Stem cell start-up Axol Bioscience raises £2.5m

The Cambridge-based business provides live human neurons to some of the world’s biggest pharma companies and research institutions

Axol Bioscience, a Cambridge-based stem cell start-up, has raised £2.5m in a funding round led by EIS and VCT investor Calculus Capital.

Specialising in human cell culture, Axol provides live human neurons to some of the world’s biggest pharma companies and research institutions for medical research, disease modelling and drug development.

The company generates stem cells from blood and tissue cells, extracted from healthy and diseased patients. These cells are then able to self-renew and may be used to become any tissue in the human body.

Founded by Jonathan Milner and Yichen Shi in 2012, Milner is an experienced entrepreneur and business leader with a background in genetic research and holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge.

In 1998, he co-founded Abcam, and since then grown the business from a start-up to one of the global leaders in the supply of protein research tools.

Shi, who also holds a PhD from Cambridge, is an expert in neuroscience and stem cell biology.

The business counts Harvard University, King’s College London, and Oxford and Cambridge Universities among its clients.

Shi said:

“The market for our products is growing rapidly, all around the world, and the funding from Calculus will help us to make the most of that opportunity through new product development and increasing our sales and marketing capabilities.”

Alexandra Lindsay, investment director at Calculus Capital, said:

“Axol Bioscience is doing very important work; its products and services are essential to gene-based medical research.

“Our investment will enable Axol to grow and develop more product lines that are able to make a real and effective contribution to medical research efforts to combat killer diseases.”

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