BGF has invested £5m growth capital in Alnwick-based pharmaceutical company Arcinova following a period of rapid growth and development at its life sciences super site in Alnwick, Northumberland. The company will use the funding to drive continued innovation as well as international expansion.
Arcinova has been spearheading the use of new intensive manufacturing technology processes to support the rapid development of pioneering drugs for the treatment of life-threating illnesses including cancer.
As a result of its innovative approach, Arcinova – which works with a range of biotech and pharma companies – has more than doubled its customer base to 125 in the past two years, generating revenue of close to £9m.
The company was founded in 2016 by Professor Ian Shott CBE (CEO), and Paul Ryan (CFO), after the acquisition of a 15,000m2 contract research facility in Alnwick, previously owned by Covance.
Since then, the team has extended the facility’s capabilities into Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) manufacture and has brought together a range of specialisms including drug substance synthesis, formulation and manufacture as well as bioanalytic, metabolism and radiolabelling services. The facility is now one of the most technically advanced of its kind in the UK, with growing capacity to take on more work from both existing and new customers.
Professor Shott has been heavily involved in promoting clean and efficient chemistry and biotechnology processes to minimise the environmental impact of drug development and manufacture and help pharmaceutical companies take potentially transformative new medicines through clinical development quickly and efficiently.
The group is currently working on a major continuous technology project with Nottingham University, for which it successfully secured grant funding from Innovate UK.
BGF, a £2.5 billion investment company, will provide support as a long-term minority shareholder in the business. The initial funding will be used for further investment in the joint-project, as well as new equipment, infrastructure and people in the UK and overseas to further increase capacity.
Following an introduction by BGF, the company has appointed Mike Hudson, co-founder of Neuropharm, as non-executive Chair. With broad industry experience, Mike will provide support and guidance to the Arcinova team as it implements its growth plans.
This is the second company based in Alnwick to have received BGF’s backing, following its investment in family-owned housebuilder Cussins. BGF, which has made investments in over 220 growing companies across the UK, last month became the first and only investor to have been honoured for Innovation in the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.
Professor Ian Shott, CEO, Arcinova said: “This is an exciting time for Arcinova. We have a fantastic team, a world-class facility and strong market opportunity. We selected BGF because of their long-term approach to investing, and their ability to provide additional funding as we embark on a period of capital expenditure and international expansion.”
Barry Jackson, BGF, said: “Ian and Paul have the ambition and potential to build a modern, state-of-the-art business of significant scale.
“Given the long-standing history of the Alnwick site, which has been reorganised to drive the new business model since the acquisition, it is great to see the team powering up the business, expanding its footprint and securing a strong order book. We’re delighted to be backing Arcinova as its new minority investor.”
The deal was led for BGF by Barry Jackson, Rob Johnson and Mark Bryant.
Arcinova were advised by Ben Butler and Anna McGill of Womble Bond Dickinson and BGF we advised by Duncan Reid and Kirsty Adamson of Watson Burton.