Contract research firm set to double in size after £750k Northern VCT investment

Matt Tate

A Cheshire contract research business is planning to double in size following a £750,000 investment from the Northern Venture Capital Trust Funds, which are managed by Mercia.

Gentronix provides toxicology testing services for pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, cosmetics, personal care and consumer products.

The company helps clients, including major global brands, to perform hazard and safety assessments, from early stage discovery through to regulatory submission and approval.

Services are delivered by an expert scientific team, with a keen focus on minimal use of test substances and responsive timeframes.

Gentronix, which currently employs 30 staff at its Alderley Park premises grew turnover by 15% last year and is on course to achieve a 20% rise in the current year.

The investment will allow it to expand its capabilities and services, creating around 30 jobs for scientists within the next two years. It is the third round of funding from the Northern VCTs and brings their total investment in the business to £2.75m.

Matt Tate, who took over as chief executive in 2017, said the company now planned to increase its capacity for genetic and skin toxicology services, and add in new bioanalytical, gene mutation, 3D in vitro skin models and phototoxicity services.

He said: “This further investment from the Northern VCTs gives us the financial platform to accelerate the growth we have achieved in the past 12 months.

“It will enable us to increase our specialist toxicology capabilities, target gaps in the market and strengthen our offering across our key sectors. I look forward to leading the team in this exciting period of growth.”

Charlie Winward, of Mercia, said: “Gentronix has built a reputation within the industry for its scientific expertise and its ability to deliver reliable data to clients within the agreed timeframe.

“Under the direction of Matt and his team the business has gone from strength to strength, secured some major new contract wins and achieved its best-ever financial results.

“This funding will allow it to continue to expand its toxicology service in line with market demand and create new skilled jobs in the North West.”

Jamie Pass, of Womble Bond Dickinson, provided legal advice to Mercia on the investment

The Northern VCTs, which provide series A venture investment of up to £5m for high growth SMEs, are among the longest-established funds of their type in the UK.

They are now managed by Mercia following its acquisition of the VCT fund management business of NVM Private Equity in December 2019.

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