latest press releases

GEIF Ventures Announces a £100,000 Co-investment in Novacta Biosystems

31 March 2004
Investment to Advance Drug Development and Expand Biotransformation Services

March 2004, Cambridge UK - GEIF Ventures Early Growth Fund, a £2.5 million fund set up within NW Brown Group in April 2003 to co-invest alongside business angels has announced today that it has invested £100,000 into Novacta Biosystems, alongside investment from Great Eastern Investment Forum (GEIF) members, including Westgate Hall .

Based in Norwich, UK Novacta is a research-based company developing novel anti-infective drugs and providing biotransformation services. Novacta’s drug development activities are focused on natural products, small molecules produced by microorganisms, which are starting points for development of many of the drugs in widespread use today. These activities are complemented by the company’s biotransformation services that target the pharmaceutical, chemicals, cosmetic, flavour and fragrances industries. At the heart of Novacta’s technology platform is a ‘toolbox’ of approaches for harnessing the exquisite chemical selectivity of biological systems. These systems are used to develop efficient processes to synthetic targets and to manipulate the biosynthesis of natural products in order to alter activity, pharmacokinetics and other properties.

“Infectious diseases account for 25% of the deaths worldwide,” stated Dr Fiona Marston, Novacta’s CEO, “and Novacta’s drug development activities are focussed on combating this major health problem.” Marston added, “There are many factors driving the need for new products, such as drug resistance and significant side effects of current therapies, and Novacta has the team, technology and commitment to address and overcome these factors.”

Max Bautin, who manages GEIF Ventures, added, “Novacta’s biotransformation services income arises from the research team’s leading edge expertise in this scientific area. This investment will allow Novacta’s excellent management team to expand the services business, mitigating the difficulties of the current investment climate, and to continue its drug discovery programmes and novel biotransformation methods development. Novacta, GEIF’s eighth investment over the last year, is a company with the potential for improving quality of life globally, and it is particularly rewarding for GEIFV to contribute its own capital, and help channel that of angel members, to its development.”

Cambridge office of Mills & Reeve acted as GEIFV’s legal advisers on the transaction.

ENDS

Further enquiries:

Max Bautin, GEIF Ventures Ltd; max.bautin@geifventures.co.uk

Destanie Clarke, DestaniePR; Tel. 07753 826162, destanie@destaniepr.com

Fiona Marston, Novacta Biosystems Limited; fiona.marston@novactabio.com; www.novactabio.com

Notes to Editors:

GEIF Ventures www.geifventures.co.uk

GEIF Ventures is a £2.5 million co-investment fund within the NW Brown Group established with the commitment by the Small Business Service to co-invest with GEIF business angels into promising businesses. GEIFV is able to co-invest initially up to £100,000 and, if appropriate, follow up its investment by another £100,000 after 9 months. GEIFV is not a lead investor and can only invest when a company receives an investment from GEIF business angels.

Great Eastern Investment Forum www.geif.co.uk

GEIF is a leading UK business angels network strategically based in Cambridge. It is the fundamental link between early stage companies and business angels seeking quality investment opportunities. GEIF introductions, through regular company presentations and breakfast meetings, provide a secure and confidential business environment. GEIF website brings members all the latest investment opportunities and other relevant news. Since GEIF was launched in 1995, its members have helped over 150 early stage companies to raise in excess of £20 million of investment and to strengthen their teams with invaluable management skills. Membership of GEIF includes private investors, corporate investors, venture capitalists and corporate advisers.

NW Brown Group www.nwbrown.co.uk

NW Brown Group was founded in Cambridge in 1974. It offers a comprehensive range of financial services to private and corporate clients throughout the eastern region and beyond, including Investment Management, Stockbroking, Personal Financial Planning, Corporate Pensions, Employee Benefits, Private and Commercial Insurance, Venture Capital (First Cambridge Gateway Fund) , Corporate Finance and Seed and Early Stage Finance (Great Eastern Investment Forum and GEIF Ventures).