Belfast’s VascVersa raises funding round for its cell therapy

17 May 2021833 Views

VascVersa CEO Christina O'Neill (centre). Image: VascVersa

The medtech start-up, spun out from Queen’s University, is developing a new treatment to aid in the repair of damaged blood vessels.

Medtech start-up VascVersa, a spin-out from Queen’s University Belfast, has closed a “six-figure” funding round.

The round was led by QUBIS, the arm of Queen’s responsible for investing in university spin-outs and helping them commercialise.

Co-Fund NI, a fund backed by government agency Invest NI for investing in Northern Irish start-ups, and the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) also participated in the funding. No specific figures for the investment round were disclosed.

VascVersa is developing a cell treatment for vascular regeneration to repair damaged blood vessels. Its technology stimulates new blood vessel formation to improve blood supply and healing. The start-up is targeting its treatment initially at non-healing wounds like diabetic foot ulcers.

The start-up was formed after its team participated in ICURE, a UK government-run programme that seeks out university health research that has potential for commercialisation. It previously received funding from Innovate UK.

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Christina O’Neill, chief executive of VascVersa, said that the funding round marks “a significant step” for the company as it seeks to commercialise its technology.

Along with the investment, the start-up has appointed Aidan Courtney, former CEO of Roslin Cells and Censo Biotechnologies, as its new chair.

“The [VascVersa] technology, which builds on 20 years’ research at Queen’s, has the potential to tackle a wide range of conditions for which clinical care is currently both expensive and inadequate,” Courtney said.

“VascVersa has the ambition to develop a new generation of treatments and deliver a profound improvement to the lives of many individuals suffering chronic ill health.”

Stuart Gaffikin, investment manager at Clarendon Fund Managers, which manages the Co-Fund NI, added: “We look forward to playing our role in helping the company through its early-stage development and hope to see it grow successfully in the near future.”

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin

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