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New Technology Heads for Market Backed by SYIF Seedcorn Fund

Published: 4th October 2007

Dr. Malcolm Wilkinson, Managing Director of Kirkstall Ltd

South Yorkshire Investment Fund's Seedcorn Fund has helped start a new business in Sheffield that will develop products using an innovative technology developed in the University of Pisa in Italy.

The £100,000 investment made in Kirkstall Ltd will help the company demonstrate the effectiveness of its proprietary cell culture microreactors in applications in the pharmaceutical industry. Kirkstall's goal is to improve the quality of data available from in vitro testing of new drug compounds before they are moved on to the costly and risky animal and human clinical trials. An eventual benefit will be a reduction in the number of animal tests needed. Kirkstall will manufacture equipment incorporating racks of microreactors, each one of which will eventually take the place of a laboratory animal.

"There are other benefits from our technology, not just reduced animal testing" said Dr. Malcolm Wilkinson, Managing Director of Kirkstall Ltd. " In-vitro tests using microreactors will be a better way to provide early warning of the adverse reactions drugs can cause before you go to human clinical trials. This will reduce the risks for volunteers during the early stages of clinical trials of new drug compounds".

Dr Wilkinson added that he had chosen Sheffield as the location for his new company because of the availability of excellent quality graduates from its two Universities and the outstanding research that is going on in tissue engineering and toxicology.

For further information on South Yorkshire Investment Fund contact:
Jonathan Dixon
South Yorkshire Investment Fund,
Reresby House
Bow Bridge Close
South Yorkshire S60 1BY
Tel: 01709 386 377

For further information on Kirkstall Ltd contact:
Dr J Malcolm Wilkinson
Kirkstall Ltd
Sheffield Bioincubator
40 Leavygreave Road
Sheffield S3 7RD
Tel: 07785 929 131

Editorial Backgrounders are available on Kirkstall's Technology if required

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Editor's Notes

About South Yorkshire Investment Fund

South Yorkshire Investment Fund  provided seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15k to £2.5m, specifically to help small and medium businesses meet the gaps in funding they need for growth and development.

Created as part of the Objective 1 programme, the Fund is a private and public sector business finance provider. The European Regional Development Fund and Yorkshire Forward are investors in the Fund.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provided access to Business Angel investments from the Yorkshire Association of Business Angels and Microloans through BiG Business Loan Fund and Donbac Microloan Fund.

Finance Yorkshire has now taken on responsibility for providing gap finance in Yorkshire and the Humber.

For further details please contact Suzanne Tinkler,  on 0845 649 0000.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund Ltd is a company limited by guarantee (Registered No 3936065). South Yorkshire Investment Fund comprises three sub funds, the South Yorkshire Investment Capital Fund, the South Yorkshire Investment Development Fund, which are each managed by YFM Venture Finance Limited, and the South Yorkshire Investment Small Business Fund, which is managed by Finance South Yorkshire Ltd. YFM Venture Finance Limited (Tel 0113 294 5000) and Finance South Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 01709 386 377) are each authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provides a number of services, which are not regulated by The Financial Services Authority. These include the pilot Seedcorn Fund, BiG Business Loan Fund, Mentorbank and access to the Donbac Microloan Fund. BiG Business Loan Fund is managed by Donbac Ltd (company registration No. 01925556) and Key Fund Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 0114 242 8900).