Multi-million investment in University spinout is major boost for bowel disease

Aquarius Equity Partners, the specialist UK life science investor, is pleased to announce a significant investment in GT Biologics, a company focused on the development of novel drug compounds from gut bacteria.

The company which spun out of the University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute builds on the intellectual property of Professor Denise Kelly, founder and CEO of GT Biologics and her scientific team who are recognised internationally for their research in inflammation, gut immunology and microbiology.

GT Biologics, based in Aberdeen University, will be targeting new drugs and other therapies for the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases - Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis - and other autoimmune conditions, including multiple sclerosis.

To date, GT Biologics has received support and seed investment from the University of Aberdeen, the Genomia Fund and Scottish Enterprise, with the new investment putting it firmly on course in 2013 to begin clinical trials of a new drug for the treatment of Crohn’s disease.

As part of the investment, GT Biologics is pleased to announce the appointment of its new chairman, Thomas Engelen. Mr Engelen is a non executive chairman of a number of Life Sciences and chemicals companies including Quantum Pharmaceutical, Penlan Health and Akcros Chemicals. As an advisor to private equity he has been involved in over 50 commercial opportunities in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Before that, he worked for 20 years at Novartis and Organon in regional and global roles.

Professor Denise Kelly, Chief Executive Officer of GT Biologics and Head of Gut Immunology at the Rowett, commented: “GT Biologics aims to develop effective drugs to treat inflammatory diseases with a serious unmet clinical need and which affect millions of individuals globally.”

“This is a very high value opportunity for Aquarius and GT Biologics as available treatments for inflammatory diseases are multi-billion dollar industries and GT Biologics believes its will deliver a breakthrough medicine and demonstrate long-term disease remission.”

Professor Kelly further commented: “We are delighted to be working together with Aquarius Equity Partners and our new chairman Thomas Engelen.”

“We have assembled a great team of people with an unparalleled opportunity to bring our technology to the clinic and with this investment we are firmly on course to deliver ambitious commercial goals and to drive the growth of the company. It is a tremendous end of year achievement for GT Biologics.”

Scottish Enterprise account manager Joyce Matthew added: "This investment is fantastic news for the company and further evidence of the growing life science cluster in Aberdeen.  Together with the University we’ve been working with GT Biologics over the past four years, helping them to invest in research and development activity and support them to get to this stage of their business.   This funding is an important step for the company's ambitions to progress the clinical programmes for these diseases, bringing their drugs closer to market."