Deal Round-up 12/11/01

Advent Venture backs Elumin; Midlands property group buys from Marconi; Immunotherapy company takes $39.5m second round funding; Stem cell research firm off the ground with £250,000 cash injection

Midlands property group buys real eastate from Marconi

Bank of Scotland Corporate Banking, Birmingham, has arranged a £45m debt finance package enabling Midlands property group St Modwen to buy eleven properties from Marconi.

The group has paid £33m for six industrial estates in Rugby, Stafford, Manchester’s Trafford Park, Liverpool and Accrington, three properties in Hemel Hempstead, Stafford and Poole and two sports grounds in Dudley and Rugby.

Immunotherapy company takes $39.5m second round funding

MERIX Bioscience, a company researching immunotherapy drugs, has secured $39.5m second round funding including an undisclosed sum from German VC TVM. $4m of the money raised will be used to help expand the company’s European base through the construction of a research base at Erlangen, Germany.

The US-based company conducts dendritic cell research and clinical trials to fight diseases such as cancer. Its platform technology includes ways to optimise the preparation of dendritic cells, methods for the antigen loading of dendritic cells and the application of vaccines in the treatment of cancer, chronic infectious diseases and immune disorders.

Stem cell research firm off the ground with £250,000 cash injection

Two scientists at the University of Sheffield conducting stem cell research have secured £250,000 from the White Rose Technology Seedcorn Fund (WRTSF). Peter Andrews, Professor of Biomedical Science and Harry Moore, Professor of Reproductive Biology at the University of Sheffield will use the money raised to form a new company, Axordia.

Many scientists believe stem cell research will provide new approaches to the production of cells and tissues that could be used in ‘tissue replacement therapies.’ These therapies could then be used to cure or replace body organs that have succumbed to a number of debilitating diseases including diabetes, liver failure and multiple sclerosis.

Advent Venture backs Elumin

ELumin, a manufacturer of electro-luminescent materials, has secured £4m second round funding from Advent Venture Partners. The money raised will be used to expand the business including the acquisition of a similar company spun out from Cambridge Consultants. Advent had also invested in the second round.

Electro-luminescence involves passing low voltage AC through a sandwich of phosphors. The material produces high levels of ‘cold light’ output using low levels of power consumption. This sort of display technology is of particular importance to manufacturers of mobile phones, points of sale (advertising) and decorative lighting. The purchase of the EL department from Cambridge Consultants will give the company access to additional engineers, a number of EL patents, and a number of significant contracts in the consumer marketplace.