Gresham House Ventures has invested £2.25m into Metrion Biosciences, a contract research organisation (CRO) catering to the drug discovery market.

Metrion Biosciences (Metrion) is a specialist contract research company providing drug discovery services to the worldwide pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry.

The Company is a leader in the field of ion channel biology and works with life science companies to assess the activity of innovative new compounds on human ion channels associated with disease, as well as to screen potential new drugs for off-target effects.

The £2.25m investment from Gresham House Ventures on behalf of the Baronsmead VCTs is part of a £2.75m fundraising round, which will allow Metrion to increase its capacity through enlarged laboratory facilities and specialist equipment, adding regulated cardiac safety testing services and growing its engineered cell line library. In addition, the Cambridge-based firm will look to expand its presence in the US.

As the global search for breakthroughs in medicine intensifies, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries are demonstrating an increasing demand for ion channel services. Ion channels, which form approximately 19% of human proteins available to therapeutic drug discovery, are associated with the vitality of life, while defects in ion channel function are involved in many common ailments, including pain, immune disorders, migraines and genetic conditions.

Gresham House Ventures’ investment is led by Maya Ward, associate director, supported by investment directors Brendan Gulston and Tom Makey. Maya will join Metrion’s Board as a non-executive director.

Maya Ward, associate director at Gresham House Ventures says:

Metrion provides highly specialist services to the early drug discovery market and commands an impressive reputation in the ion channel contract research space. We have a key focus on outsourced pharma services, especially given the rising cost and complexity of drug development, making Metrion an ideal fit for Gresham House Ventures. With more attention on the healthcare sector than ever before, we are excited to be backing a high calibre team of experts who are providing a highly specialist service into a structurally growing market. As experienced growth investors with a deep understanding and knowledge of this sector, we look forward to helping the company expand, both in the UK and the US.”

Keith McCullagh, chairman of Metrion Biosciences adds:

“This new investment, led by Gresham House Ventures, is a key part of Metrion’s strategic development, enabling the Company to expand its Cambridge laboratories, provide enhanced services to customers, and invest more extensively in US business development. We thank Gresham House for the confidence they have shown in the Metrion team and we are delighted to welcome Maya Ward, who brings substantial experience of healthcare finance and investment, to Metrion’s board of directors.”

 

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