A MedTech company behind gene-editing technology has raised £5.6 million in seed financing.

Pencil Biosciences is developing a fully synthetic gene modulation and editing platform that it says will have impact across a wide range of applications, including new therapeutic options for patients with rare diseases and cancer.

The company, based in Alderley Park, Cheshire, adds new investors Octopus Ventures, Northern Gritstone and Martlet Capital. Existing investors, including the Greater Manchester and Cheshire Life Science Fund managed by Catapult Ventures, UKI2S, Jonathan Milner (Meltwind), o2h Ventures participated in the round, with additional support from SyndicateRoom’s Access (a data-driven super angel fund).

Pencil Biosciences was founded in 2019 by Dr Rajik Ibrahim, Dr Timothy Schulz-Utermoehl and Dr Martin Quibell. Now led by CEO Dr Amanda Smith, primary founder and CTO Dr Ibrahim and chair Dr Jon Moore, the technology also has potential for the treatment of infectious disease, novel diagnostics, and innovation in agriculture and cell line engineering.

“Our ambition is to develop a truly innovative and unique gene modulation technology that catalyses innovation across a range of applications, including new therapeutic options for patients with rare diseases and cancer,” said Dr Smith. “This investment brings us closer to achieving our goals.”

Oliver Sims, investor at Octopus Ventures, said: “Octopus are really excited to back Pencil Biosciences and their experienced team to deliver the next generation technology for gene editing. 

“There is huge potential in the technology to impact therapeutics, research tools and industrial applications all of which are key areas for investment under Octopus Ventures’ Bio thesis.”

Duncan Johnson, CEO at Northern Gritstone, said: “Led by our philosophy of ‘profit with purpose’, we aim to back people and ideas that are changing the world, and there are few better sectors in which we can do that than biotechnology. 

“In this sector, Pencil is a fantastic example of the exciting new generation of science and technology businesses emerging and scaling in the North of England, and we look forward to working with Amanda and her team as they progress with the development of their innovative technology platform which has the potential to transform treatment provided to patients with rare diseases.”

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