University of Nottingham spin-out company raises £650,000 investment

10 Nov 2008 14:13:00.000


Critical Pharmaceuticals, the speciality pharmaceuticals company, has announced that it has successfully closed a third round of investment totalling £650,000.

Based on the company’s success in developing its unique CriticalMix delivery technology and matching pipeline of candidate drugs, the funding was fully supported by existing shareholders. The company has now raised in excess of £2 million in investment and grants since its formation in 2004 as a spin-out from The University of Nottingham.

It also follows the recent announcement of pre-clinical results for a sustained release somatropin formulation, which demonstrated considerable advantages over existing once-daily products.

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Lisbeth Illum, Chief Executive Officer of Critical Pharmaceuticals, welcomed the new round: “The new funds will be used to advance the development of our pipeline of candidate drugs and drug delivery technologies, secure and develop our intellectual property portfolio and invest in our business development capability to secure partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

“Already we are attracting growing interest from leading names who can see the advantages of using our drug delivery technology platforms across their drug pipelines. We believe this points to an exciting future for investors and employees. We are also delighted to have attracted new investors in this round as well as the continuing and invaluable support from East Midlands Business Angels (EMBA) and The University of Nottingham who have been with us from the start.”

This confidence was mirrored by one of the lead investors, Jonathan Earl, Investment Director with Catapult Venture Managers: “We believe Critical Pharmaceuticals represents an exciting opportunity. The CriticalMix drug delivery technology not only provides pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies with the opportunity to enhance their own products, but also opens the possibility of Critical developing its own pipeline of differentiated drug products. We look forward to providing support in the company’s growth.”

A total of 28 companies have so far been spun out from The University of Nottingham to bring cutting-edge research to the marketplace. The University was a launch partner in BioCity, Britain's biggest biomedical business incubator, and has recently added an Innovation Park to its expanding Jubilee Campus to accommodate more spin-off enterprises and collaborative industrial projects.

Critical Pharmaceuticals is a Nottingham-based biotechnology company with proprietary drug delivery technologies for the sustained release and nasal delivery of proteins and peptides and labile or insoluble small molecules.

The company was founded in 2002 by Professor Steve Howdle of The University of Nottingham, based on his world-leading research into supercritical fluids. Professor Howdle noticed that supercritical carbon dioxide was able to liquify certain polymers, and in a moment of inspiration realised that this could be used to encapsulate thermally labile or solvent sensitive drugs to create injectable sustained release products.

As well as working in partnership with other pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, the company is now developing a pipeline of reformulated drug candidates for areas of unmet needs including human growth hormone.

Existing investor, Nick Wright, Fund Manager of the East Midlands Early Growth Fund at E-Synergy was naturally pleased with the company’s continued success: “For us, Critical Pharmaceuticals is an ideal showcase for the region’s excellence in pharmaceutical services. By combining world-class research with knowledge of the real needs of the pharmaceutical sector, Critical Pharmaceuticals has made rapid progress. We now welcome the involvement of new investors to help take the company through the next exciting stage of its development.”

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Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.

It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation – School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008. 

Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for four years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.

Story credits

More information is available from Richard Hayhurst , Hayhurst Media, +44 (0)7711 821527,; Lisbeth Illum, Chief Executive Officer, Critical Pharmaceuticals, BioCity Nottingham, +44 (0)115 8820100,

Tim Utton

Tim Utton - Deputy Director of Communications

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8092 Location: University Park

Additional resources

Critical Pharmaceuticals

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