Wednesday, February 21, 2018

News: Kirkstall secures export deal


Rotherham biotechnology company, Kirkstall Ltd, has secured an export deal which is expected to result in its advanced cell culture system being used by researchers around the world.

Based in Templeborough, the firm is pioneering the Quasi Vivo System that provides "in-vivo" like conditions for cell growth.

Kirkstall was established in 2006 and has an exclusive world-wide licence for patented cell culture technology from the University of Pisa in Italy. The technology, often referred to as "organ on a chip", provides a way to model the behaviour of multiple human organs interconnected by a flow system that mimics the flow of blood in the body.

Kirkstall recently signed a worldwide marketing and distribution agreement with a leading Swiss life-science company, Lonza.

Lonza Group is a multinational, chemicals and biotechnology company that is headquartered in Basel and employs over 14,000 full time employees in over 30 countries. Sales for 2017 hit CHF 4.6 billion (£2.6 billion).


A common issue faced by drug discovery scientists who use conventional in vitro culture systems is their poor translatability to humans. To address this problem, Kirkstall developed the Quasi Vivo System, which consists of interconnected cell-culture chambers and a peristaltic pump to create a continuous flow of media over cells. As a result, cultures are exposed to more physiologically relevant conditions, increasing the predictive value of in vitro experiments.

Dr Malcolm Wilkinson, CEO of Kirkstall, said: "The Quasi Vivo System complements so many of Lonza's existing products. It is already used in more than 70 labs worldwide across a wide variety of applications, and we look forward to working closely with Lonza to ensure the number of researchers benefiting from the system increases rapidly."

Braveheart Investment Group plc, the fund management and strategic investor group, owns around 40% of Kirkstall and added that it sees this deal as a significant step in the roll-out of Kirkstall's Quasi Vivo technology, giving the company access to Lonza's sales team across the world and product shipments have already commenced to Germany and the US.

In September 2017, Rothbiz reported that the board of Kirkstall was seeking to raise up to £2.5m in a private placing at a pre-money valuation of £5.6m.

Braveheart believes that if the private placing is successful it would transform Kirkstall, allowing it to rapidly expand the Quasi Vivo product portfolio to meet the requests of existing customers. It would also strengthen the sales and technical teams, in order to support distributors at the same time sales building direct sales.

Kirkstall website

Images: Kirkstall


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