Trailblazing Sunderland-based company, Arquer Diagnostics, has become the North East Fund’s 100th investment after securing £1.8m to help take a revolutionary new bladder cancer diagnostics kit to the global marketplace.
The investment will support the company in concluding its international clinical trial and commercialising its test ADXBLADDER kit across the UK, Europe and other regions worldwide.
Developed and perfected exclusively at its Sunderland HQ, Arquer’s immunoassay test is based on the detection of minichromosome maintenance proteins (MCM5) in the urine as an indication of the presence of bladder cancer.
The North East Innovation Fund, managed by Northstar Ventures, provided £400k of the £1.8m raised by Arquer, taking the North East Fund’s total investments so far to £17m.
These deals have attracted over £20m of private co-investment in the businesses, meaning that more than £40m has been invested in the region’s SMEs during the North East Fund’s first year of operation.
Jason Hobbs, CEO of the North East Fund commented, “Arquer Diagnostics is a highly innovative organisation that is flying the flag for the region and the UK in a very competitive global marketplace. They are developing a potentially life-saving portfolio of products at the forefront of medical science, and the investment secured from the Innovation Fund will allow them to take their bladder test to the commercial market whilst developing other exciting new products.
“Reaching our 100th investment is a fantastic achievement and we will continue to support the region’s many SMEs to achieve their full potential and encourage business growth. We are delighted to be part of Arquer Diagnostics’ ongoing development and continued success.”
Alex Buchan, Investment Manager of Northstar Ventures added, “I have been part of the Arquer Diagnostic Board for a few years and watched the development of the bladder test very closely. I am convinced that the adoption of ADXBLADDER in clinical routine will help urologists deliver more accurate diagnosis which ultimately will result in more lives being saved. I look forward to the next indications which they are working on that promise equally clinically-relevant outcomes.”
The North East Fund is a five year £120m investment programme which supports regional SMEs in achieving business growth. Launched one year ago, it has already invested over £17m in SMEs located in Newcastle, Gateshead, North and South Tyneside, County Durham and Sunderland. It has been established with funding from the North East of England European Regional Development Fund programme, the European Investment Bank and from returns on previous North East based, publicly supported investment funds. It is jointly owned by the seven North East local authorities.
It is anticipated that over 600 businesses will benefit from the programme over a five-year period with the possible creation of 3,500 jobs and a legacy of around £80m for further regional investment.