Calculus Capital invests £2.5m in Axol Bioscience

Private equity firm Calculus Capital, a leading EIS and VCT investor, has completed its third deal in two weeks, investing £2.5m in Cambridge-based Axol Bioscience (Axol), a provider of stem cells produced from reprogrammed human blood and tissue cells.

Axol supplies high quality human cells especially live human neurons, created by stem cell technology, to many of the world’s biggest and best-known pharma companies and research institutions. These cells are used for medical research, disease modelling and drug development. Axol’s impressive client list includes top global pharmaceutical and biotech companies as well as leading academic institutes, such as Harvard University, King’s College London, and Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

The company generates stem cells from blood and tissue cells, extracted from healthy and diseased patients. These cells are able to self-renew and may be used to become any tissue in the human body.

Importantly, Axol’s unique and innovative approach to this process means that each cell line it produces for customers will be identical to the last production batch, ensuring the quality and the consistency required for research and drug development projects. Once a new cell line is developed from a healthy or diseased individual, it is added to Axol’s suite of ‘off the shelf’ products which may be purchased on their website. The combination of these properties means the stem cells supplied by Axol are hugely important for research into treatments for many serious illnesses and diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s.

Alexandra Lindsay of Calculus Capital, said: “Axol Bioscience is doing very important work; its products and services – stem cells and the culture systems required to maintain them – are essential to gene-based medical research. Our investment will enable Axol to grow and develop more product lines that are able to make a real and effective contribution to medical research efforts to combat killer diseases.”

Axol was founded in 2012 by its chairman Jonathan Milner, PhD, a very successful biotech entrepreneur and CEO Yichen Shi, PhD. Calculus is delighted to be backing a business which is leading the field in the use of stem cell technology in drug discovery.

Dr Shi said: “The market for our products is growing rapidly, all around the world, and the funding from Calculus will help us to make the most of that opportunity through new product development and increasing our sales and marketing capabilities.”