At 10am on the first Thursday of every month, OTM organises presentations at which some of its investee companies pitch to investors. If you would like an invite to the next event on Thursday 3rd June 2021, please enter your details here.
One company from the OT(S)EIS portfolio were seeking additional EIS investment. They presented virtually on Thursday 6th May at 10am. Anyone who wishes to contact the founders or Oxford Technology team with additional questions should contact us. To invest in these opportunities, you need to be a 'sophisticated investor' or a 'high net worth individual'. The definitions of these terms can be found here.
Before the company presentation, Bijan, a member of the OTM team and also CEO of Machine Discovery, gave a short presentation to introduce this new company. After a long wait, OTM made a £75k SEIS investment in Machine Discovery in April. The slides can be seen here, and the short presentation can be seen in the video below.
Agricultural seeds are very expensive - some more than £100,000/kg. It is important that the highest possible yield is achieved. One of the steps in preparing them for sale is to sterilise the seeds, so no bacteria or fungi can damage their growth prospects. Most agricultural seeds were treated with chemicals, but due to their damaging nature most of these have been banned. Zayndu has developed a method of sterilising seeds using a plasma generated in a chamber which does no damage at all to the environment or the seeds. It is also a faster and easier process with no drying or washing steps required. Furthermore, the treatment actually results in a higher % of the seeds germinating. In one case the % of seeds which germinated increased from 78% to 85%. Or, put another way, the % of seeds which did not germinate fell from 22% to 15%. This is of huge potential commercial value to farmers.
The founders of Zayndu are Dr Ralph Weir and Dr Felipe Iza. The technology was developed at Loughborough University, which is also a shareholder in the business. Zayndu has interest from several large seed companies. The business model will be a pay per use or monthly rental model.
OT(S)EIS invested £133,505 just before the end of the 2021 tax year. This investment was an EIS rather than an SEIS investment because Zayndu had already been in receipt of funding from Innovate UK. This investment secured the release of a £700,000 Innovate UK loan. To retain this loan, the founders needed to raise an additional £120,000 of EIS investment. This money was raised within an hour of the end of the presentation, and Zayndu are no longer accepting further investment at the current time.
Following the presentations, there was a musical interlude with pianist Anita DAttellis giving a live performance of Schubert’s Impromptu Op 90 No 4.
Finally, there was a Q&A session, during which the presenters answered questions submitted by the audience during the pitches.
If you have any questions about Oxford Technology or any of the companies presenting, please contact us.
Three companies from the OTM portfolio presented virtually on 30th March 2021
Diabetes is a huge global problem with 378m people with Type II diabetes. It is an enormous burden for health services and even more worrying, there are 1.07bn pre-diabetics globally. These are people who already have higher than healthy blood sugar levels, the precursor to developing full blown diabetes.
Published data from a 2 year clinical trial suggests that Glucoraphanin (GR), a naturally occurring compound found in broccoli, taken at a certain dose level in a soup, once per week, lowers elevated blood sugar to normal levels.
Whilst standard varieties of broccoli can contain GR, the amounts are generally low and unreliable. The Smarter Food Company is using a proprietary broccoli which has been specially developed, using traditional breeding methods, which has a particularly high GR content. The first large crop of this broccoli will be grown this summer and the company will then have enough to supply the first 88,000 portions in the form of a dry vegetable ‘cup-soup’. This product has the benefit of having a long shelf-life, can be easily stored and is light weight to distribute as well as tasting good. The vegetable soup is mixed with boiling water at the point of consumption and has no obvious taste of broccoli.
The plan is to sell the soup on subscription for £20 per month (four packets). A small price to pay to potentially avoid developing diabetes and significantly less than the cost to the NHS of treating this condition (£1bn+ 2018/19). With a huge number of pre-diabetics in the world, it is not hard to see how the revenues could be very large indeed for such a simple lifestyle intervention.
At present the company cannot legally make any health claim until it has sufficient clinical data to make a submission to the European Food Safety Authority and it is approved. The company is currently undertaking 1 out of a programme of 4 planned trials (costing ~£500k each), the first of which is due to complete in Q2 of 2022. So the plan is to launch the product on the market, but without a proprietary health claim, in February 2022 whilst further research is undertaken. A google search for the health benefits of GR yields many results. It is anticipated that sales will grow without a health claim and begin to generate profits.
The company has very low costs with just one employee and all its production outsourced to specialist suppliers. It is seeking to raise £200,000+ at £2.70 per share (£1.89 after EIS tax relief) to cover costs over the next year up to the time of the product launch. It has already secured £80,000 and has an expression of interest for at least a further £25k.
