Drug-screening spin-out secures new funding

Semarion Ltd , a University of Cambridge spin-out company from the Cavendish Laboratory, combines materials engineering and cell biology to help biopharma companies make better medicines, faster. It announced today that it has closed a £2.14 million seed funding round.

The funding will support the commercial development of Semarion’s SemaCyte cell assaying platform. It will also enable further expansion of the team, as Semarion recruits scientists and engineers, and establishes additional research partnerships with biopharma partners for bespoke solutions to cell screening challenges.

SemaCytes, developed by Semarion, are a novel class of cell carrier materials, created using microchip fabrication technologies, nanomagnetism and smart materials. By facilitating workflow automation, assay miniaturisation and cell barcoding, this technology improves the quality and reproducibility of cell screening data while reducing the time and cost of drug discovery workflows.

Semarion was co-founded at the Cavendish Laboratory in 2018 by Jeroen Verheyen (CEO), Tarun Vemulkar (CTO), and Professor Russell Cowburn. Verheyen’s background in cell model development and Vemulkar’s experience in advanced materials and microfabrication drive Semarion’s vision to address foundational bottlenecks in drug discovery by integrating expertise across disciplines. Previously, the company received pre-seed funding and business support from Cambridge-based healthcare accelerator, Start Codon , which supported the transition of the company out of the University.

This investment round was led by Parkwalk Advisors, with the University of Cambridge Seed Funds, Martlet Capital, and angel investors also contributing.

Jeroen Verheyen, Co-Founder & CEO, Semarion, said: "This is a crucial step towards the commercialisation of our SemaCyte cell assaying platform. We were excited to see our product testers appreciate its truly unique feature. We aim to keep working closely with biopharma partners to address their unmet cell screening needs. I would like to thank all our investors and supporters for believing in the Semarion team and the SemaCyte technology."

Dr Del Trezise, Advisor and Non-Executive director at Semarion said: "Our investors have identified the potential of Semarion’s technology, which is uniquely positioned to address a significant market opportunity and revolutionise drug discovery approaches. I look forward to working with the team to support the Company as it progresses to the next stage of commercial and scientific expansion."   


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