A company which has developed a new type of biomaterial that can be used for 3D printing of medical implants has completed a £1.6m funding round.
The investment into Nottingham-based 4D Biomaterials was led by DSW Ventures and backed by the MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund, which is managed by Mercia and part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund, Mercia’s own funds, and existing investor SFC Capital.
4D Biomaterials’ product 4Degra can be printed to the exact shape required in the form of an open cell honeycomb structure and used to improve patient outcomes in a range of applications including tumour removal in breast cancer patients. As natural tissue grows back through the voids, the structure gradually erodes and is expelled harmlessly by the body.
4Degra could also help patients recovering from other types of surgery and trauma, such as that caused by road traffic accidents.
The funding will be used to further develop the technology and establish partnerships with medical device companies to develop a range of products. The company also plans to expand its team with the creation of five new jobs at its premises in MediCity by the end of the year.
4Degra – which is the only 3D printed material of its type that is also biodegradable – was developed over 15 years in Professor Andrew Dove’s research group, originally at the University of Warwick, and latterly at the University of Birmingham. Having spun out of the universities last year, the company appointed Phil Smith – an entrepreneur with a track record in university spin-outs – as its CEO.
Phil said: “I am delighted to welcome DSW Ventures and Mercia on board at this exciting time for the company. The raise was oversubscribed by 60%, helped by the continuing support of SFC Capital and our angel investors. This puts us in a strong position as we move into the next phase of taking our products to market.”
The investment will become the seventh in the portfolio for DSW Ventures, the UK-regional focused venture capital business. Ellie Boardman of DSW Ventures commented: “We have been extremely impressed by the team and product ever since our first meeting. The technology is constantly evolving and we have been delighted to follow the company’s ongoing progress throughout the investment process. We believe 4D Biomaterials’ technology is truly innovative and have very high hopes for the company’s future.”
David Baker of Mercia added: “4D Biomaterials is pioneering a new generation of degradable materials for medical devices that offer benefits for patients and the health service alike. Not only could they speed up healing, but also eliminate the need for follow-on surgery, whether for tissue reconstruction or to remove permanent implants. The funding will enable the company to find partners worldwide.”
Mark Wilcockson, senior investment manager at the British Business Bank, said: “We’re delighted to see this latest investment from the MEIF support new biotechnologies in the health sector. One of the key objectives of the MEIF is to see companies, like 4D Biomaterials, innovate, develop new products and expand. We encourage other businesses in the region to consider funding options available through the MEIF.”
The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.