Mercia Technologies PLC (AIM: MERC), the national investment group focused on the identification, creation, funding and scaling of innovative technology businesses with high-growth potential from the UK regions, is pleased to announce that its portfolio company, Oxford Genetics Limited ("Oxford Genetics"), has received £6.5million of new investment in a syndicated round comprising Canaccord Genuity Limited ("Canaccord") (formerly Hargreave Hale), Invesco Asset Management Limited ("Invesco") and Mercia. Mercia invested £0.4million as part of the new funding round which now values Oxford Genetics at an undiluted, post-money valuation of £30.5million.
Today's announcement, which results in Mercia's direct equity stake reducing to 33.3% (from 40.5%), follows the RNS Reach issued on 28 February 2019 confirming six new licensing deals, further highlighting the considerable commercial progress that Oxford Genetics is making in the rapidly expanding biotechnology sector.
Oxford Genetics operates in the synthetic biology market providing world leading technologies and advanced techniques for drug and gene therapy development. The world's first biologic, insulin, was brought to the market in the early 1980s and today approximately 20% of all treatments are biologics, with over a quarter of new therapeutics approved in the US in 2017 being biologics. This demonstrates the highly progressive nature of this expanding sector.
Grown from the foundations of patented DNA engineering methods, and with 10 patent families covering its diverse technology portfolio, Oxford Genetics now offers a suite of novel solutions for gene therapy drug discovery, antibody therapy development and CRISPR gene editing.
Ryan Cawood, Founder and CEO of Oxford Genetics, said: "This significant investment round will enable Oxford Genetics to further secure its market-leading position in the expanding fields of CRISPR, gene therapy and antibody engineering. Through our continued investment in automation and optimising our commercialisation strategy, we aim to maximise shareholder value and exceed our ambitious growth targets.
Throughout our journey, Mercia's investment model has been pivotal to Oxford Genetics' current success. The ability to leverage capital and continued support from Mercia via seed stage through to later investment rounds has enabled us to attract excellent syndicate investors onto our share register. We are excited to welcome Canaccord Genuity onto our share register alongside Invesco Asset Management and look forward to working with all of our investors to grow the business over the coming years."
Dr Mark Payton, Chief Executive Officer of Mercia Technologies and a non-executive director of Oxford Genetics, said: "We have backed Oxford Genetics since day one, working closely with Ryan who has built both an impressive team and a highly scalable business model. Full year revenue to April 2019 is set to achieve c.300% growth on last year and the additional investment announced today will continue to facilitate this growth, as Oxford Genetics moves from an important domestic business to a global player in this specialist field of biotech."