07/05/2014

Jellagen Pty Ltd completes £550,000 equity investment from Finance Wales, xénos and SWAIN to produce and commercialise medical grade jellyfish collagen and products.

Jellagen Pty Ltd, a new medical-technology and healthcare company announces the completion of a £550,000 equity investment led by Finance Wales with co-investment by members of  xénos, the Wales Business Angel Network and SWAIN.

Jellagen aims to be the world’s first provider of pharma grade, GMP and ISO certified Type I and Type II jellyfish collagen as a raw material. Jellagen was founded in May 2013 by 2 highly experienced entrepreneurs Alex Mühlhölzl and Andrew Mearns Spragg.

The company offers the full spectrum of jellyfish derived collagen proteins, mainly Type I – Type V, with others available, as well as a range of additional products in development for derma care and medical device applications.  Collagen is used in the manufacture of biomaterials due to its ability to form strong fibres and used in many forms, including gel scaffolds, and membranes, for a number of medical applications ranging from wound care and cartilage repair through to bone grafts.

Jellagen operates from a processing facility in Pembrokeshire, Wales with its medical grade product being produced by its strategic partner Collagen Solutions Plc, Glasgow.

Jellagen will use the new financing to expand its processing capacity as well as developing a range of collagen based med-tech products. The company will also use the financing to strengthen its business development activities and get products to market.

Alex Mühlhölzl the Company’s Founder and Chief Technology Officer said: “We are really pleased to have secured investment from Finance Wales, a syndicate of private investors from xénos and a member of the SWAIN business angel network. These funds will be used to expand and improve our processing facility as well as some product development and collaborative research projects”

Andrew Mearns Spragg, the Company’s Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer added “We welcome the investment from Finance Wales, the xénos syndicate, and SWAIN and also the continued partnership with Collagen Solutions Plc. The investment and partnership provide Jellagen with a great strategic opportunity for the marketing and development of novel GMP medical grade collagen products from a natural and sustainable biomaterial resource.”

As it expands its headquarters in Pembrokeshire, Jellagen plans to recruit up to four new staff over the next two years through its links with Cardiff and Swansea universities.

The funding package includes a six-figure equity investment from Finance Wales structured by Dr Melanie Goward, Deputy Fund Manager in Finance Wales Technology Venture Investments team. She added, “Alex and Andrew have come up with a novel approach to developing medical grade collagen which has significant potential in a range of applications, including improving bone grafts.  They also have some exciting plans to develop an innovative range of products in future.  Finance Wales is pleased to lead this investment round as it will now enable Jellagen to take some significant steps forward.

“With the backing of this investment Alex and Andrew can now start to turn their vision for Jellagen into reality.  We’ve also structured the investment so that it’s SEIS-compliant and provides the company with the flexibility to grow. We were delighted to work with the angel investors as they’ll bring additional expertise to the business.”

The syndicate of six business angels which invested in Jellagen was facilitated by xénos, the Wales business angel network.  xénos Manager, David Maas said: “xénos was pleased to work with Alex and Andrew to understand their funding requirements and co-ordinate this syndicated round.  Jellagen has a great deal of potential thanks to its innovative products and the wide range of applications they can be used  particularly in critical parts of the healthcare sector.

“A syndicate of six experienced angel investors has backed Jellagen in the initial SEIS round and Alex and Andrew can also benefit from their expertise and experience in addition to their investment.  Some of the angel investors  also benefitted from the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) which offers investors significant tax incentives from investments in exciting early-stage technology ventures like Jellagen.”

The Company was initially funded through internal investment and a SMART Scotland award which was used for a technical and commercial feasibility project.