18 September 2018
NPIF - Maven Equity Finance and Catapult Ventures, alongside new Manchester Tech Trust angel group, invest £700,000 in Biorelate
Manchester-based technology platform creates innovative solution for data curation in biomedicine
NPIF - Maven Equity Finance, managed by Maven Capital Partners (“Maven”) and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, has invested £200,000 as part of a £700,000 funding round in Biorelate, a technology platform using artificial intelligence (AI) to efficiently curate data in biomedicine.
Existing investors, Catapult Ventures via the Greater Manchester and Cheshire Life Sciences Fund, provided £150,000 and the Manchester Tech Trust Angels (“MTTA”) provided £350,000. The funding will be used to expand the team, and to develop its product offering, including three new SaaS products.
Founded in 2014, Biorelate uses existing knowledge to help scientists solve difficult biomedical challenges, enabling smarter and faster research and development. The company’s technology uses AI to curate data and information that’s relevant to biomedical concepts from published literature such as journals, patents and clinical trials.
Historically, data curation in this space has faced challenges, as the primary means of communicating knowledge and scientific developments are through published journal articles. In this format, data is difficult to curate as information and knowledge is unstructured and expansive. As a result, as much as 80% of all knowledge published is unused and unavailable in curated databases. This is a problem for scientists and companies attempting to advance the current state of ‘truths’, as they are effectively not leveraging all of the information available to them.
Biorelate’s technology combines natural language processing and AI with human expert curation to generate highly relevant output from unstructured big data. Uses of Biorelate’s technology include curation and exploration of unused sources of knowledge of molecular mechanisms for drug discovery, tracking specific biomedical developments, expertise sourcing and competitive intelligence.
The business was founded by Daniel Jamieson while completing his PhD at the University of Manchester after successfully prototyping a highly efficient and accurate method of disease curation. Its potential was first demonstrated in building the world’s biggest publicly available database of pain molecular mechanisms and has since formed the basis of ongoing discovery work. The business is experiencing strong demand for its services, including a recent collaboration deal signed with an AIM listed drug-discovery specialist.
As CEO, Jamieson has a background in biology and bioinformatics and is supported by a highly skilled and dedicated senior management team. Ernst Kretschmann, CTO, started his career at the European Bioinformatics Institute and has performed a range of development and management roles for finance organisations such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and HSBC. Nathan Day of MTTA joins the board as a Non-Executive Director.
Bioinformatics and drug discovery informatics are two core vertical markets that align well with Biorelate’s main market focus. While the competitive landscape within biomedicine & early stage drug discovery is diverse, the opportunity exists for Biorelate to combine a first-class user experience with specialist AI technology-driven biomedical knowledge curation.
NPIF - Maven Equity Finance has, since its launch, invested £12 million in dynamic growth businesses across the Northern Powerhouse region, driving economic prosperity and supporting the creation of over 200 jobs. Maven works with five Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and Combined Authorities in the North West to invest between £50,000 and £2 million to support the growth of innovative and ambitious businesses across a wide range of sectors and in a variety of funding scenarios.
Gavin Bell, Investment Manager at Maven, said: “We’ve been impressed with Biorelate’s ability to generate growing demand from quality customers, in a short space of time. We can see the advantages of leveraging Biorelate’s technology, to derive bespoke data-driven insights from the vast array of published biomedical information. We are very much looking forward to working with Dan and the team through the next stage of their journey.”
Dr Daniel Jamieson, CEO at Biorelate said: “We are building a technology platform to extract more value from data in science texts, 80% of which is unused. Our initial focus is in working with companies in the very early stages of drug discovery to help them make better use of this data on the path to producing viable new treatments. I’m absolutely thrilled to have Maven and the MTTA on board for this journey and to have the amazing Catapult Ventures team commit further.”
Dr Gareth King, Life Science Partner at Catapult Ventures, said: “We were very pleased to provide seed investment to Biorelate in 2016 from the GM&C Life Sciences Fund and are delighted that Dan has over-achieved his milestones and our expectations. Dan has attracted a highly experienced and successful team to join Biorelate, developed the technology building on revenue generating projects and validated the business model. We are excited to join Maven and Manchester Technology Trust Angels to provide further investment and to support the company's ambitions to become a leader in the curation of Biomedical knowledge.
Grant Peggie, Director at British Business Bank said: “ Greater Manchester has a thriving healthcare sector, with state-of-the-art facilities available that enable the development and testing of new drugs and technologies. Biorelate has the potential to tap into the huge market both in the UK and overseas and provide innovative solutions that will support other businesses in the biomedicine space.”
Peter Lusty, CEO at Manchester Tech Trust, said: “We have known Dan for some time and were delighted to provide a substantial proportion of the investment in his latest round. Biorelate appealed to our angels because it has highly innovative technology that solves problems in a complex and mature industry. This is the first of, hopefully, many investments for Manchester Tech Trust Angels, a group that we have been nurturing for just over a year. We look forward to raising our profile over the coming months as we introduce new tech angels to the group and find similarly exciting companies who can benefit from our members’ investment and expertise.”
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.