genedrive, the AIM-listed near patient molecular diagnostics company, has raised £6m in funding from new and existing equity investors through the issue of equity, loan notes and a broker option. The funding includes a £3.5m cornerstone investment from BGF, the UK’s most active investor in growing businesses. Based in Manchester, genedrive has developed the first portable device to diagnose the Hepatitis C virus based on detecting the virus’s genetic code. By removing the need for diagnosis to take place in large hospital laboratories, the device can be used by patients in remote areas of the world.
Genedrive’s kit is the first and only molecular HCV diagnostic device to enter the World Health Organisation’s pre-qualification process. Globally, around 70 million people have HCV, but despite the availability of affordable and effective treatments, less than 20% have been diagnosed due to a lack of available tests, particularly in remote locations in low- and middle-income countries.
BGF’s investment will be used to accelerate the commercial traction of Genedrive’s HCV-ID Kit, having signed a distribution agreement with global healthcare business, Sysmex Corporation. It will also be used for further development programmes including a diagnostic test for Tuberculosis – currently causing 1.6m deaths per year – and a test for antibiotic-induced infant deafness which affects 1 in 500 new-borns.
David Budd, chief executive of genedrive, comments: “Many millions of people are affected by Hepatitis C in low and middle-income countries, but diagnosis rates remain low. We have the first to market point-of-need molecular test, a strong commercial platform, and a clear strategy to deliver revenue growth.
“Our technology is easy to use, robust, versatile and affordable, and produces rapid results. Our research and development is ongoing and we are working to bring further diagnostic tests to market for use on the Genedrive® device. Securing BGF as a cornerstone investor and the further fundraising we have announced will put us in a strong position to deliver on these opportunities.”
Paul Stevens, an investor at BGF, comments: “As the first company to market a portable molecular diagnostic test for HCV, we believe genedrive could have a fundamental impact on mortality rates across the world.
“We’re delighted to be partnering with the business as it aims to accelerate the sales of its HCV test, as well as developing further diagnostic tests to address other significant healthcare challenges.”
Matt Widdall, an investor at BGF in Manchester, added: “It’s fantastic to see so much innovation coming from businesses in the North West. With a strong team of investors on the ground and an expanding portfolio of investments within the region, BGF is ideally placed to support a full range of growing companies from early stage to growth stage businesses and quoted.”