Queen Mary spin-out sold to global healthcare company

An award-winning Queen Mary, University of London spin-out company, established in 2001 to manufacture and market synthetic bone substitutes, has been acquired by global healthcare company Baxter International Inc. for total consideration of up to $330 million.

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ApaTech, formed at Queen Mary’s Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Biomedical Materials nine years ago with an initial investment of £3 million (3i) has become an excellent example of how innovative technology from a UK university can be developed and commercialised on a global scale.  Queen Mary’s equity interest in ApaTech means the College is set to receive a significant sum from the sale.

ApaTech generated sales of approximately $60 million in the calendar year 2009 and its lead product, Actifuse, is being used in Europe, the United States and other select markets around the world.

This acquisition follows a number of recent successful venture capital investment rounds, which have underpinned significant expansion of the business including new manufacturing capacity, and enabled the company to continue the development of its lead products.

In 2009 ApaTech was ranked number two in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 Fastest Growing Private Medical Technology Companies listing and received a number of awards including North America Device Biologics Company of the Year at the Frost & Sullivan Excellence in Medical Technologies and Life Sciences Conference 2009 in recognition of its outstanding commercial success in the US orthobiologics market.  In 2008 ApaTech received the Research and Development Award at the Tech Track awards ceremony in London, in recognition of the innovative and ground breaking research which has underpinned the successful growth of the company. ApaTech also won the Business Initiative Award at The Times Higher Education Supplement awards in 2007.

Queen Mary Innovation (QMI) is responsible for fostering sustainable high-growth companies from Queen Mary, University of London’s research and manages the College’s equity interests in its spin-out portfolio.

Caroline Quest, Managing Director, QMI said “ApaTech is the perfect university spin-out success story. This sale demonstrates just how much can be achieved in a relatively short time-frame when innovative scientists join together with top-class commercial leadership. Congratulations to the founding inventor, Professor William Bonfield and all those involved at Queen Mary and ApaTech in this outstanding result.”

Professor Simon Gaskell, Principal of Queen Mary, University of London added; "ApaTech provides an outstanding example of the translation of fundamental research of the highest quality into eminently worthwhile and commercially successful application.”

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