Winner of the Emerging Technologies Competition 2013
Case study: November 2015
There is a growing requirement in cell biology research for cell culture platforms that mimic the behaviour of tissues and organs found in the body.
Biogelx, who spun out of the University of Strathclyde in 2012, have developed self-assembled peptide hydrogels which can be tailored to match the environment that individual cell types require. By tuning the stiffness of their gels they can replicate the properties of a diverse range of biological systems – from bone tissue, all the way through to brain tissue. The gels can be used as a medium in cell culture research, toxicology screening and patient-specific cell therapies development.
Biogelx entered the Emerging Technologies Competition knowing that a major market opportunity was to sell their products to big-pharma companies and wanted the chance to be mentored by someone relevant to the industry they were trying to attract.
Winning the competition in 2013 gave Biogelx the chance to be mentored by pharmaceutical giant GSK. Very early on GSK facilitated multiple meetings with a wide range of research groups from across their organisation. This allowed the start-up company to establish the areas their technology could be used in and, importantly, how they could develop it to be used more broadly.
As a result [of the competition] we now have a working relationship with GSK that’s allowed us to develop our product for the high value customer opportunity that our company is looking for.
Two years later, Biogelx are still working closely with GSK, who are now one of their customers.
As part of their prize for winning the competition, Biogelx were featured in Chemistry World magazine with a circulation of 50,000 copies. Raising the profile of their technology in this way led to increased sales of their products, including to a major pharmaceutical company in the USA.
…the association with the Royal Society of Chemistry, and what they could offer in terms of publicity, was really valuable to us – when you are a small company you don’t have the money to generate PR like that.
What's next for Biogelx
Having recently raised £650,000 of equity investment, Biogelx are increasing their staff numbers and have opened an office in the USA. They now sell their products across three continents and are continuing their focus on sales to big-pharma companies.
The company have also secured public R&D funding to redesign their products for in vivo use, giving them a role in brand new applications including cell therapy and drug delivery technologies. Over the next two years they will be looking for further investment to take these in vivo gels through to commercialisation.
Biogelx Ltd... two years on
Working relationship with GSK
Still working with their competition mentors to develop their products.
New office in the USA
Expanding into the US market, focussing on sales to big-pharma companies.
Since 2013, Biogelx raised £650,000 of equity investment to continue their expansion overseas.