It is estimated that 79.6 million individuals will have glaucoma in 2020. Glaucoma is damage to the optic nerve leading to loss of sight. It is most commonly caused by high pressure in the eye but can also be caused by the inability of the eye to handle mechanical stress or low blood supply where the nerve fibers leave the eye. Connexin has understood that the initial cell death due to pressure or mechanical stress is only the initial part of the process. The cell death then continues by signalling between cells along a connexin pathway. There are no effective treatments for glaucoma caused by mechanical stresses or low blood supply which represent more than 25% of the cases.
In vivo experiments have shown that by blocking these channels the cells no longer communicate this death signal and the further loss of eyesight can be prevented.
Although a first molecule has been identified and shown to work in vivo, Connexin is looking to refine the molecule and find one with the highest activity and lowest side effects.
Connexin was founded by Carlos Velez, an experienced pharma business development consultant, when pharma companies told him that the asset they would buy at the earliest stage of development would be an ophthalmic product tackling an unmet need.
Connexin is currently fundraising and has several promising conversations on going with potential lead investors who will likely set the terms for this fundraising, so Carlos will be presenting this exciting work with a view to getting expressions of interest which he will be able to follow up once the terms have been set.
OT(S)EIS made an SEIS investment in Cytecom, a spin-out from Warwick University in July 2018. The obective of the investment was to build a bench-top machine which would automatically count the number of live bacteria in a sample in under an hour.
At the moment it takes several days to test for live bacteria, since the sample has to be placed on a suitable growing medium, which then has to be left to allow for the bacteria to grow.
Now the instrument is working and should find wide application in many industries. The first sale was achieved in March, (and this customer is now using £1,000 per month of the special pads required for each test) and there is a rapidly growing list of potential customers wanting demonstrations.
Among the potential uses are: The water industry to check for bacteria (1000s of these tests are done every year, each taking two days - this is a global need) . The veterinary industry to check for urinary tract infections in animals. (This won't be able to be done in humans until after clinical trials, but will eventually enable the rapid diagnosis in a hospital or even in a doctor’s surgery.) It will also be able to test whether a particular antibotic will be effective before it is prescribed. The first sale is to a company which is checking that there are no harmful bacteria present on seeds. Checking for bacteria on surfaces in hospitals and kitchens.
Cytecom is seeking to raise £100,000 at £2.23 per share to cover the costs until revenue for sales begins to arrive. This gives the company a pre-money valuation of £1.43 million. The OT development fund will be investing part of this.
One Company from the OT(S)EIS portfolio presented virtually on the 4th March 2021
On Thursday 4th March, one company seeking additional EIS investment made a 10 minute presentation.
The company presenting was:
Of all the investments in our portfolio, Bioarchitech is maybe the one with the greatest potential.
One of the reasons that cancer is such a killer is that cancer cells have a means of hiding from the immune system and so evade being dealt with in the same way that the immune system gets rid of other unwanted cells or viruses that enter the body.
The idea behind Bioarchitech is to use a particular virus to target cancer cells. This is known technology and works. But once inside the tumour cell, the Bioarchitech engineered virus starts producing molecules designed to attract and activate the immune system. Other molecules redirect the immune cells to latch on to specific fragments of the cancer displayed on its surface. From there on the immune system takes over. The T cells recognise the tumour cells as foreign and destroy them.
So Bioarchitech is developing a therapy in which a cancer could be destroyed completely with a single injection.
This technology is now working in vitro. (The presentation will contain a wonderful demonstration of this).
Investment is now being sought to demonstrate this working in animal models. Then, it is hoped, a partnership deal will be struck with a big pharma company, with cash flowing into Bioarchitech as an upfront payment, followed by more payments as milestones are met followed ultimately with a royalty on sales. Any investment will be EIS compliant. The founder, Dr Geoff Hale, will be investing an additional £400,000 himself at £4 per share, and the company is seeking up to an additional £1.5m.
£2m at a price of £4 per share, would represent about 30% of the fully diluted equity of the company.
Three Companies from the OT(S)EIS portfolio presented virtually on the 4th February 2021:
BioMoti is developing a much better way to target long-lasting chemotherapy and reduce their side-effects. Their lead ovarian cancer drug was validated by a major pharma company and ranked the best early stage oncology asset they had seen. Unfortunately, the pharma company wound up their early stage unit due to a reorganisation. BioMoti have since raised significant grant funding and confirmed promise in advanced preclinical models. BioMoti is now raising a minimum of £200k to develop a manufacturing standard towards producing material for late preclinical and clinical trials. The share price provided is before EIS tax relief.
