Cambridge has always been at the forefront of innovation. As the leading venture capital investor in Cambridge, CIC plays a central role in commercialising this innovation for the benefit of society. In the last year, CIC’s existing portfolio has continued to grow in value and we are proud to add new investments in innovations ranging from machine learning to animal health.
Edward Benthall, Chairman

 

Multiple investments in category leading, deep tech companies

During 2020, CIC made 19 investments in 2 new and 17 existing portfolio companies.

In May we invested in PetMedix, a company that has an innovative platform for the creation of fully species-specific therapeutic antibodies, enabling the discovery of its own pipeline of veterinary medicines to target some of the most important clinical areas in animal health. 

In November we were pleased to announce that CIC led a £7.1M Series A in Seldon, a cloud agnostic Machine Learning (ML) deployment specialist which works in partnership with industry leaders such as Google, Red Hat, IBM and Amazon Web Services. You can find out more about why we invested here.

We also continued to support our existing portfolio companies by co-leading a $5.4 million Series A investment round in Geospock, participating in a $8.5 million Series A funding round in AudioTelligence and contributing to funding for CMR Surgical, Congenica, Microbiotica, Sense Biodetection, PragmatIC, Gyroscope Therapeutics and Secondmind, amongst others.

 

financings and grants

Several companies within our portfolio raised significant capital or were awarded prestigious grants.

Congenica completed a £39 million Series C round, Gyroscope Therapeutics completed a £50 million Series B financing and Bicycle Therapeutics added more than $60 million to its cash resources during Q3 2020 from ATM offerings and debt financing.

A consortium led by Riverlane was awarded a £7.6 million grant from the government's Industrial Challenge Strategy Fund to deploy a highly innovative quantum operating system. Exvastat won two European grants one of which was part of a consortium awarded a €3.6 million Innovative Medicines Initiative grant to fund clinical study of imatinib in the treatment of COVID-19-associated ARDS with its collaborators at Vrije Universiteit medical centre (VUmc) in Amsterdam.

 

partnering and collaborations

Throughout the year, CMR Surgical continued to introduce the Versius® Surgical Robotic System across markets in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, with over 1,000 in-human surgical procedures successfully completed. Versius has created significant opportunity for greater adoption of minimal access surgery (MAS), otherwise known as keyhole surgery, and has been used to perform a broad range of procedures from complex cholecystectomies to hysterectomies, across its early adopting centres. Having initially launched in India, a country internationally renowned for laparoscopic surgery, CMR’s global footprint has increased significantly, with hospitals across Europe and Asia acquiring Versius over the last 12-18 months.

At the start of the year, Microbiotica announced a major collaboration with Cancer Research UK and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to identify and develop microbiome co-therapeutics and biomarkers for cancer patients receiving immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy.

In February, Bicycle Therapeutics entered into a strategic collaboration agreement with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, to discover, develop and commercialize novel Bicycle®-based immuno-oncology therapies, including a $30 million upfront payment.

In March, Sense Biodection partnered with Phillips Medisize to develop and scale-up production of its rapid COVID-19 test in order to meet the growing demand for rapid diagnostics.

In May, Inivata announced the formation of a strategic collaboration with NeoGenomics, Inc (NASDAQ: NEO), for the commercialisation of its InVisionFirst®-Lung liquid biopsy test in the United States. As part of the collaboration, NeoGenomics made a $25 million equity investment in Inivata to take a minority shareholding with an option to buy the company outright. In October, Inivata formed a collaboration with Maverick Therapeutics for use of RaDaR™ assay and in December announced its participation in a major research collaboration to investigate integrated diagnostics for the early detection of lung cancer with the aim of increasing survival rates, alongside improving the efficiency of testing in people at high risk of cancer in the NHS.

And in December, Gyroscope Therapeutics and the University of Pennsylvania announced a research agreement to develop gene therapies for serious eye diseases.

 

SOFTWARE Product launches

Riverlane marked a ‘hello world’ moment in September, with the successful trial of its quantum operating system Deltaflow.OS®, using quantum hardware belonging to leading trapped-ion company, Oxford Ionics.

