Stemson target UK for expansion of research and development – with backing of impact investor Fortunis Capital
Biotech innovator Stemson are scoping out research and development investments in the UK to develop a revolutionary cure for baldness in partnership with London-based Fortunis Capital as their lead investor in the country, it was announced today.
San Diego-based Stemson Therapeutics is developing technology to restore human hair growth with a novel approach using the patient’s own cells to generate new hair follicles.
Funding from impact investor Fortunis will support research and development of the product solution and position the UK as a leading contender to conduct human clinical trials, including the construction of a clinical manufacturing facility.
Geoff Hamilton, Chief Executive Officer, Stemson Therapeutics, said: “Stemson is focused on the path towards the first human trial, and to achieve this goal our focus has to be on research and development, good infrastructure, strong regulatory environment, access to scientific talent and, of course, cost.
“The UK is on our short list with its world class scientific talent and infrastructure, and I know Fortunis Capital certainly believe we will find full support for this level of scientific innovation in the UK.
“We are open to where we will eventually look at trialling it. Yes, the USA is the most valuable market – but there are clear positives in terms of research and scientific experience in the UK.
“The ultimate decision will have to be reached on the basis of what support we could receive to enable us to realise our ambitions. The science is truly ground-breaking, and we very much need high-level partners that not only support, but also receive some benefit from this research.
“The announcement of the $7.5million seed funding last month has triggered significant interest from UK government agencies as well as generated thousands of inquiries from people who wish to take part in the first tests.”
Globally, hundreds of millions of men and women suffer from various forms of hair loss, and no solution today is capable of generating a new supply of follicles for patients in need. Stemson’s solution uses human-induced pluripotent stems cells (iPSCs) to grow natural hair through the skin.
Sir Andrew Ross, investments director at Fortunis Capital, said: “We are delighted to partner with Stemson as lead investor in the UK.
“As an impact investor, our goal is to attract the best of the best to the UK – game-changing companies such as Stemson who make a positive impact to the lives of millions while generating return for investors.
“We are in advanced conversations with established partners to support Stemson in the UK. Attracting cutting edge R&D jobs and positioning the UK as a hub to conduct human trials would be a major boost for the economy. It would send out a message that the UK is open for business, and open for brilliant world-leading innovators.”
Fortunis Capital’s new Impact Investment Fund supports companies, such as Stemson, who offer significant social or environmental benefit. Recent investees include Clementine, the hypnotherapy app; Karma, who aim to eradicate payday loans with interest-free advances and Sportside, the connect and play sports app.