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ImmuONE: Making each breath safer

ImmuONE: Making each breath safer

ImmuONE is a spin-out company from the University of Hertfordshire specialising in human in vitro cell culture solutions for safety assessment. The technology allows for the respiratory testing of any sort of chemical or particles that we might inhale. Scientists and researchers can use the test results to measure the extent of the damage that these substances can cause and determine the concentration that might be considered safe. This has worthwhile potential applications across a range of industries relating to pollution, agricultural chemicals, asthma, paint inhalation, as well as minimising the use of animal testing.

ImmuONE: Making each breath safer


Start date: 2019

Website: Visit website

Location: Hatfield

Employees: 12

Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe)

Funding: Grants: £1m; Equity: £1.6m


September 2018

Took part in ICURe £35k

January 2019

ICURe roundabout success £15k

April 2019

Company formed

October 2019

Innovate UK follow-on funding received: £288k

January 2020

Innovate UK commercialisation project activated

April 2020

First patent submitted

May 2020

First investment

June 2020

R&D commercialisation work begins

July 2020

First team members hired

January 2021

£100k NC3Rs grant received

February 2022

£600k NC3Rs grant received

March 2023

Grew team to 12 people

May 2023

About to close £1.5m investment round

“My PhD research project led to the development of a 3D model human lung that can be grown in a laboratory. My supervisor, Victoria Hutter and I were both strong believers in finding alternatives to animal testing, and we knew that the lung model I had developed had the potential to really make a difference.”

“Before ICURe, I had no idea of the commercial value of the technology I had built. I had no thoughts of commercialisation; it just wasn’t on my radar. I certainly couldn’t have foreseen that less than two years later we would be spinning out and developing the product even further with a team of employees. ICURe was essential to this process, and to us becoming the company we are today.”

“After ICURe we had a clear path of what we needed to do next, and we spent the next few months incorporating the company and securing private investment. I went from being a scientist in the lab, to actually identifying and building a complete network in the biotech field. I can still hear the words of some of my ICURe mentors, which are still of relevance to the business today ”

“We have faced challenges including the labs shutdown during the first COVID lockdown in 2020, and we had an incident where we lost a lot of stock, which we now know how to prevent, and we’ve moved forward in a more mitigated manner.”

“In 2021-22 we received £700k in funding from NC3Rs to run a consortium innovative research project to look at moving towards animal free technologies for human health. We have now grown our team to 12 people, and we are looking to add 4 more in 2023, each hire has helped us to drive the growth of the company and build towards our commercialisation objectives.”

“Our technology is a game-changer for a number of industries, including drug development, the cosmetic industry and pharmaceuticals. We are working in nine different industries now. Our offering has adapted, we started off wanting to manufacture a product and it turned out that after listening to our potential customers they also needed a service, so since then we have been developing our advanced services. Our service pipeline is now around £5m for the next 18 months.”

“We are in the process of launching our first product ImmuPHAGETM, which we’ve been beta testing with three companies in the UK, India, and the US. We have been working on building our brand, by attending conferences and trade shows, listening to our customers problems and building trust – we are delighted to be at a point where customers come to us.”

“Looking ahead, we are about to close an investment round for £1.5m, after a lot of interest from potential investors, which is very exciting and will enable us to scale up. We are moving to a new 175sqm space in Stevenage Sycamore House in Hertfordshire to be able to meet the demands of current sales pipelines. In the next couple of years we aim to raise Series A funding to create our own manufacturing unit.”

Abigail Martin

Abigail Martin, Co-Founder

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