes which extend the life and increase the capacity of lithium-ion batteries.
Abingdon Health is a specialist medical diagnostics company based in Oxford with facilities in London and Birmingham. The Company works with the world’s best scientists to acquire, develop and distribute state-of-the art diagnostic tools and services. The Company’s mission is to create a global, diversified healthcare business through both selective acquisition and the development of patent protected, clinically relevant diagnostic products.
The Company was founded in 2008 by CEO Chris Hand, Chris Yates and Dr Brett Pollard, ex Head of Life Science Research at Numis and equity analyst at Seymour-Pierce and Deutsche Bank. Chris Hand is the ex founder and CEO of Cozart Bioscience Ltd, which sold for £65 million to Concateno plc in 2007 and non-executive director of Concateno plc until its sale to Inverness Medical Innovations (IMA) for £147 million in 2009.