Pharma venture on course to launch alternatives following £3.2m funding round
A Cheshire business that aims to transform the UK’s self-care market has secured a £3.2m investment in a funding round led by Manchester-based Praetura Ventures.
Maxwellia, which is based at Alderley Park, aims to give people easier and faster access to the treatments they need by converting prescription-only medicines to versions that can be bought in a pharmacy.
Founded in 2013 by chief executive Anna Maxwell – a pharmacist with more than 20 years’ experience, Maxwellia specialises in ‘switching’, a process in which prescription-only medication is reclassified and made available over the counter.
It already has three applications under assessment with the MHRA, and is currently awaiting approval of its first game changing women’s health product following a public consultation.
‘Switching’ widens the access to medicine, supports self-care and patient wellbeing while reducing the burden on public services such as GPs. It is a rigorous process regulated by the MHRA. Previous well known examples of switches include Nurofen, Canesten and Viagra Connect.
Maxwellia says the Government is supportive of encouraging self care and widening access to medicines, as well as promoting the role that pharmacists can play in communities to reduce pressure on the NHS.
It has secured investment of £3.2m, with £1.7m coming from Praetura Ventures, the venture capital fund that targets early stage businesses in high growth sectors. Other investors include the Future Fund, Catapult Ventures, Alderley Park Ventures and Biocity, along with individual and angel investors.
The business has a robust pipeline, which includes numerous medicines across areas of public health with the greatest unmet need, and it will use the funding to scale up the manufacture and rollout of its drugs following MHRA approval, invest in marketing and expand its team.
Anna Maxwell said: “The coronavirus pandemic has shown us clearly that we must take better care of our health. A huge part of that is helping people to better manage their own health more easily and conveniently.
“We have a fantastic, untapped network of pharmacists who are highly trained clinical experts and are at the heart of most communities across Britain on our high streets.
“As a pharmacist, I have seen first hand how important they are for helping people self care. It is vital more medicines are safely changed from being prescription-only so people can access them following a short consultation with a pharmacist.”
She added: “With the new funding round led by Praetura Ventures, we’ll be able to scale up our go-to-market operations for our first product launch and our other pipeline of over-the-counter medication, which will be game changing for those who require more widened access to these drugs. The Praetura team’s understanding of our business and their hands on approach were key factors in us choosing them to lead this investment round.”
Praetura Ventures has previously invested in healthcare businesses including digital health platform Dr Fertility and fertility research business Ostara Biomedical.
The firm’s investment in Maxwellia was led by investment manager Sim Singh-Landa and director Dr Andy Round, who becomes a non-executive director.
Dr Round said: “It is not often that there is the opportunity to play a part in supporting a business that has the potential to transform healthcare for millions of people across the country. Anna’s vision of making it more convenient for patients to access medication is inspiring and we were delighted to be able to be part of this journey.
“As an early-stage investor in exciting businesses in high value and innovative sectors like healthcare, this investment is right in our sweet spot. I believe Maxwellia will make a mark in the pharmaceutical switching market with its revolutionary pipeline.”
Maxwellia is Praetura Ventures’ latest investment from the latest Praetura EIS Growth Fund following investments in Leeds-based RapidSpike, tech for good platforms Transreport and Enthuse, and communications platform PixelMax.
DWF and Oyster Venture Partners (Rupert Lewis) advised Maxwellia on the investment.
Hill Dickinson advised Praetura Ventures.