Oxwash has made excellent progress since the initial SEIS investment in March 2019. The idea behind Oxwash is to make the most efficient and environmentally friendly laundry possible (washing normally at room temperature, Ozone generated on site as the main cleaning agent, all microplastics filtered out, if heat is used, recover this heat for use in the next wash, all delivery and collection by electric bike etc) and then to install hundreds and later thousands of these units across the world. So far there are three, in Oxford, Cambridge and London (now corporate headquarters). The idea is lots of small units as near as possible to the end users to minimise transport costs.
Oxwash is now raising up to £1m by means of a loan, the details of which are provided in the associated documentation.
Combat Medical develops and sells medical devices for heat and gas assisted chemotherapy that has shown to significantly improve clinical outcomes and survival. To date they have supplied +55,000 bladder cancer and +3,200 peritoneal cancer treatments. Combat 's sales had grown year on year from when we first invested in 2013, until COVID struck and bladder cancer treatment was suspended in many countries. The value of their technology became evident as sales bounced back up as soon as COVID restrictions relaxed. Combat is seeking funding to support two pivotal clinical trials. The new trials are designed from results from recent phase II and large real world data series (soon to be published), that if scaled up with similar results would establish Combat’s treatment as the new standard of care and drive rapid adoption.
Two companies from the OT(S)EIS portfolio presented virtually on the 7th January 2021:
Designer Carbon Materials is a spin-out from Oxford University. The company was formed by Professor Kyriakos Porfyrakis to find commercial applications for endohedral fullerenes, hollow spheres of carbon atoms the simplest of which has 60 carbon atoms, with a single atom of another species inside the sphere. OT(S)EIS invested at the start in 2014.
Several potential applications have been found, of which the furthest advanced is the ‘atomic-clock-on-a-chip’. In N@C60, a single nitrogen atom is at the centre of the cage, and, in atomic terms, a huge distance from the nearest other atom, something not experienced at any other place on earth. In this environment the nitrogen atom has a quantum spin resonance at a very precise frequency. If about 10,000 N@C60 molecules can be assembled, then the resonances synchronise and the resonance can be sensed at a distance and this can then serve as a time signal to drive what would, in theory, be an extremely accurate clock. But unlike other atomic clocks, which are large (the smallest now being matchbox sized), this could exist on a small chip inside a mobile phone. There are numerous potential applications.
DCM has now received a total of 6 orders for small quantities of N@C60, each at a price of more than £100m per gram (we think this is the most expensive material on the planet, but it would take 4 years to make a milligram at the moment). But the orders were typically worth £20,000 - the quantities ordered were tiny.
DCM has signed an exclusive agreement with a company in the US. DCM gives this company exclusive rights to N@C60 for the atomic clock application. The company undertakes to purchase only from DCM, and also to pay for scale up manufacturing, if we get that far. At the moment, scientists in the US are working on producing a working atomic-clock-on-a-chip, but still have some way to go to achieve this objective and may not succeed.
In the meanwhile, Kyriakos has been appointed as head of the Materials and Chemical Engineering group at the School of Engineering and Science at the Greenwich University, which is particularly appropriate given that Greenwich is the centre of world time (Greenwich Mean Time, Greenwich Meridian, home of Harrison’s clocks etc). From March 2021, Kyriakos will be the new Director of Research at Greenwich where he can push for further collaboration between the University and spin out companies.
This will have many advantages for DCM in the long run, but the last year has been something of a washout, with the labs being closed and very little practical progress being made. DCM has very low overheads - less that £50,000 per year, but it has now run out of funds, and needs to raise a minimum of £50,000 and up to £150,000 to keep going for the next two years or so. The hope is that during this time, there will be a working demonstrator of the atomic clock on a chip, and if this happens then DCM should be in a very good position.
More information can be found at http://www.designercarbon.com/
OT(S)EIS made an SEIS investment in Lupe in February 2017. The two ex-Dyson engineer founders had an idea for a better vacuum cleaner, one which would both clean better and which would also be better for the planet, designed to last for a long time, with parts that could be replaced if necessary, rather than having a three year life before being thrown into landfill.
