Pioneering gene technology business achieves £500k in seed round

A seed round of £500,000 has been agreed for a Cheshire company to enable it to establish proof of concept for its innovative gene modification technology.

UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (UKI2S), Catapult Ventures’ GM&C Life Sciences Fund and Jonathan Milner are behind an investment in Pencil Biosciences, while a further investment by o2h Ventures, anticipated shortly, will complete the £500,000 fund.

Pencil Biosciences is a novel gene modulation company based at Alderley Park, Cheshire.

It aims to develop a novel, programmable genome-modulation tool that overcomes the challenges associated with the technologies currently available.

This latest funding round follows shortly after a recent grant from the UKI2S Innovate Accelerator in November this year.

The company was awarded around £200,000 early-stage funding by the Accelerator to develop its technology.

Jon Moore, executive chair of Pencil Biosciences, said: “Pencil Biosciences has ambitious plans to develop a truly innovative gene modulation technology that could have impacts across a range of applications, including new therapeutic options for patients with rare diseases.

“We are delighted to receive the Accelerator award from Innovate UK which, together with funding from our supportive group of early-stage investors, will fund the company into early 2021.”

He added: “We see the facilities and supportive network available at Alderley Park as a key driver of our future success.”

Pablo Lubroth, investor director of Pencil Biosciences and manager at UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund, said: “We are excited to announce this investment in the next generation of genome engineering tools.

“The company has successfully raised 2.5x the grant awarded by the UKI2S Innovate Accelerator, successfully leveraging Innovate UK funding.”