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Imperial Innovations Group plc (AIM: IVO, 'Innovations'), a leading technology commercialisation and investment group, has led a $28m funding round for Oxford Immunotec, alongside Invesco Perpetual and existing investors.
Oxford Immunotec is a medical diagnostics company developing novel diagnostic tests in the field of immunological disease. Spun out from the University of Oxford in 2002, Oxford Immunotec is a well-established, international business with rapid revenue growth.
Oxford Immunotec will use the funds raised to develop further its logistics, sales and delivery infrastructure in the US. In 2011, it increased its lab testing capacity by building a new CLIA lab facility in Memphis, through which it can achieve unparalleled US national coverage and turnaround time.
Oxford Immunotec's lead product is the T-SPOT® TBtest, an immunological blood test for the detection of latent tuberculosis (TB) infection. This represents a major global market opportunity, particularly in the US where certain professions undergo compulsory annual TB screenings and there are large populations of immunosuppressed patients, such as those with HIV or rheumatoid arthritis, for whom screening is mandated.
The World Health Organisation estimated in 2006 that 50 million latent TB screening tests were performed each year, representing a greater than $1bn per annum market opportunity for TB testing globally.
The T-SPOT® TBtest is replacing the traditional screening technology, the 90-year old tuberculin skin test, which can generate a high frequency of false-positive and false-negative skin reactions as well as being problematic to perform.
Innovations and Invesco Perpetual each invested $9.5m in this round. The company was also supported by existing investors including Clarus, New Leaf, DFJ Esprit, Wellington Partners, Kaiser Permanente Ventures, SPARK Ventures and the University of Oxford (OSEM) who invested the remaining $9 million. Following the investment Innovations will hold a 7% stake in the Company.
Prior to this investment, Oxford Immunotec had raised $82m across four rounds of institutional investment. Nigel Pitchford, Managing Director of Healthcare Investments at Innovations, will rejoin the board of Oxford Immunotec, having previously been on the board of the company from 2010-2011.
Susan Searle, Chief Executive Officer, Imperial Innovations, said:
"We are excited to have led this significant funding round for one of our collaborators, OSEM's, flagship assets. Oxford Immunotec is a well-run, high-growth company in an exciting space. This funding provides it with the capital to expand its operations in key markets and enables a UK university spinout to become a truly multinational business."
"We have benefitted significantly from Nigel Pitchford's insight and prior knowledge of Oxford Immunotec and are pleased to be leading this later stage investment for a company that is part of the Oxford Cluster."
Dr Peter Wrighton-Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Oxford Immunotec, said:
"This $28m funding exceeded our funding goal and is further validation of the market opportunity we are pursuing, the strength of our lab-based US business model and our early progress in penetrating that market. This funding will help us to expand sales & marketing at a faster rate, to penetrate new geographies and to accelerate the development and commercialisation of other assays for our expanding customer base."