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The Electrospinning Company, first established in 2010 as a spin-out from research undertaken by the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), has received £1.5 million new funding led by London-based venture capital firm Downing Ventures, alongside VC firm MidVen, Newable Private Investing and the STFC.
The company uses technology called electrospinning to design, develop and manufacture biomaterials, known as ‘nanofibre scaffolds', which are made from synthetic polymers that are implanted into the human body; providing help for a range of medical patients and procedures, most typically in post-surgery recovery.
The 'scaffolds' are designed to mimic the body's natural extracellular matrix, which exists to provide support and signalling to surrounding cells, and the biomaterials are tailored so that they degrade or reabsorb naturally once the patient has healed.
Tendon surgery is just one example where the company's scaffold technology is being used in combination with traditional orthopaedic medical devices to improve the success rate of the medical procedure, by helping guide a patient's own cells into the wound healing site.
The Electrospinning Company supplied the first electrospun material to be used in a Food & Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medical device and has now been selling this product in the US for two years. The company is based in the growing Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, near Oxford, where the scaffolds are manufactured on site in a purpose-built facility.
Following earlier work with the University of Sheffield and the LVPrasad eye clinic in India, the company has also initiated a new project to develop a synthetic membrane that resembles amniotic membrane. Derived from human placenta, amniotic placenta is becoming increasingly popular as a bandage used for wound healing and eye surgery; a synthetic alternative would make this more affordable and available to far more patients.
Ann Kramer, Chief Executive Officer of the Electrospinning Company, commented: “We are excited about the prospects this new investment will bring for what we believe are highly flexible and extremely beneficial medical products. We are at an important growth inflection point for our business, as we enhance our technology platform and capacity. The funding will help us maintain the highest possible standards as we grow sales of existing product, increase our customer offer and develop new biomaterials.
“The deep insight of Will Brooks and the team at Downing Ventures, both in terms of their knowledge of the healthcare sector and their experience funding a wide variety of companies within it, gives us great confidence and we look forward to working with them.”
Will Brooks, Investment Director at Downing Ventures, added: “The Electrospinning Company is a brilliant example of the type of innovative technology and dedicated team that has the potential to deliver the return on investment we are looking for on behalf of our investors.
“Their established track record in the US really stood out to us and we plan to use our own experience of the US market to help them expand further, as well as in other markets that they have not yet pushed into.”
About The Electrospinning Company
The Electrospinning Company designs, develops and manufactures advanced biomaterials for use in implantable tissue-regenerative devices and sells a range of Mimetix® laboratory research products. The Company is located in a purpose-built facility on the Harwell Campus near Oxford with cleanrooms for R&D and manufacturing and is ISO 13485 medical device quality certified.