Mercia Asset Management PLC, the regionally focused specialist asset manager, has completed a £0.9 million new direct investment into Abingdon-based Sense Biodetection Limited. Mercia first invested in Sense through its third-party managed EIS funds in 2016.
With operations in both Oxford and Cambridge, Sense is focused on the development of rapid, instrument-free molecular diagnostics testing for bacterial and viral infections. In March 2020, the company announced an accelerated programme to launch a diagnostic test for COVID-19.
Mercia’s direct investment is part of a syndicated funding round with other investors including KDT Sense Holdings LLC, Cambridge Innovation Capital (Jersey) Limited, Earlybird Health GmbH & Co. Beteiligungs KG, and private investors including Abcam founder Jonathan Milner. The total size of the funding round is up to $50million.
Mark Payton, Chief Executive Officer of Henley-in-Arden based Mercia, said:”We have been tracking Sense through our third-party managed funds and are delighted to now be making our first direct investment as part of this material scale-up funding commitment, alongside such a strong group of investors. Mercia has considerable expertise in Life Sciences and this investment adds another exciting business from the sector into our direct investment portfolio. With the very recent receipt of £1.0million from the sale of Clear Review Limited, this investment clearly demonstrates our ability to ‘evergreen’ Mercia’s balance sheet, by re-investing realisation proceeds into both new and existing portfolio companies.”