Mercia EIS Funds

Abzena IPO

Specialist technology investor Mercia Fund Management (Mercia) says today’s successful flotation on AIM of life sciences company Abzena plc represents a substantial uplift for its investors and a belief in substantial further growth to come.

Mercia was part of the syndication that provided the recent £13.5 million in funding to the biopharmaceuticals testing company in July 2013.

Abzena provides technology for major pharmaceutical companies to help them develop new products that are more efficient, have fewer side effects and elicit more consistent and predictable patient responses.

Today the firm raised £20 million by placing 25 million shares at 80p per share. Though Mercia private investors through its SEIS and EIS capital under management will need to hold their newly listed AIM shares until the three year holding period has been satisfied, in order to secure the tax benefits associated with Enterprise Investments Schemes, the launch price represents a return of 170% to its private investors in just over ten months with strong growth forecasted for Abzena over the coming years.

Mark Payton, Managing Director of Mercia, which specialises in identifying promising technology firms and has strong links with several universities and incubators across the Midlands and North of England, said: “Abzena grew from IPR from Imperial Innovations and the University of Warwick University and looked an exciting investment from the outset. Today’s placement on AIM is a clear validation of our active investment strategy and excellent news for both our investment team and investors.

“The combination of the Abzena management team’s strong vision – to develop better biopharmaceutical products – and a sound business plan made the company stand out. It is extremely rewarding to support a portfolio company all the way to a listing on AIM. We applaud the exceptional team at Abzena and are very confident about the company’s next stage of development.”

John Burt, CEO of Abzena, said: “Our admission to AIM marks an important milestone in Abzena’s development. The proceeds will provide a platform for us to grow our existing business and expand our offering, enabling more customers and partners to translate research into better biopharmaceutical products that benefit patients.

“Abzena combines a growing, high-margin service business with the potential for substantial longer term revenue streams from licences to our proprietary technologies.”