Bioniqs Ltd - Secures funding to develop anti-malaria solvent

30 May 2008

York-based company Bioniqs has secured £50,000 of investment this month from Viking Fund to enable it to continue to fund its work with the anti-malaria drug artemisinin.

The investment by Viking Fund is in addition to an aggregate £150,000 investment from IP Group made since October 2007. Both the Viking Fund and the IP Group investments have been made by convertible loan.

Bioniqs, a spin-out company from the University of York, was established in 2004 to commercialise novel ionic liquids. These are fluids largely made up of electrically charged particles or ions. One application of this technology is bespoke solvents which are recyclable, biodegradable, have low toxicity and can be produced at low cost.

In March this year Bioniqs launched its ‘solventS’ service, a green solvent selection service with the objective of identifying and designing environmentally friendly solvents that have clear benefits over hazardous materials. The company is currently developing an ionic liquid which can be used to extract artemisinin, the drug used to treat malaria.

Malaria causes over one million deaths each year, with children being especially vulnerable to the disease. In Africa, Malaria is reported to kill one child in twenty before the age of five.1

Bioniqs’ CEO Adam Walker said: “The investment from the Viking Fund and IP Group will allow us to demonstrate the artemisinin extraction process at scale and fulfil the commercial potential of our ionic liquid. This will be a significant milestone for Bioniqs and will help to improve the technical, economic and environmental performance of extracting artemisinin for anti-malaria drugs”.

The company’s latest rounds of investment were provided by one of Yorkshire’s leading risk investors, Viking Fund, and IP Group plc, a company which specialises in commercialising intellectual property from universities.

Viking Fund’s managing director Andrew Burton said: “The technology that Bioniqs is commercialising has clear environmental and cost benefits over traditional solvents, and it is now demonstrating a solution to one of the third-world’s most dangerous diseases”.

1 Source: Malaria Foundation International

For further information please contact Amy Sutherland at Cicada Communications on 01423 567111 or email amy@cicada-comms.com.

Notes to editors:

The Viking Fund was established in June 2004 with a £5 million repayable grant from the DBERR’s Small Business Service. In three years of trading, Viking Fund has received more than 260 applications for funding and made more than 30 investments in 20 companies, totalling £2.6 million.

The Viking Fund will have a ten-year lifespan and expects to make around 40 investments of £50,000 in early-stage businesses, with a lower number of second-round investments of £150,000. It has four founding partners, all with in-depth experience of funding early-stage businesses. They are:

  • Ian McNeill, an experienced technology investor and leading business angel
  • Andrew Burton, a long-time technology business consultant and expert in business start-ups and incubation
  • Kevin Caley, an experienced seed fund manager
  • Stephen Frazer, a successful corporate finance partner with RSM Bentley Jennison  Chartered Accountants

To complement the Fund, the Viking Club has been established for business angels who wish to co-invest alongside it. The Fund and Club work in partnership, with the Fund identifying potential investment opportunities but Club members also able to propose opportunities to each other.

For more information visit www.vikingfund.co.uk