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Sheffield company aids global medical research

Published: 9th April 2009

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Prof. David Parkinson with Tony Goulbourn, chief executive at South Yorkshire Investment Fund.

A new Sheffield company is aiding research into developing treatments for some of the world's major health problems, including cancer and Alzheimer's.

SIBiologics will use the platform technology developed by Prof. David Parkinson at the Biomedical Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, to create antibodies for use by medical research institutes and pharmaceutical companies around the world.

Antibodies are automatically produced by the body as a defence against disease. The technology that SIBiologics will use allows antibodies to be produced more quickly and at lower cost than other methods, helping to provide valuable new research tools to speed biomedical research.

SIBiologics has received Seedcorn investments from South Yorkshire Investment Fund (SYIF) totaling £50,000. This has assisted SIBiologics to establish a laboratory at the Sheffield Bioincubator and develop a catalogue of antibodies.

David said: "SIBIologics has created the means to now manufacture and sell antibodies for biomedical research. Universities, research institutes and pharmaceutical companies require an extensive supply and we have the expertise to make antibodies to support a specific research, such as the study into what causes Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer's.

"If we don't have the required antibodies, we can use our technology to create them to meet that need, adding to our range of products for researchers to use.

“This will help increase knowledge of diseases and support the development of new treatments against them. We already have licensees in the UK and US who distribute the products worldwide.

"The investment from SYIF has allowed us to purchase a peptide synthesizer that will allow expansion of the business, as well as support the company's plan to make antibodies to add to its portfolio."

SIBiologics now has a business plan in place, where it aims to add additional staff by the end of its first year of trading. David added: "We have a number of orders coming in and so I am confident the business can grow and grow.”

Tony Goulbourn, chief executive at South Yorkshire Investment Fund, added: "SYIF are delighted to participate in the funding of SIBiologics, a spinout business from Sheffield Hallam University, who are committed to the development of new technologies.

"The support provided by the Seedcorn Fund is a good example of how SYIF can make an important contribution to the long term prospects for growth in the region's economy by backing new technologies at an early stage of their commercial development."

SYIF can provide seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2.5m, specifically to help small and medium businesses meet the gaps in funding they need for growth and development.

For more information about South Yorkshire Investment Fund, please visit www.syif.com or ring 01709 386377

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).