Firm tackling serious disease

Par Equity and SIB back Censo’s stem cell research

Venture capital firm Par Equity and the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) have invested £1.3m in a rapidly growing Scottish stem-cell research company helping pharmaceutical giants develop treatments for diseases including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Censo Biotechnologies, which employs teams in Edinburgh and Cambridge, provides drug discovery services to some of the best known pharmaceutical and biotech companies in Europe, the US and Japan.

The company is behind technology to produce stem cells in a laboratory from a person’s skin or blood sample, which are then transformed into brain and other types of cell for drug research. It has a rapidly expanding portfolio of major drug company clients who are choosing to outsource this specialised research to Censo.  

The new investment will allow the company to expand its marketing and sales efforts and extend the commercial research services it provides to clients.

Censo CEO Aidan Courtney said: “This investment from Par Equity has come at exactly the right time for the company. Over the past two years we have developed a comprehensive suite of resources which allow us to create human stem cells from any individual and use derivatives of these cells to test drugs for clients. 

“Our focus on selected research areas, such as neuro-inflammation, has aligned extremely well with our clients’ needs and we are seeing more demand than we can accommodate with our current resources. Par Equity’s investment will allow us to broaden our service offering and accelerate growth.”

The investment comes from three sources – Par Equity’s Par Syndicate EIS Fund, which invests in young, innovative technology companies; the Par Syndicate, which is a network of specially selected expert investors; and SIB.

Par Equity partner Paul Munn (pictured) said: “Our investment gives Censo the capital to build upon its important work, but we’re also very active managers.

“We’ll work closely with Censo’s management, drawing on the expertise and experience of our network of investors to give them the support they need to scale up this exciting business, which could help transform treatment of a number of serious diseases.”

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