We’re delighted to announce our recent investment in Qkine, as part of a £4.3m funding round. The University of Cambridge spin-out has designed a proprietary refolding technology and protein purification technique to produce high quality growth factors in E.coli. This latest funding round will help to grow manufacturing at scale, research and development and other commercial functions.

Cambridge, UK, 15th December 2022: Qkine Ltd, a manufacturer of animal-free, highly bioactive, and innovative proteins and growth factors for life science applications, announces the close of its oversubscribed funding raise, having secured £4.3M. The round, which was co-led by Parkwalk Advisors Ltd and Downing Ventures, attracted support from existing and new leading life science funds and angel investors. The investment will enable substantial scaling of manufacturing, R&D and commercial functions.

Qkine combines proprietary protein production process development with protein engineering techniques to develop unique and exceptionally high-purity products that tackle fundamental biological and scale-up challenges for the fast-growing stem cell, organoid, regenerative medicine, and cellular agriculture sectors.

This round will allow the company to further scale manufacturing capacity to meet increasing customer demand, including relocating early in 2023 to a newly re-fit state-of-the-art facility in Cambridge, UK. The new HQ will provide agile lab and office spaces for research and process development, plus a dedicated β-lactam-free and animal-free manufacturing suite.  In addition, the round has cemented a collaborative partnership with the UK government catapult, Centre for Process Innovation, to accelerate process development and achieve maximum yields of key products.

Qkine continues to see sustained growth and expects headcount to more than treble in the next three years as it focuses on widening global commercial reach and strategic partnerships, building on strong export sales to 28 countries across Europe, Asia Pacific and North America.

Karolina Zapadka, Investment Manager, Parkwalk Advisors Ltd which specialises in the commercialisation of scientific discoveries made at the UK’s leading universities commented:Qkine’s innovative approaches to protein engineering developed at the University of Cambridge enable high-quality, scalable manufacturing of protein reagents. Their unique products address fundamental biological and scale-up challenges for the fast-growing stem cell, organoid, regenerative medicine, and cellular agriculture sectors. Parkwalk’s team has been part of that journey from its inception and is delighted to continue supporting the next phase of Qkine’s growth.”

Dr Catherine Elton, CEO, Qkine said: We’re delighted to welcome new investors in this round who have deep sector expertise and will help us achieve global scale. Qkine is entirely committed to improving the biochemical quality of commercially available bioactive proteins to better support our customer’s stem cell manufacturing processes. In parallel, we are addressing the unmet need for innovation in the supply chain for emerging technologies such as cellular agriculture and 3D-cell culture.  This is an exciting time for the company as we build our team and establish our new HQ and manufacturing facility to facilitate our next phase of rapid growth.”

Matthew Pierce, Investment Director, Downing Ventures, a sustainable investment manager which invests in innovative technology companies and pioneering founders across the globe with early to growth stage funding across the healthcare sectoradded:“Stem cell and organoid research is seeing unprecedented growth, there is a clear need for quality and consistent cutting-edge growth factors that researchers and biotechs can trust throughout the innovation cycle. The Qkine technology and experienced management team are poised for growth and we’re excited to be part of the story.

Find out more on Qkine, see their website here, or our portfolio page here.