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Foresight takes stake in UK diagnostics group Biofortuna

20 Mar 2012

UK venture capital trust manager Foresight Group has completed a growth capital investment of £1.25m in Biofortuna, a British molecular diagnostics company.

Biofortuna has developed a range of molecular diagnostic products using proprietary freeze-dried technology. Current genetic tests are stored and transported frozen and are required to be carefully thawed and mixed prior to the addition of patient DNA.

The company’s products are targeted at the transplantation market, matching the genetic type of organ recipients with donor organs. Biofortuna has partnered with the molecular diagnostics business of global life sciences giant Abbott, which is already distributing the company’s proprietary freeze-dried kits.

Foresight’s investment is spread across three of its VCTs and represents 60 per cent of the £2.1m fundraise for the company, with the balance put up by existing institutional investors RSGF II, Catapult and MLEF, private investors and management.

The new funds will enable the business to expand its manufacturing operations in line with sales growth, support applications for regulatory approvals, most notably in the US market, and broaden its product range to address companion diagnostics, antibody screening and disease identification, it said.

“Biofortuna’s freeze-dried kits are all about making a complex and sophisticated technology simpler and less costly for customers,” said Foresight investment director James Livingston.

“The technology can be applied to a broad range of significant healthcare markets and we are delighted to be working once again alongside [CEO] Simon Douglas.”

Douglas was formerly CEO of DNA Research Innovations and executive chairman of Lab 901, both previous Foresight investee companies. DRI, a DNA purification business, was sold to Invitrogen for $65m in 2004.

In its most recent exit Foresight sold its stake in Factory Media to Forward Internet Group for £8m, netting the firm with a return of more than double its initial £3.8m investment in 2006.

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