Atlas completes £16.9 million series B financing led by Novartis Venture Funds

  • Wednesday, 20 July 2011
  • in News

Funds to accelerate launch of Atlas’ point-of-care test for Chlamydia and gonorrhoea.

Atlas announces that it has raised £16.9 million from a syndicate of new and existing investors led by Novartis Venture Funds, and Consort Medical plc.

The new investors in this series B financing are Novartis Venture Funds, LSP (Life Sciences Partners), BB Biotech Ventures and Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation. The £16.9 million investment, which will be drawn down over three years, will be used to accelerate the global launch of Atlas’ point-of-care products for Chlamydia and gonorrhoea. It will also be used for the development of other infectious disease tests and expand the immunoassay capability of the system. Atlas’ system is a highly novel molecular diagnostic system for the ultra-rapid diagnosis of a broad range of infectious diseases using either nucleic acid or immuno-assays. It is based on a patent- protected electrochemical sensor that combines speed and accuracy.

The Atlas system will make it possible, for the first time, to carry out infectious disease tests in primary care clinics and GP surgeries that are as accurate as those carried out in hospital laboratories. This will help clinicians commence treatment promptly and ensure much improved compliance, particularly in the area of sexually transmitted diseases where a significant proportion of patients fail to return for test results or follow on treatment. The newly announced financing follows a £1.5 million round in February 2011 supported by Consort Medical plc and other investors. The Company has been funded previously, and continues to be supported, by YFM Equity Partners, Braveheart Investment Group, Wyvern Asset Management, the Crescent Seedcorn Fund and private investors.

Dr John Clarkson, Chief Executive Officer of Atlas, commented: "We are delighted to welcome the new investors at this exciting time when the Company's first product, a test for the sexually transmitted disease Chlamydia, is being transferred to manufacture and the core capabilities of the sensor chemistry are being expanded. This investment syndicate led by Novartis Venture Funds brings a wealth of experience in the healthcare sector and an extensive network of contacts in the diagnostics industry."

Florent Gros, Managing Director, Novartis Venture Funds, commented: "Dr Clarkson and his team have accomplished quite an astonishing technical feat. We have searched hard and long for novel molecular diagnostic technologies and the Atlas platform is a very ingenious solution to the key issues that have hindered the development of ultra-rapid and highly sensitive point-of-care molecular diagnostic instrumentation. Combined with the ability to make immunoassay tests this makes for a diversified all-in-one diagnostic platform that will be commercialized around the end of 2012. We are very excited by the Company's prospects."

About Novartis Venture Funds
The Novartis Venture Funds, established in 1996 currently manages over $750 million in committed capital. NVF invests in companies which have the potential to change a core therapeutic field or explore new business areas that will be critical to patient care. Our primary interest is in the development of novel therapeutics and platforms as well as medical devices, diagnostics, and delivery systems. The Funds invest for financial objectives at all stages, but prefers to invest in the early-stages of company development. With eight investment professionals located in Basel, Switzerland and Cambridge, MA the team has extensive experience in pharmaceutical R&D and venture capital.

About Consort Medical
Consort Medical plc is a leader in medical devices for drug delivery and device technologies. The Group develops drug delivery systems for the pharmaceutical industry and disposable airway management products for critical care settings in hospitals. Consort Medical develops and manufactures metered dose inhaler valves, auto-injectors, needle-free injectors, actuators, compliance aids, dry powder devices, disposable facemasks, breathing circuits, video laryngoscopes and laryngeal tubes. The Group has a Head Office in Hemel Hempstead, UK and manufacturing facilities in King's Lynn, Norfolk, and Nelson, Lancashire in the UK, Indianapolis, Indiana and Kent, Ohio in the US. Consort Medical is a public company quoted on the full list of the London Stock Exchange (LSE: CSRT). About YFM Equity Partners YFM Equity Partners has two wholly owned subsidiary companies which are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. YFM Private Equity Limited (122120) and YFM Venture Finance Limited (224728) have been managing funds specialising in transforming small businesses for over 25 years. YFM Equity Partners invests between £100k and £10m of equity and has a current portfolio of over 250 companies in the UK. The team of over 50 people, based across six regional offices (Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield) is dedicated to working alongside management teams to create transformational growth and success. YFM Equity Partners, through its regulated subsidiaries, manages a number of investment funds. This release may not be taken as an invitation to invest in any company or any fund. Before taking any investment decision, independent advice should be taken and this may vary according to individual circumstances.

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