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Government funding brings ReNeuron to Wales

Stem cell specialist moves from former base in England

Wales flagStem cell specialist ReNeuron will shift its operations from England to Wales on the back of an equity investment and funding by the Welsh government.

Arthurian Life Sciences - an investment fund run by biotech guru Sir Chris Evans that manages Wales' £100m ($152m) life sciences kitty - will take a £5m stake in the Guildford-based company.

Meanwhile, ReNeuron also stands to receives £7.8m in grant money to help it establish a manufacturing and development facility in South Wales within the next two years that will support the clinical development and launch of its stem cell therapies.

The announcement is part of a wider fundraising by ReNeuron that has raised a total of £33m and will help support the loss-making company for another three years, which should be sufficient to bring its pipeline forward to the partnering stage.

"The Welsh grant package enables us to take control over the manufacture of our stem cell therapy candidates as they get closer to market," said ReNeuron's chief executive Michael Hunt.

ReNeuron currently has three main drug development programmes, including ReN001 for stroke which us due to start phase II testing later this year, ReN002 for critical limb ischaemia which is about to enter phase I, and ReN003 for hereditary eye disease retinitis pigmentosa, due to start clinical testing in 2014.

The company's main technology platform is the CTX neural stem cell line, a standardised product that has been shown in preclinical trials to stimulate natural repair mechanisms ReNeuron hopes will form the basis of a number of 'off-the-shelf' stem cell therapies.

"Among the hundreds of deals Arthurian has screened as it seeks investments for the Wales Life Sciences Fund, this is one of the most exciting and hugely significant transactions for both Wales and the future of medicine," commented Sir Chris.

One of the drivers for the decision was the proximity of Cardiff University, which is one of the leading UK centres for stem cell research.

ReNeuron posted a loss of £6.3m last year and at the end of March 2013 was sitting on cash reserves of around £3.5m.

22nd July 2013

From: Research

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