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Diurnal Group plc


“Healthy rhythms for life”

In trying to help sufferers of congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), a rare disease of the adrenal gland which is typified by the lack of the hormone cortisol, many companies, scientists and clinicians have tried to develop a replacement product for cortisol. Most of these attempts have been based around its synthetic alternative, hydrocortisone, but none has been able to formulate hydrocortisone in such a way that it can mimic the natural circadian release profile of cortisol and thereby provide adequate relief for the symptoms of disease. By running multiple clinical studies with different formulations for hydrocortisone, the Diurnal team was able to generate an innovative solution to the problem which turns the normal rules of drug formulation on their head. Diurnal’s product, Chronocort®, has shown improved control of the disease in Phase 2 clinical trials with the potential to access a billion dollar market opportunity in CAH and related conditions.

IP Group was amongst the first investors in Diurnal (as Fusion IP), providing financial and advisory support to the company throughout its early proof-of-principle work on the Chronocort® formulation. This support stood firm, even when the odds of success seemed very narrow and the path to success littered with difficulties. After IP Group’s acquisition of Fusion IP in 2014, and with its bigger balance sheet, IP Group stepped up its level of support, leading an £8m investment into Diurnal to support its Phase 3 studies for Chronocort® and related product Infacort® for the treatment of paediatric patients with the disease. In addition, the IP Group team identified key personnel to bring into the company at financial, operational and Board level, and led a strategic review which gave rise to Diurnal’s new corporate vision, that of becoming the world’s leading specialty pharmaceutical company in the field of endocrinology. This vision has come a step closer to reality with Diurnal’s recent successful £30m IPO on AIM.

Diurnal is a UK company spun-out in 2004 from the University of Sheffield. Its products are based on the expertise of Professor Richard Ross, a world expert on endocrine conditions. Professor Ross’ detailed understanding of chronic endocrine conditions has enabled him to create a number of innovative pharmaceutical products that mimic the body’s natural hormone rhythm, foremost of which are Diurnal’s leading Phase 3 products – Chronocort® for the treatment of CAH and Infacort® for the treatment of paediatric adrenal insufficiency.

Read more about Diurnal here:

“IP Group has been a wonderful partner to Diurnal. On a financial and strategic level, IP Group has helped make Diurnal what it is today and has helped give us the ambition to become the world’s leading specialty endocrinology company. We are fortunate that, unlike so many early-stage investors, IP Group has a genuinely long-term vision, having stuck by us through thick and thin.” – Martin Whitaker, CEO, Diurnal Group plc.

Creavo Medical Technologies Ltd


“A new way to quickly detect life threatening medical conditions like heart attacks”

As with many great discoveries, Professor Ben Varcoe at the University of Leeds chanced upon the technology that became Creavo Medical Technologies. While repeating a Nobel Prize winning experiment in his own lab, and in trying to eliminate ‘a source of noise’ in the experiment, Professor Varcoe discovered he had actually invented a highly sensitive magnetometer that is now at the heart of Creavo Medical Technologies. But for some time, the device sat in his lab gathering dust until a chance conversation with a cardiologist hinted at the possibility of using it to detect the magnetic field of the heart. Today, that device can capture minute magnetic signals from organs to detect the likelihood of life-threatening medical conditions. It’s passive, unlike an x-ray, and non-invasive too.

IP Group has worked with Creavo Medical Technologies from a very early stage. Our healthcare team worked closely with Ben and Robert Barr (now chairman) to bring the original ideas to fruition and secure funding to spin the company out. One member of our healthcare team was seconded to the company during the first year to support its growth while another now sits on the Board. IP Group has provided funding, through IP Capital, as well as legal and business support. In addition, IP Exec, the Group’s headhunting arm, found Creavo Medical Technologies' CEO, Steve Parker, who also joined the Group’s IP Impact programme.

Creavo Medical Technologies is a privately-held medical company, spun out of the University of Leeds, focused on using advanced quantum principles to rapidly detect life threatening medical conditions.

Research by Professor Ben Varcoe led to the development of a portable and completely passive medical platform to detect and display the tiny bio-magnetic signals associated with various tissues in the body. These signals can be used in a variety of medical applications and for the detection of a range of medical conditions.

