NPIF Equity

Rapid diagnostics company secures £1.5m for expansion

A Yorkshire diagnostics company is set for growth after securing a £1.5m investment from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

The funding will allow Abingdon Health to fulfil new contract wins and invest in new equipment and processes at its headquarters at the National Agri-Food Innovation Campus in York.

Abingdon specialises in ‘point of care’ tests, to diagnose disease in humans, animals and plants and to measure drugs, hormones and other biomarkers in a range of sample types. These single use devices, similar to a pregnancy test, allow testing to be carried out on site, in the field or at home and the results are easy to interpret by eye or using smartphone apps and reader devices. Point of care tests allow more rapid diagnosis and monitoring than traditional laboratory tests.

Abingdon develops and manufactures tests for clients worldwide in the healthcare, veterinary, food and agriculture sectors, with over 50 per cent of its output going to export markets. Founded by the CEO Chris Yates and Dr Chris Hand, the Chairman, the company employs around 40 people and also has laboratories in Birmingham.

A series of acquisitions in recent years has extended its capabilities and in addition to providing test development services and high-volume contract manufacturing, it offers its own range of tests, reader devices and other products.

Mark Wilcockson, Senior Manager at British Business Bank, said: “This NPIF funding will support Abington Health to invest in both new equipment and premises, to further develop its unique product offering and worldwide client base. I look forward to seeing this company grow in the coming months, with the aid of NPIF investment.”

David Dickson, Chair of the Infrastructure Board for York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership, said: “It’s fantastic to see NPIF funding generating significant innovation in bio and health technology right here on our patch. Having Abington Health and their rapid diagnostic testing facility at the National Agri-Food Innovation Campus is a significant win for our rural economy, seeing the benefits of globally recognised expertise, home grown and available for the region’s food and farming industry.”

Chris Yates, CEO of Abingdon said: “Rapid diagnostic testing offers significant benefits over conventional laboratory tests. We help companies migrate from the laboratory and carry out testing closer to the patient, or in the field or farm. This funding will help us move towards our vision of being a leading innovator in the sector.”

Mark Wyatt and Jonathan Sharp from Mercia Fund Managers worked on the investment.

Jonathan Sharp, Investment Manager said: “Rapid diagnostic testing is a fast-growing global market. Abingdon Health has positioned itself as an expert in the field, with a full range of products and services. The investment will help it to manage its growing order book and take advantage of opportunities worldwide.”

CMS provided legal advice to Mercia while Bristows advised the company. The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.