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BioSystems Technology: Developing research models as an ethical alternative to animal testing

BioSystems Technology: Developing research models as an ethical alternative to animal testing

Biosystems Technology Limited is a spin-out company from the University of Exeter that provides low cost and high-output ethical solutions for researchers who require alternatives to animal testing. Their business concept builds on laboratory work that has developed TruLarvTM – a standardised and decontaminated insect larvae that provides a highly effective research model for scientific applications, including drug discovery and toxicity testing.

BioSystems Technology: Developing research models as an ethical alternative to animal testing

FACT FILE

Start date: 2015

Website: Visit website

Location: Exeter

Employees: 5

SETsquared programme: Innovation to Commercial Realisation (ICURe)

SETsquared support received: ICURe grant, events, market research, networking

Investment raised: Innovate UK Grant £500k; Private funding £310k

KEY MILESTONES

January 2015

Started on ICURe programme

January 2015

Open Innovation Funding of £15k from the University of Exeter to develop IP

June 2015

Trademarked product

July 2015

Limited company

August 2015

Patent/IP filed

November 2015

Open Innovation Funding of £15k from the University of Exeter to beta-test product

April 2016

£200k private investment

Aprill 2016

Sales of first product, TruLarv™

November 2016

Won 2 x NC3R industry partnership grants

May 2017

First research publication using TruLarv™ published

July 17

£100k Innovate UK grant

June 18

£100k Innovate UK grant

“We realised that we had laboratory research that had the potential to fill a gap in the market, if we could get the building blocks in place and turn it into a business. The ICURe programme was instrumental in creating the focus that we needed to investigate filling that gap in the market.”

“The ICURe programme was definitely key to establishing Biosystems Technology. It fast-tracked the commercial translation of our academic research into a viable business proposition. I learnt a huge amount of commercial knowledge and expertise in a short period of time. The ICURe financial investment and mentoring enabled us to conduct in-depth primary market validation that resulted in some very important industry connections.”

“The £200k of private funding in April 2016 came about after I pitched to investors at the SETsquared Investment Showcase 2015. Following my presentation, several investors signed an NDA to discuss the business idea further – and we gained full funding from one shortly after.”

“At the end of our first financial year, sales of TruLarv™ had exceeded the forecasts of our business plan, which is fantastic. Via a scheme called Crack IT, run by NC3Rs – National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research, we’ve worked with two industry partners Demuris and Envigo, with some very positive results. We have won a £100k Innovate UK grant to help support more genome sequencing of TruLarvTM and enable us to develop genetic tools to open a wider market and make our offering more relevant to the research community.”

“In June 2018 we won another £100k Innovate UK grant to continue our R&D programme, which will commence in September 2018. Meanwhile we’re continuing to sell to an increasing number of customers worldwide – we now export to 11 countries and these exports make up 45% of our total sales. Our revenues have doubled between January 2017 and January 2018 as a result. As well as financial success, we have also started running training courses on the research model. We run the courses from Exeter for European scientists who are keen to implement the model but need help to understand how to use it. Being able to show the benefits of this technology first-hand has been fantastic.”

Dr Olivia Champion

Dr Olivia Champion, Founder and CEO
BioSystems Technology Ltd

A partnership between