Bedford, UK, and Beijing, China – May 23rd 2020
Evolution Biotechnologies (www.evolutionbiotech.com), the UK-based company pioneering the use of biological control to benefit human health, announced that on May 20th 2020, the UK Government launched an innovative new funding programme to support early-stage companies with a £250 million convertible loan matching fund, The Future Fund.
The Future Fund is open to companies that:
- are incorporated in the UK;
- have raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third-party investors in the last 5 years
- are not publicly listed
- were incorporated on or before 31 December 2019; and
- at least half of its employees are UK-based.
Evolution Biotechnologies is a privately held biotechnology business that was founded in the UK in 2015, and a majority of its employees are based in the UK. Evolution is working with Panda New Capital to identify new investors to enable Evolution to access this important new funding stream for innovative UK companies.
Evolution Biotechnologies’ CEO, Dr David Harper said, “The Future Fund is a truly innovative way for the UK Government to support game-changing companies such as ours. Accessing this funding with the support of new investors will enable Evolution to develop and commercialise its technology to benefit the thousands of people worldwide who suffer from asthma, who are deemed to be among the most vulnerable to novel respiratory infections such as COVID-19.”
Annie Han, President of Panda New Capital, said “The potential to have an investment matched by the UK Government should be very attractive for high quality investors from China seeking to support emerging companies such as Evolution Biotechnologies. Having additional government funding supporting companies should enable them to achieve their objectives and build value more quickly.”
The Future Fund will match investments up to a maximum of £5 million. Applications must be led by an investor, or group of investors who commit to invest a minimum of £125,000. The investment structure is in the form of Convertible Loans which will work as follows:
1. The Government will loan between £125,000 and £5m over a maximum term of 36 months as long as this is matched by a private investor on a pound-for-pound basis.
2. The Loan will automatically convert into equity at a discount agreed with the investors that is at least a 20% discount rate to the next qualifying funding round. It will automatically convert into the most senior class of shares in the company.
3. If there is no qualifying round, it is up to the investors and the government whether to seek repayment with a 100% premium or to convert the loan into equity at a discount rate of at least 20%.
The UK government is committing at least £250 million in funding towards the scheme, which will initially be open until the end of September 2020. The funds will be provided on a first-come-first-served basis.
The UK Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, was quoted in the Financial Times on 18 May as saying that even though the Future Fund is initially capped at £250 million, he told MPs that he would be “more than happy” to expand the scheme if demand outstripped the money initially allocated. He was further quoted to say, “These companies provide the growth of tomorrow and they deserve our full support.”
About Evolution Biotechnologies
Evolution Biotechnologies (UK company 09473027) is working to extend the application of biological control from its proven efficacy in agriculture into biomedical markets. The company’s initial target is the development of a novel, self-amplifying biological control for the house dust mite, an expanding multi-billion dollar market with high value and significant unmet need. Asthma is a worldwide, chronic disease and house dust mite allergens are key to both sensitization and the triggering of attacks. The number of asthma patients worldwide exceeds 330 million of whom approximately 20% require frequent hospitalization. 383,000 people every year die as a result of asthma. The costs of asthma exceed $100 billion in the EU and US alone.
About biological control
Biological control is highly specific in nature, and is perceived as environmentally friendly. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stated that “Since biopesticides tend to pose fewer risks than conventional pesticides, EPA generally requires much less data to register a biopesticide”. Biological control methodologies have been extensively used in the agricultural and food safety sectors and provide a “green” alternative to existing chemical approaches, especially where there are concerns over toxicity or resistance. Despite the validated route through the regulatory process and onto the market, application in the domestic and medical settings has received only limited attention to date. Evolution’s work is leading this important expansion of this proven approach into high value markets with unmet clinical need.
This document contains certain forward-looking statements – i.e. statements that are not historical facts, including statements about our beliefs and expectations. These statements are based on plans, estimates and projections at the time we make the statements. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties. A number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement.