Arthurian Life Sciences Limited, manager of the Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund, has arranged a 12.8 million pounds ($19.6 million) funding commitment from the Welsh Government to enable ReNeuron to relocate to Wales and continue to grow the unique stem cell R&D, clinical trials and manufacturing base of the company. The funding package is made up of 5 million pounds direct equity investment from the Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund and a 7.8 million pounds commitment of non-dilutive grants from the Government.
Arthurian Life Sciences Limited, manager of the new £100m Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund, has arranged a £12.8m funding commitment from the Welsh Government to enable ReNeuron PLC (AIM: RENE) to relocate to Wales and continue to grow the unique stem cell R&D, clinical trials and manufacturing base of the company. The funding package is made up of £5m direct equity investment from the Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund and a £7.8m commitment of non-dilutive grants from the Government.
This investment has formed the cornerstone of a total fundraising of £33.2m for the Company in which several other leading, expert international life sciences investors, hedge funds and Venture capitalists including Invesco and Abingworth, have joined Arthurian as part of this landmark fundraising.
Stem cells are one of the most exciting fields in medical science today given their potential to regenerate and repair damaged or diseased tissue. After many years in development, a number of therapies are now either available or in the clinic. Over many years, ReNeuron has led the way with the development of its CTX cell line.
Arthurian Chairman Professor Sir Chris Evans orchestrated a highly innovative plan structure to bring to Wales a listed English company with unique, world-leading technology, secure sufficient financial support from leading institutional investors to enable it to progress several of its products to a value inflexion point, making this a very attractive investment indeed for Wales and for the Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund. The non-dilutive nature of the Welsh grant monies towards all of ReNeurons future growth also make this move to Wales a very attractive benefit to the Company and all its shareholders.
Sir Chris originated the plan by making a very compelling proposition to the CEO and Board of ReNeuron to create a state of the art human stem cell R&D and Manufacturing infrastructure for ReNeuron in Wales to be underpinned by £7.8m of Welsh government grants and £5m equity investment from the £100m Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund. As well as the £12.8m financial package from Wales, Port-Talbot born Sir Chris will join the board and bring his extensive range of skills and international networks to the future growth of ReNeuron.
Once the board of ReNeuron had committed to the Welsh plan put forward by Sir Chris , the Arthurian Investment Committee Chaired by former Rothschilds biotech veteran Jeremy Curnock Cook and the Welsh Government’s Life Sciences team under Business Minister Edwina Hart, were able to complete extensive due diligence and commit their combined £12.8m package in a matter of weeks.
Lord John Hutton, a Board member of Arthurian commented: “I was incredibly impressed by the creativity, speed and rigour of the Arthurian investment managers and delighted to see them working in excellent partnership with the Welsh Government’s own expert due diligence team to complete such a complex and substantial transaction in a matter of weeks”.
On the back of this initiative and cornerstone investment, Sir Chris was able to assist in securing substantial co- investment from some of the world’s largest specialist investors including Invesco where Pharma and Medical focussed funds managed by CIO Neil Woodford are some of the most successful in the sector, along with hedge funds and leading VC firms such as Abingworth Partners. This then enabled the company and its advisers to attract over £27 million of interest within one week against an original target of £15 million. The company was able to capitalise on the momentum begun by Arthurian to complete an over-subscribed fundraising in a fraction of the anticipated time.
Sir Chris Evans commented:
“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.
This transaction represents the sort of exciting and innovative deal and investment that will become the hallmark of this Arthurian investment strategy for Wales. The underlining theme throughout all that Arthurian does is to seek out exciting, high quality international life science businesses and assemble bespoke, but substantial, funding packages that will use Wales as a base, using the Fund, reputable specialist co- investors and the Welsh Government itself . These packages will consist of equity investment, non-dilutive grants, very competitive loans and other infrastructural financial incentives to give businesses the best possible growth prospects as they launch their international activities from their Welsh base.”
Minister for Business Economy Transport and Science Edwina Hart commented:
“I am delighted by the news that ReNeuron has decided to move to Wales. ReNeuron is the first company in the world to have been granted permission to run clinical trials of ground-breaking stem cell technology to treat patients with stroke, one of the top three causes of death and a leading cause of adult disability in Wales.
Cardiff University has always been one of the leading centres in the UK for both stem cell and neuroscience research, strengthened in June this year with the opening of the MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics and the appointment of Professor Yves Barde to the Sêr Cymru Research Chair in Neurobiology.
This is the second investment made by the Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund, a key component in our strategy to support the growth of the life sciences sector in Wales- one of our key priority sectors with the potential to make a significant contribution to the Welsh economy.
Finally I am delighted with the speed and professionalism of Sir Chris and his Arthurian Board at securing this excellent opportunity for Wales. It is exactly the sort of exciting new activity we outlined at BioWales in our Vision for growing Wales’ Life Sciences sector over the next decade.”
About ReNeuron PLC
ReNeuron is a leading, clinical-stage stem cell business. Its primary objective is the development of novel stem cell therapies targeting areas of significant unmet or poorly met medical need. ReNeuron’s Ordinary Shares are traded on AIM under the symbol RENE.L.