In this aim they have succeeded. The first production units have now arrived and been sold, to rave reviews, the second production units are on their way, and a third batch has been ordered. Vacuum Wars (which itself states that it is for vacuum nerds) did objective tests on 45 of the leading brands of cordless vacuum cleaners. When they present the results, they cover up the name of the winner to start with because it is so far ahead of all the others. You’ve guessed it the winner is Lupe. And they explain why Lupe is so much better, even when being operated on low power than others being operated at full power.
Forbes described Lupe as 'The Rolls Royce of Vacuums". There have been 265 reviews to date, all of them positive although none as nerdy, objective (detailed measurement of actual suction achieved) and super enthusiastic as Vacuum Wars. Sales leapt to more than 25 per day at £499 each when the Vacuum Wars review first came out and with 50% of sales being in the USA.
Lupe has succeeded brilliantly in what is we hope the most difficult stage of its journey. It has successfully gone into production with what is the best vacuum cleaner in the world. Now it needs more capital to scale up everything. More production (many parts, inc the batteries and the motor need to be ordered and paid for in advance). More marketing, more financial administration etc etc.
Lupe is seeking to raise capital. Precisely how much and at what share price is not yet decided (as of 17 December) , but this will have been decided by the time of the presentation.
More information is available at https://lupetechnology.com/
Four Companies from the OT(S)EIS portfolio presented virtually on 3rd December 2020:
In February 2020, PolyCAT developed a prototype antiviral coating based on its existing technology platform. It seems that the way that the antimicrobial compound is presented on the surface of the treated materials is particularly good at deactivating viruses compared to competing technologies.
The proprietary silver impregnated fabric conforms to ISO-18184:2019 (the internationally recognised standard for efficacy of antiviral fabrics) achieving an 'excellent' rating on all tests. Recognising this, the company signed on an international sales and marketing team to push this and other PolyCAT technologies to a wider audience. The antiviral material is down to the final three at 2 major household brand names, and in advanced trials at 3 others.
All these opportunities represent long term technology goals for these potential customers which will outlast the immediate Covid-19 crisis. PolyCAT has also started a major funded project with the US DoD/UK MoD evaluating another technology designed on the same platform.
The company expects to grow significantly in 2021, and has started an EIS-eligible Series A fundraising round for £1m to accelerate this growth.
More information is available at https://www.polycatuk.co.uk/
Etcembly is seeking to create a machine learning platform, EMLy (Etcembly Machine Learning) that contains a database of the human T cell repertoire of TCRs (T Cell Receptors) to interpret the immune system in the context of health and disease. Etcembly brings transformative acceleration to immunotherapy and vaccine design.
Should there be a future pandemic outbreak, Etcembly will be able to design a candidate vaccine within days of the viral sequence being known. Etcembly started in January 2020 and has made excellent progress forging numerous partnerships with the National Cancer Centre Singapore, Bristol Myers Squibb, Parker Institute of Immunotherapy and Tessa Therapeutics, Imperial College and Great Ormond Street Hospital.
EMLy now stores more than 300M TCR sequences in its database and this number will exceed a billion by the end of this year- a significant milestone as this will have captured the natural diversity of the human T cell repertoire within an individual.
During November, Etcembly has raised £280,000 at £1.58 per share which included £70,000 from OT(S)EIS. They are aiming to fill this round to £500,000 from additional investors. The funds will be used to hire talent to bring EMLy to market ready for partnering and licensing deals.
More information is available at https://www.etcembly.com/
GripAble is developing an ecosystem of proprietary sensor-based devices and an engaging software and data platform, providing remote physical assessment and therapy. The system allows much of the therapy that now takes place in hospitals to be performed by the patient at-home, while still under therapist guidance.
The first product is a digital handgrip device that connects wirelessly to GripAble’s mobile software app allowing patients with hand, wrist and arm impairment to complete objective assessments and engaging therapy games. A study at Imperial showed an eightfold increase in exercise among patients given the opportunity to use the device, with example case studies emerging of individuals achieving fourfold increases in strength after sustained use.
There has been significant pre-launch sales traction (>400 systems deployed) and scalable manufacturing has been achieved. GripAble is raising a £1.5m round, £1.2m of which has already been committed, at a pre-money valuation of £9.25m.
More information is available at https://gripable.co/
SIME is a Clinical AI company applying medical excellence, proprietary AI and data science to deliver rapid respiratory intensive care diagnostics for acute unmet needs. The Company's clinically proven technology enables early intervention in life-threatening diseases - saving lives, improving outcomes and reducing costs.
