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Roslin Technologies completes £10m funding round to become the largest Agritech start-up in UK history

Roslin Technologies Limited has successfully raised £10 million from institutional investors The British Innovation Fund.

The Agritech start-up is jointly owned by the University of Edinburgh, agriculture-focused private equity advisors JB Equity and The British Innovation Fund, a Milltrust International fund, with cornerstone commitment from The Royal County of Berkshire Pension Fund. 

Roslin Technologies aims to commercialise the intellectual property and know-how of the University’s Roslin Institute and The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, the UK’s leading vet school, revolutionising agricultural productivity on a global scale through ground-breaking science.

Based at University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus, the company takes advantage of facilities and infrastructure that has benefitted from more than £200m of investment over the past five years, making the campus the largest concentration of animal science in Europe.

Among the first technologies planned for commercialisation are a low-cost manufacturing system to produce therapeutic proteins in chicken eggs, allowing drug discovery for diseases; methods for biobanking poultry germplasm to preserve genetic diversity for future generations; and novel vaccines and diagnostics for veterinary markets to enhance animal welfare.  

“This investment recognises the strength of the University’s innovation capacity and cements our position as one of the world’s leading research-intensive universities,” said Sir Timothy O’Shea, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh.   

Mr Griff Williams, co-founder of Milltrust Agricultural Investments and Chief Investment Officer of the British Innovation Fund said, “With a global population increasing beyond nine billion by 2040, innovation and investment in animal science and sustainability will be critical to ensure global food security. Roslin Technologies provides us with the opportunity to couple sustainable impact with generating investor returns.”

Mr Glen Illing, CEO of Roslin Technologies and partner in JB Equity said, “We are thrilled to welcome the British Innovation Fund as partner in our joint venture with the University of Edinburgh. There is incredible demand for innovations that address desperately needed productivity increases in agriculture. This investment allows us to deliver a technology pipeline that spans across The Roslin Institute’s core focus on food, environmental security and animal and human health.

Mr Simon Hopkins, Chief Executive Officer of Milltrust International said, “The Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh is one the world’s leading research hubs for critical areas of sciences and technology that impact food security and disease control. We are proud to be able to invest in the continuation of this work at this critical juncture. Given our strong roots in Asia, and our partnership with Future Planet Capital, we see significant opportunity for Roslin to help safeguard the food chain in Asia Pacific”.

Mr Nick Greenwood, Pension Fund Manager at The Royal County of Berkshire Pension Fund said "as the seed investor in the British Innovation Fund we are pleased to see that our investment thesis of investing in innovation coming out of British Universities is bearing fruit and we look forward to seeing how both Roslin Technologies and the British Innovation Fund develop over the next few years".

ENDS

The Roslin Institute and The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies are part of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine of the University of Edinburgh, co-located on the Easter Bush Campus. The Institute undertakes research within the framework of BBSRC Institute Strategic Programmes focused on the health and welfare of animals, and applications of basic animal sciences in human and veterinary medicine, the livestock industry and food security. RDSVS (with Roslin) was the highest-ranked submission in Veterinary and Agriculture in the 2014 UK-wide Research Excellence Framework.  

JB Equity is a private equity and advisory boutique that focuses exclusively on Agribusiness and Agritech. JB Equity invests in companies with technologies, brands, distinctive know-how and a sustainable competitive advantage with significant growth potential. JB Equity’s partners are senior agribusiness experts who combine technical and operational skills with experience from investment management, corporate finance and new business venturing. JB Equity is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), is headquartered in Edinburgh, and maintains partner offices in China, Thailand and the United States.

The British Innovation Fund (BIF) is an investment fund managed by Milltrust International LLP, an award-winning investment firm located in London and Singapore. Subadvisors to the fund are Milltrust Agricultural Investments and Future Planet Capital, an investor-led, co-investment platform giving the world’s largest investors scale-efficient access to innovation, investing with and alongside the best managers in top university clusters to address and profitably impact the world’s biggest challenges. Milltrust Agricultural Investments has assembled an experienced team that has been investing institutional capital for two decades leveraging assets into agriculture associated projects. 

The Royal County of Berkshire Pension Fund is a pension fund administered by the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead (RBWM). The pension fund has some 63,000 members working in the local authority sector within the county of Berkshire, England, and total assets worth £1.7bn.