Creavo Medical Technologies' first focus area is in cardiology, on a rule out test for serious and life threatening heart conditions, including myocardial infarction (heart attack). This is an enormous, global problem: about one million people attend A&E departments in the UK every year with chest pain, only for the vast majority of them to be sent home after a sometimes lengthy and anxious stay. A rapid, rule out test on admission would revolutionise the way we treat patients with chest pain coming to hospital.

Vitalscan is a portable, battery powered medical device that can be used in a routine and acute hospital setting to perform a simple and passive scan at the patient’s bedside in around 3-5 minutes. It produces a trace, numerical data and visual magnetic field map of the heart to help healthcare professionals triage patients presenting with chest pain.

Read more about Creavo Medical Technologies here:

“Working with IP Group gives enormous value to a spin-out company like Creavo Medical Technologies. Their experience in supporting businesses at such an early stage, both financially and with additional services, enables the team to focus on growing and adding value to the business.” – Steve Parker, CEO, Creavo Medical Technologies Ltd.

Ultrahaptics Ltd


“Using ultrasound technology to create sensation on human skin”

Tom Carter was in the final year of his Master’s degree in Computer Science at the University of Bristol when he started exploring ultrasound technology. He further developed the initial concept to form the basis of his PhD studies, during which time he published numerous papers and filed various patents. Recognising the technology’s commercial viability, Tom left his studies to found Ultrahaptics in November 2013 and now steers the technical direction of the company.

IP Group worked with Ultrahaptics from a very early stage providing funding and business strategy. IP Exec, the Group’s headhunting arm, found the company’s chairman, Michael Tobin, while IP Capital, the Group’s FCA-authorised subsidiary, advised on and co-ordinated Ultrahaptics’ Series A funding round.

Ultrahaptics’ technology enables users to receive tactile feedback without needing to wear or touch anything. The technology uses ultrasound to project sensations through the air and directly onto the user. Users can ‘feel’ touch-less buttons, get feedback for mid-air gestures or interact with virtual objects.

Ultrahaptics was founded in 2013 based on technology originally developed at the University of Bristol.

Read more about Ultrahaptics here:

“IP Group has supported Ultrahaptics from day one, participating in all three investment rounds including the Series A which saw the company raise £10.1m. But, it’s not just about the money; their business support activities, executive recruitment and fund raising teams have been extremely valuable to the company’s development.” – Steve Cliffe, CEO, Ultrahaptics Ltd.

Xeros Technology Group plc


“A new way of cleaning clothes that is better for the environment!”

Professor Stephen Burkinshaw at the University of Leeds was initially looking to solve the opposite problem - how to help dyes stay on fabrics for longer. The breakthrough came with the realisation that the process could work in reverse to remove stains. Professor Burkinshaw and his team then worked on the concept of using polymer beads to remove stains from clothes with small volumes of water – and called the company Xeros, the Greek word for dry.

IP Group was very hands on with Xeros from the start, from helping form an initial business plan to providing key interim management in the early days including the CFO role. IP Group also provided business support as well as finance, assisted on strategy, including media and helped find new investors. In addition, IP Exec, the Group’s headhunting arm, also found a CEO and Chairman.

Xeros has developed a number of patented polymer bead systems for use in a range of commercial applications. The Group first targeted the commercial laundry market and has been supplying customers with 25kg (60lb) washing machines, employing its patented polymer bead cleaning system, and long term service agreements, primarily in the US but also the UK, Canada, the Caribbean and is now expanding into other countries.

In the commercial laundry market, the Xeros system has been shown to deliver superior cleaning performance whilst simultaneously achieving material reductions in water consumption by 80%, energy, chemical usage and carbon emissions when compared to conventional aqueous laundry processes. Seven of the top ten largest hotel chains are now customers as are businesses in both the industrial and retail laundry industries.

In addition to the commercial laundry market, Xeros’ polymer bead technology has a range of further potential applications in other industries which are currently in various stages of development and the most advanced of which are in leather processing and domestic laundry.

The Company's ordinary shares were admitted to trading on AIM in 2014.

Xeros is proud to have pioneered the first real innovation in the laundry industry in more than 60 years. Read more about Xeros here:

“IP Group truly understands innovation and its successful commercialisation. They support new businesses with a broad suite of practical support and services from seed stage through to IPO and beyond. Their experience in doing so is unparalleled in the UK market and I consider them to be a role model. Without IP Group, Xeros Technologies simply would not be in the strong position that it is today.” Mark Nichols, CEO, Xeros Technology Group plc.