Dr Mike Nicholds Newcells CEO (1)

Newcells CEO, Dr Mike Nicholds.

Newcastle-based human stem cell model specialists Newcells Biotech have secured a total of £5.25m worth of funding to accelerate their growth plans in the international life sciences market.

The funding comes from various sources, including Mercia Asset Management and the North East Innovation Fund supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by NorthStar Ventures. It will help Newcells Biotech expand their growth in 3D tissue models for drug discovery.

The investment will be used to drive the biotech company’s international expansion in the USA, growing its existing commercial operations and launching innovative new products. This second major investment means the company has received a total of £10m worth of funding over the last five years.

Newcells Biotech is a commercial-stage life science company exploiting its trademark technology in stem cells (iPSC) and 3D tissues to build human tissue models. This pioneering modelling technology improves the ability to generate data on the safety and effectiveness of drugs prior to their first human trials. The seven-figure investment will accelerate the development of models for liver and lung conditions, the latter of which could advance the research into and treatment available for SARS-Cov-2 (the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease). The funding will also be used to fast track the commercialisation and launch of their kidney and retina 3D treatment models across the Atlantic.

Commenting on their recent investment success CEO, Dr Mike Nicholds, said: “Over the last two years Newcells has made great progress in bringing innovative products and services to market that have delivered value to our global pharmaceutical customers. Whether it be in understanding how new drugs interact with the kidney or the retina, our scientists have produced data that has helped lower the risk of early drug discovery projects. The input and support of Mercia and NorthStar have been invaluable in driving forward the business. Our vision is to bring the best in vitro biology to market, improving the productivity of drug discovery and development”.

Tim Levett, Mercia Asset Management, said: “Since our first investment the team at Newcells have made great strides forward both in the development of new organoids and in winning contracts with major global pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Our substantial investment will fund the resources that will enable Newcells to accelerate growth and become a global market leader in four high growth areas.”

Alex Buchan, Investment Director at NorthStar Ventures, said: “We’re delighted to continue to support Newcells with developing their cutting-edge products and services. We’ve been impressed with the vision and drive of the team and look forward to the continuing expansion and scale up of this vital work.”

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Neina Sheldon
Article by Neina Sheldon
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