Magnitude Biosciences is a spin-out from Durham University, created with support from Northern Accelerator, the four university partnership that is accelerating the commercialisation of research in the North East’s universities. Prior to moving to NETPark, Magnitude were based within the University.
The contract research organisation designs, implements and delivers reliable automated research services for their customers as an alternative pre-clinical provider in the academic and pharmaceutical industry.
The name Magnitude Biosciences mirrors their ambitions and belief that their technology will increase research productivity by an order of magnitude. The technology is based on working with tiny worms called C. elegans, a model that has been very successful in academic biology for many years. In fact, three Nobel prizes have been awarded to groups working with C. elegans, proving it is an extremely powerful academic model.
The work of Magnitude Biosciences increases the power of C. elegans research. The company provides a quick way to test the effectiveness of compounds being researched for treating degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s for example, which allows customers to make better decisions about which drugs to take forward, in addition to supporting funding applications to further their research.
Chief Executive Officer at Magnitude Biosciences David Weinkove said: “It was always our intention to move to bigger premises in the future. The COVID 2020 lockdown accelerated those plans and we started to look for suitable premises that would allow us to continue our research. From first contact NETPark manager Janet Todd was a tremendous help, she facilitated our move making sure we found the right combination of office and laboratory space to suit our needs. NETPark is in an excellent location, there are many like-minded businesses on the park – it really is an excellent base from which we hope to grow our business.”
Janet Todd, NETPark Manager added: “Magnitude Biosciences is a highly innovative company who have identified a growing area of research and development in the field of age-related conditions. We are delighted they chose to base their business within our science and technology community here at NETPark. The park is ideal for this type of University spin out company, where the group will be able to benefit from the facilities, support and networks as they move to the next stage of their development.”
Magnitude Biosciences also joins the growing list of young biotech companies that, thanks to the early support and guidance of Durham University’s Research Commercialisation Team, have gone on to successfully transition from Durham University to NETPark.
Dr Tim Hammond, Director of Commercialisation and Economic Development at Durham University, and Project Lead for Northern Accelerator, added: “It’s fantastic to have supported Magnitude Biosciences from a seed of an idea in an innovative academic’s mind, through to the formation of a promising company, and now to see them ‘flying the nest’ and setting up their new base at NETPark.
“Through the Northern Accelerator Executives into Business programme, a strong management team was formed, and now a growing team of people are employed in skilled jobs in another high potential biosciences company, here in the region.
“The university has a strong relationship with NETPark, to be strengthened further still with the launch of our University Enterprise Zone, ‘Orbit’, next year – where we’ll see more SMEs working closely with our academic expertise. We’re confident Magnitude will continue to go from strength to strength in their new home – a journey to inspire an upcoming pipeline of academic entrepreneurs.”
Since moving to NETPark Magnitude Biosciences has raised additional funding via the government’s Coronavirus Future Fund, which was matched by existing investors Saker Capital and North East Innovation Fund run by Northstar Ventures Capital to bring the total to £250,000.
The company plan to use this funding to take on more staff and scale up operations at NETPark.