The first product to market, a breakthrough diagnostic test clinically proven to predict neonatal respiratory distress at birth, will be marketed to Neonatal Intensive Care Units in Europe, US, China and Latin America. The Company has pioneer installations in key markets (Copenhagen, London, Xi'an, Los Angeles), is protected by an extensive IP portfolio and has a world class management and scientific team.
SIME is currently fundraising to reach CE Mark and first milestone-based revenue in 2021 (signed commercial agreements in China and Latin America). SIME is raising £1.5m of which £500,000 will be as an advance subscription agreement at a 20% discount to the price of the balance of the £1.5m. £200,000 of this has already been subscribed.
More information is available at https://simedx.com/
Five companies from the OT(S)EIS portfolio presented virtually on 5th November 2020:
Working with leading doctors, Active Needle uses ultrasound passed through a needle to improve injections, biopsies and tattoos. Biopsies and injections can be made more accurate thanks to the greatly increased visibility of the needle on the ultrasound imaging, and because the needle penetrates more easily and therefore straighter when ultrasound is applied. Remarkably, biopsies currently miss their targets in up to 20% of cases. The benefit of easier penetration and reduced force also applies to tattooing – which is a $1bn market. Their biopsy device is in the final throws of obtaining a CE mark and sales are expected next year. Finally, working with Glaxo and AstraZeneca, Active Needle is developing a device for accurate dosing and injection of drugs in preclinical testing.
More information is available at www.activeneedle.com
Molecular Warehouse develops diagnostics for a wide range of biomarkers, that are as easy to use as blood glucose meters, so are ideal for distributed use either at point of care or at home. This is achieved by adding biological switches to the glucose enzymes which are triggered by the presence of the specific analyte of interest. Applications are medical but also agricultural (shorter time to market). Both Australia and California’s wine growers have suffered due to smoke damage from forest fires. Being able to identify which grapes are damaged and which are not is essential. Molecular Warehouse can leverage existing manufacturing capability to keep manufacturing cost very low. Molecular Warehouse is seeking £250k to develop the technology further and support the launch of its first 4 tests.
More information is available at www.molecularwarehouse.com
Curileum is seeking a minimum of £200k and more if possible to finish the chemical analysis of the now-isolated active component of a Traditional Chinese Medicine, which reduces the rate of polyp formation (the first stage of bowel cancer). The plan is to file a composition of matter patent, to conduct a 4 week trial in mice to show the effect using only the active ingredient, and, all being well, to open licensing negotiations with several large pharma companies who have said they are interested as soon as there is in vivo data. If all this works, the ask will be for £5m up front followed by downstream payments of c. £250m. So, although substantial technical risks remain, the upside is also substantial. This is potentially a medicine which would be taken by millions of people every day for years (a bit like statins).
Enter your name and email address to watch a recording of Curileum's pitch
More information is available at www.curileum.com
Spendology is one of those rare businesses likely to experience a considerable upside as the UK recovers from the Coronavirus pandemic. Brits love to travel and spend an astonishing £47bn each year overseas - with £27bn exchanged in the UK before they travel. With the pandemic driving customers away from the High Street and with increasing confidence in ecommerce, travellers will be more likely than ever to order their travel cash online. Spendology Cloud allows the travel industry to take on the supermarkets, Post Office and specialist Bureaux de Change with a white label travel cash add-on that can be integrated with holiday user journeys to create additional passenger revenues and profit. Spendology has already signed up Thomas Cook, Kuoni and Barrhead Travel, is a preferred supplier to EasyJet Holidays, and is engaged with TUI, OnTheBeach, Saga, ABTA and many other travel-related businesses. Spendology is raising £700k - with a pre-money valuation of £1.1m and £575k already committed - to provide a runway towards travel industry recovery and future growth.
More information is available at www.spendology.com
Process Vision now has several of its LineVu systems being tested in gas pipelines, both in the UK and North America. These enable pipeline operators, including National Grid in the UK to see contamination events, when unwanted liquids or solids enter their gas network from suppliers. When contaminants are not detected, flow meters significantly over-read ($0.5M to $1M$/year) and damage can be catastrophic, on occasion leading to pipeline rupture or explosions at compressor stations and gas turbine power stations. Process Vision has received expressions of interest to install some 1,500 LineVu systems from 6 Energy companies, in the UK, Canada, The Middle East, and Australia. Covid has caused delays, and EIS capital is sought at the reduced share price of £2 per share to bridge the gap to breakeven. The systems will be installed on an ongoing fee per month basis.
More information is available at www.processvision.com
If you have any questions about Oxford Technology or any of the companies presenting, please contact us.