Audio Analytic announced that 2021 will be the year smartphones understand the acoustic world around us when its ai3-nano™ compact sound recognition technology was pre-certified and optimised to run on the new Snapdragon 888 5G Mobile Platform. The Snapdragon 888 will be used as the basis for Android smartphones arriving in 2021 and Audio Analytic’s AI technology opens up a range of exciting and innovative capabilities for OEMs. You can read more in our blog here.

Congenica launched Congenica Express, an update to its clinical decision support platform that will provide automated classification, evidence and reporting of recurrent ‘known’ variants that customers observe in their rare disease cases, significantly saving time while maximizing diagnostic yield and laboratory throughput and enabling complex genomic data interpretation and reporting in as little as 5 minutes.

Finally, Origami Energy announced that its technology platform will play a key role in the UK's largest vehicle-to-grid site, the Bus2Grid Innovation project.

Clinical development and approvals

Bicycle Therapeutics expanded its clinical pipeline with two new programmes having entered the clinic in 2020. And the first patient was dosed in the phase IIa trial of Bicycle® Toxin Conjugate BT1718.

Gyroscope Therapeutics received FDA clearance for orbit subretinal delivery system, FDA Fast Track Designation was granted for GT005, the first patient received investigational gene therapy and the first patient was dosed in the Phase II HORIZON Trial.

Exvastat started a Phase II trial of oral imatinib in hospitalised patients with respiratory symptoms associated with COVID-19 infection.

 

Supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs in the ecosystem

Start Codon, the life science and healthcare business accelerator based in Cambridge and co-founded by CIC, announced that it had closed Start Codon Fund I LP at £15 million. The fund will be used to support Start Codon’s offering to start-ups, which includes a minimum of £250,000 seed funding, business support services, expert guidance, and access to cutting-edge office and lab facilities. Investors in the fund include CIC and Novartis.

CIC also co-founded, together with the University of Cambridge, ARM, Martlet Capital and Ewan Kirk, the founder of Cantab Capital, a new deep tech accelerator called DeepTech.labs. DeepTech.labs is a global accelerator and seed fund connecting the Cambridge ecosystem of leading researchers, tech organisations and entrepreneurs to build world-changing companies. Fundraising for Deeptech.labs’ fund will commence later this year.

 

Awards and recognitions

One of our favourite highlights is seeing the technological advances and hard work of our founders and companies recognised in awards. Below is a small selection from 2020.

 

Team development

We continued to expand our team and in 2020 were pleased to welcome Ian Jauncey as an Operating Partner, Nick Richards as General Counsel and Chris Tapper as an Associate.

Ian is a technology and life sciences investor and entrepreneur. He shares his time between managing his private investment portfolio and assisting our companies through critical growth stages. Ian was the lead in the world beating team that invented the first optical fibre amplifier, a key enabler for the internet. He then worked in analysis and consultancy, eventually heading up a business division for Siemens AG, before initiating several tech businesses, acquiring others and expanding them internationally, leading to multiple exits.

Nick has over 15 years’ experience advising institutional, corporate and individual investors and the companies in which they invest, especially in the technology and life sciences sectors. Prior to joining us, Nick was a senior associate at an international law firm having qualified into the private equity team of a Magic Circle law firm and completed a secondment to the legal department of Goldman Sachs.

Chris specialises in life sciences investments. He previously worked at C4X Discovery, an AIM-listed drug discovery biotechnology company, as part of the Corporate Strategy and Development team, where he focused on identifying and sourcing opportunities for in licensing, collaboration and internal development.

We were also delighted to announce Carol Cheung’s promotion Principal. Carol joined us as an Associate in 2016 to focus on our technology investments and is now responsible for managing our positions in Cytora and Geospock.

CIC’s deep respect and connection with the Cambridge ecosystem impressed me. There is no shortage of ambition at CIC, and I wanted to work for a company that is as ambitious as I am. I was drawn towards its vision of making Cambridge (and CIC) world-leaders in scientific and technological innovation.
Chris Tapper, Associate