Old College Capital has joined a £1 million investment in ŌGI Bio, a University of Edinburgh start-up aiming to revolutionise microbial culturing.
The investment round is led by TriCapital; alongside Apollo Informal Investment; Old College Capital, the University's in-house venture investment fund managed by Edinburgh Innovations; Sapphire Capital Partners in conjunction with Queen’s University Belfast’s QUBIS Innovation Fund; Merleview (Capital); and Scottish Enterprise.
The funding will help the company establish a new laboratory and manufacturing facility, expand its team and ramp up sales of the company’s automation systems to the microbiology and biotechnology sectors.
The automated device developed by ŌGI Bio improves processing capability, cost effectiveness and data analytics thereby facilitating and increasing research and development capability.
Founded in 2020 by Chief Executive Alex McVey, a physics graduate from the University and Royal Society of Edinburgh Fellow, and Chief Science Officer Professor Teuta Pilizota, an internationally renowned expert on microbial physiology and Chair of Biophysics at the university, ŌGI Bio started shipping its first customer orders this year.
Our aim is to ultimately have one of our devices on the bench of every microbiologist and biotechnologist, enabling them to innovate more productively, flexibly, and sustainably.
Professor Pilizota added:
Our products can be used by anyone who is growing microbes like bacteria, yeast, and algae, but we are focusing initially on biotech and microbiology companies, and academic research laboratories who are looking to accelerate their own development with low-cost automation and improved analytical tools.
DDE academic award
In April Professor Pilizota was named the winner of this year’s Entrepreneurship Academic Award presented by EI's Data-Driven Entrepreneurship programme. Based on nominations from staff and students, the accolade is presented to the individual or team within the University which has made the biggest impact encouraging students, researchers, and the wider community to become entrepreneurs and connect their ideas to the world.
Also this year, the firm received a Smart: Scotland grant via Scottish Enterprise, and additional funding from the Higgs Incubation Centre.
ŌGI Bio was the inaugural winner of the IBioIC biotechnology category at the Scottish Edge awards in 2020, and was one of the companies selected for Scottish Enterprise’s Unlocking Ambition accelerator in 2020/21.
Andrea Young, Fund Manager at Old College Capital, said:
ŌGI Bio is a great example of the University of Edinburgh’s expertise in commercialising deep technologies.
Edinburgh Innovations supported ŌGI Bio throughout the technology development and start-up process and Old College Capital is delighted to continue supporting the team by participating in the investment round.
ŌGI Bio’s board is chaired by Stephen Roe, supported by investor directors Michiel Smith representing TriCapital and Apollo and Andrew Murphy representing Old College Capital.
Moray Martin, Chairman and Managing Partner of The TriCapital Syndicate LLP, said:
OGI Bio has a world-class leadership team, an exciting product that is already achieving commercial success and coherent and realisable plans to extend its product range. We are delighted to be supporting Alex, Teuta and the team through its scale up phase.
Legal firms Anderson Strathern and Brodies acted for the investors on the investment round, while the company was advised by Vialex.
Photograph, from left: ŌGI Bio Investment Director Michiel Smith, ŌGI Bio Chief Executive Alex McVey, and Moray Martin, Chairman and Managing Partner of TriCaptial. Photograph by Stewart Attwood.
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