Expansion to 30 portfolio companies and 46% increase in net asset value, reinforcing CIC’s position as the most active series A investor in the Cambridge ecosystem
Cambridge Innovation Capital plc (CIC), the venture capital investor enabling visionaries to build global, category-leading companies in the Cambridge ecosystem, today announces highlights from its annual results for the year ended 31 March 2020.
Andrew Williamson, Managing Partner of CIC, commented:
Despite the recent challenges posed by the global coronavirus pandemic, we have made tremendous progress during the year. Our portfolio now includes one company valued in excess of £1 billion and another that has listed on Nasdaq, our first IPO. We have expanded the number of companies in, and value of, our portfolio, enhanced our potential deal flow with the creation of two accelerators and augmented our team to support the growth of the business.
Bicycle Therapeutics, where we participated in its Nasdaq IPO to progress the company’s pipeline of Bicycle® Toxin Conjugates and Immune Cell Agonists to treat cancer and other debilitating diseases. Bicycle Therapeutics is the first company in our diverse portfolio to conduct an IPO and exemplifies the way in which we support the transformation of exciting, early-stage companies from the Cambridge ecosystem as they develop into global, category-leading companies.
CMR Surgical, which closed a £195 million Series C funding round, Europe’s largest private financing round in the medical technology sector, to commercialise its next-generation surgical robotic system, Versius®. We were an early investor in CMR Surgical, having first invested in the company’s Series A round in 2016, and we have continued to provide financial support and guidance to the company, enabling the realisation of the potential of the Versius® system. The proceeds will be used to drive the next stage of CMR Surgical’s growth, including the planned commercialisation of its Versius® system, while supporting continued research and development, manufacturing and expansion.
AudioTelligence, in which we participated in a £6.5 million Series A funding. AudioTelligence is dedicated to making speech clear and intelligible in a noisy world. While the adoption of voice-activated technologies in ‘smart’ homes and workplaces is on the rise, the accuracy of modern speech recognition systems remains severely limited in noisy environments. To tackle this problem, AudioTelligence’s technology acts like autofocus for sound, using data-driven ‘blind audio signal separation’ to focus on the source of interest, allowing it to be separated from interfering noises. This enables microphones to focus on what users are saying, improving the audio quality for listeners, regardless of background noise.
Cytora, which closed a £25 million Series B financing round, to continue developing its artificial intelligence-powered insurance technology platform that enables insurers to underwrite more accurately, reduce frictional costs and achieve profitable growth. Cytora’s underwriting platform applies Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing techniques to public and proprietary data sets, including property construction features, company financials and local weather. The platform combines these data sets with an insurance company’s internal data to better predict risk, thereby ensuring more accurate risk pricing.
Riverlane, a quantum computing software developer transforming the discovery of new materials and drugs. We led the £3.3 million seed round in which Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge, also participated. Riverlane’s software leverages the capabilities of quantum computers, which operate using the principles of quantum mechanics. In the same way that graphics processing units accelerate machine learning workloads, Riverlane uses quantum computers to accelerate the simulation of quantum systems. Riverlane is working with leading academics and companies on critical early use cases for its software, such as developing new battery materials and drug treatments.
Sense Biodetection, in which we co-led the £12.3 million Series A funding round alongside Earlybird, to develop a portfolio of instrument-free, point-of-care molecular diagnostic tests, a pioneering new class of diagnostic product. Sense Biodetection plans to invest the new funds in the development and manufacture of a range of tests utilising its novel and proprietary rapid molecular amplification technology, targeting in the first instance infectious disease applications such as COVID-19 and influenza. Instrument-free molecular diagnostics represent the ultimate flexible test format as the tests could be deployed in any setting and by a wide range of potential users. This has the potential to be transformational for the diagnostic industry, delivering for the first time true point-of-care testing in a market-successful, single-use product format, allowing diagnostic tests to be readily adopted by new users and scaled to meet demand.
During the year we also announced the launch of Start Codon and established DeepTech.labs, two new accelerators that are focused on accelerating the translation of world-class research into commercially successful companies. The Cambridge ecosystem has already produced over a dozen billion-pound businesses and we believe that these accelerators will be important facilitators in creating many such further successes. We are extremely proud to be founders and co-owners and we eagerly await the world-class businesses that will emerge from their programmes in the future.
We invested in PetMedix, a Cambridge, UK-based biopharmaceutical company developing antibody-based therapeutics for companion animals and our first investment in the animal health space. PetMedix has developed an innovative platform for the creation of naturally generated, fully species-specific therapeutic antibodies, enabling the discovery of its own veterinary medicines to target some of the most important clinical areas in animal health.
Inivata, a leader in liquid biopsy, formed a strategic collaboration with NeoGenomics, Inc (NASDAQ: NEO), for the commercialisation of its InVisionFirst® -Lung liquid biopsy test in the US. NeoGenomics is a leading US-based cancer diagnostics and services company, and an established player in the field with significant commercial reach and scale. NeoGenomics also made a $25 million equity investment in Inivata and an option to acquire the company outright. The new funding will be used to accelerate the company’s innovative liquid biopsy products, including further development work on RaDaR™, the newly launched highly sensitive personalized assay for the detection of residual disease and recurrence.
Microbiotica entered a major collaboration with Cancer Research UK and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) to identify and develop microbiome co-therapeutics and biomarkers for cancer patients receiving immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy. The collaboration is based on clinical studies conducted by CUH that evaluate immune checkpoint inhibitor drug response in cancer patients, combined with Microbiotica’s unrivalled microbiome profiling and analysis capability.
A consortium led by Riverlane has been awarded a £7.6 million grant from the government's Industrial Challenge Strategy Fund to deploy a highly innovative quantum operating system. The project will deliver an operating system that allows the same quantum software to run on different types of quantum computing hardware. The aim is to install Deltaflow.OS, a quantum operating system, on every quantum computer in the UK, thereby accelerating the commercialisation of the UK’s quantum computing sector.
Exvastat has been awarded a €3.6 million grant from the European Commission’s Innovative Medicines Initiative to fund a clinical study of Imprenti, an intravenous formulation of imatinib, in the treatment of COVID-19-associated Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). Under the award, Exvastat will collaborate with Vrije Universitat Amsterdam, the Amsterdam Medical Center, KABS Pharmaceutical Services of Canada and the clinical research organisation, Simbec-Orion.