ReNeuron’s lead candidate is its ReN001 stem cell therapy for the treatment of patients left disabled by the effects of a stroke. This therapy is currently in clinical development. The Company is also developing stem cell therapies for other conditions such as critical limb ischaemia, a serious and common side-effect of diabetes, and blindness-causing diseases of the retina.
Subject to the completion of the Placing in respect of all Placing Shares, the net proceeds of the Placing together with the Welsh grant package and the Company’s existing cash resources will, in the opinion of the Directors, provide the Company with sufficient working capital to fund all of its core therapeutic programmes through Phase II studies and to consequent value inflection through commercial development deals or a broader strategic transaction. It will also enable the Company to secure manufacturing capability, and margin, as its therapeutic candidates move closer to market.
Arthurian Life Sciences
Arthurian Life Sciences Ltd was specifically established by Europe’s leading biotech entrepreneur Professor Sir Chris Evans OBE to apply to provide management services to the Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund. Arthurian boasts a vastly experienced, internationally renowned Board of Directors and investment teal comprised of individuals from the public and private Life Sciences sector and from the world of international fund management, business, commerce and government. The Arthurian team currently manages, advises and consults to billions of pounds of assets in private equity and traditional investments. In particular for life sciences, the total of investments raised individually by members of the team exceeds £7 billion, co-investment in transactions executed by the team exceeds £6 billion, and exits of over £10 billion have been secured. The Board comprises:
Professor Sir Christopher Evans (as Chairman)
Founder and Chairman of Excalibur Group, highly successful scientist and entrepreneur, having built over 50 medical companies from scratch, many from his own ideas and inventions, created over $5bn of value for investors with $3bn of cash exits. Founder, Chiroscience, Celsis, Biovex, Merlin, Vectura & and Piramed. Has also raised $2bn for cancer research projects. Built Chiroscience into Cambridge’s first $1billion biotech company. Built Biovex from scratch and sold for $1billion to Amgen. Built PIramed and sold to Roche for $187m. Built Vectura plc which is still trading publicly with a $500m market cap. Built Virgin Health Bank, stem cell bank in Qatar.
Jeremy Curnock Cook (as Chair of the Investment Committee)
Director of Rothschild Asset Management Ltd, responsible for the Rothschild Bioscience Unit creating international portfolios worth $1.2bn and managing a portfolio in excess of $3bn. Over 20 years’ experience in the medical sciences field as founder and chairman of BioScience Managers Limited; of the Australian Bioscience Trust (Australia’s first fund dedicated to investments in biotechnology), and the International Biotechnology Trust (IBT), a LSE-listed investment trust focused on mid-stage human healthcare companies.
Sir John Banham
Former Director General of the CBI, Chairman of FTSE100 companies Kingfisher Group, Cyclacel Inc, National Power, NatWest Bank, Whitbread, Johnson Matthey, Geest and Tarmac PLC. Also Chairman of ECI Partners LLP with over £2bn of assets, leading provider of venture capital for mid-market management buyouts.
Professor Trevor Jones
Former Board Director of the $11bn Wellcome Foundation, Director General of The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), advisor to UK and EU governments and Director of Allergan Inc. and the Merlin funds.
Lord Hutton of Furness
Former UK Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, later for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (formerly DTI) and eventually for Defence. Headed HMG Commission into public sector pensions. European Advisory Director of Dimensional Fund Advisers, with $240 billion of assets.
Professor Chris McGuigan
Professor of Medicinal Chemistry & Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor, Cardiff University; co -inventor of most potent HCV ProTide to date, sold to BMS for $2.5bn (Feb 2012). Also Founding Board member, Fermavir Pharmaceuticals, NYC (now merged with Inhibitex) and Board member, Synergy Pharmaceuticals, NYC, and Muscagen (CU spinout).
Professor Marc Clement
President of the University of Wales and Chairman of the Institute of Life Sciences. Highly successful researcher, inventor and entrepreneur; has lead projects worth over £160 million including eight new high-tech buildings across South West Wales and founded more than ten high technology companies.
Former Partner of PwC, Head of UK Life Sciences team. Focused on corporate finance for over 25 years and advised on transactions in excess of £1bn. Led the PwC teams on IPOs of Celsis International, Therapeutic Antibodies, Phytopharm, Weston Medical, Antisoma and ReNeuron and on subsequent secondary offerings. Built the largest share of the life sciences market in the UK.
One of original Founders of Celsis (£100mm), co-founder of Toad Plc (£35mm) and of Aim–listed Fusion IP (£40mm), where he has been CEO since 2005. Fusion has 24 portfolio companies and David sits on the Board of 10 of these.
27 year veteran investment banker. CEO of Excalibur Group Holdings and MD of Excalibur Fund Managers. Former Head of Toronto-Dominion Bank for Europe and Asia, has managed investment portfolios in excess of $8bn in UK, Europe, USA and China. Has raised Private Equity and Hedge Funds in excess of $2bn from global institutional investors and has advised on deals in excess of £5bn.