Atlas Genetics poised for major growth after gaining £16.9m backing

July 21, 2011

Bristol-based Atlas Genetics has raised £16.9m from a syndicate of new and existing investors led by Novartis Venture Funds and Consort Medical to accelerate the global launch of its Velox point-of-care test for chlamydia and gonorrhoea. 

Market potential for the Velox system is huge because, for the first time, it would make it be possible to carry out infectious disease tests in primary care clinics and GP surgeries that are as accurate as those carried out in hospital laboratories. This will help clinicians begin treatment promptly and ensure much improved compliance, particularly in the area of sexually transmitted diseases where a significant proportion of patients fail to return for test results or follow-on treatment. 
As well as Novartis, the new investors are LSP (Life Sciences Partners), BB Biotech Ventures and Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation. The deal will enable Atlas to draw down the £16.9m investment over three years to accelerate the global launch of Velox products 
The newly-announced financing follows a £1.5m round in February supported by Consort Medical and other investors. The company, whose laboratories are in Trowbridge, has also been funded previously and continues to be supported, by YFM Equity Partners, Braveheart Investment Group, Wyvern Asset Management, the Crescent Seedcorn Fund and private investors. 
Atlas chief executive Dr John Clarkson said: “We are delighted to welcome the new investors at this exciting time when the company’s first product, a test for the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia, is being transferred to manufacture and the core capabilities of the sensor chemistry are being expanded. This investment syndicate brings a wealth of experience in the healthcare sector and an extensive network of contacts in the diagnostics industry.” 
Novartis Venture Funds managing director Florent Gros added: “Dr Clarkson and his team have accomplished quite an astonishing technical feat. We have searched hard and long for novel molecular diagnostic technologies and the Velox platform is a very ingenious solution to the key issues that have hindered the development of ultra rapid and highly sensitive point-of-care molecular diagnostic instrumentation. Combined with the ability to make immunoassay tests this makes for a diversified all-in-one diagnostic platform that will be commercialised around the end of 2012. We are very excited by the company’s prospects.” 

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