UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund Backs First Early-Stage Science Ventures in Partnership with Innovate UK

First science companies funded from investment accelerator pilot that joins grant funding with venture capital to help bridge the gap between UK R&D and commercialisation.

UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (UKI2S) — formerly known as Rainbow Seed Fund — an early-stage venture capital fund focused on promising technologies based on the UK’s publicly-funded research, today announces  investment in seven companies via the Government’s Innovate UK (IUK) investment accelerator pilot, which combines equity and grant funding to back high-potential therapeutic, diagnostic and device companies.

IUK’s £8.5 million investment accelerator pilot aims to bring private investors into Innovate UK grant-funded companies earlier, supporting these early-stage companies as they develop innovative solutions.

The seven newly-funded UKI2S life sciences portfolio companies operate in the engineering biology and medical device sectors and focus on solving world-impacting problems such as addressing antibiotic resistance, increasing efficiency of chronic wounds treatment, increasing safety of health staff in clinical settings, and improving peripheral nerve injury treatment.

“Securing enough capital to make sufficient progress to attract the next round of financing is notoriously hard for early-stage companies, as is investor willingness to continue to back the most promising companies in further funding rounds,” said Dr Andrew Muir, UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (UKI2S) Investment Director. “UKI2S aims to lower this establishment phase hurdle and drive companies towards commercialisation and sustainability, offering strategic support and leveraging private capital to help businesses stand on their own. With a risk appetite that is higher than pure private funds, we get involved at the earliest stages and continue to grow with these companies as ‘patient capital’ investors. We are delighted to be working with Innovate UK to speed  companies’ progress with greater capital.”

The new joint IUK and UKI2S investments include:


  • Camstech develops novel sensing technology used for point-of-care diagnostics. Camstech graduated from the CERN Business Incubation Centre (BIC) at UKI2S partner STFC and is based at the Daresbury Campus. Its hand-held device is designed for rapid diagnostics without the need of advanced laboratory equipment using advanced low cost fabrication techniques. The company has also been part of North Wales Photonics Launchpad programme supported by Innovate UK.
  • SFH Oxford — Since initial investment by UKI2S in 2013, the SFH team based at the Harwell Campus has been developing Graducheck, a sensor-based technology for improving the application of compression bandages for treatment of venous leg ulcers – a chronic wound that is a considerable burden; both for the patients and national healthcare systems. Venous leg ulcers affect over 12.5m patients globally and SFH Oxford’s application aims to massively increase the treatment efficiency.
  • C-Major Medical is an innovative medtech company based at the Daresbury Campus focused on developing a novel syringe platform technology – CHoRD (Controlled Helical Retraction Device). The platform will be used to produce a range of devices to reduce the risk of needle stick injuries in clinical settings and promote safety of health staff.


  • MyoDOPA addresses limitations associated with current treatments of Parkinson’s disease and develops a novel therapeutic profile providing efficient treatment of PD without the need for a PEG tube, pump or neurosurgery.
  • Linear Diagnostics started as a spin out from the University of Birmingham. Utilising a technique called linear dichroism, Linear Diagnostics’ molecular diagnostics platform rapidly detects key genetic sequences. The company’s lead programme is developing a handheld device to identify drug-resistant Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) and help fight against inappropriate prescriptions and the risk of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
  • Cagen has developed protein nanocages that allow the delivery of poorly soluble and poorly bioavailable molecules into cells. Cagen’s technology can target specific cells for improved drug availability, this has applicability in both screening during drug development and therapeutic delivery, potentially opening up novel drug classes for transformative healthcare solutions. The technology has been developed at Imperial College and tested with AstraZeneca.
  • Nemesis Bioscience is developing ‘Symbiotics’ -novel DNA therapeutics that remove antibiotic resistance. Protecting against the development of drug resistance and reactivating therapy that has faced rising resistance, the approach is reducing the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Nick Bassett, Head of Investor Partnerships at Innovate UK, commented: “The fundamental concept of the IUK investment accelerator model is to make the best grant funding and investment decision in partnership. Simultaneously using Innovate UK expertise to identify innovative opportunities and grant funding to change the risk profile of the proposition; in tandem with our partner’s expertise to identify the best commercial opportunities for investment meant companies had to prove themselves in two very different competitive processes to succeed. The UKI2S focus on investing early-stage venture capital in technology companies, makes them an ideal partner on the investment accelerator.”