Foresight Group, a listed private equity and infrastructure investment manager, has announced a £300k growth capital investment from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) into ReadyGo Diagnostics Limited, a start-up diagnostics business.
The pandemic has highlighted the need for a simple, self-administered test that produces rapid, accurate results. ReadyGo has developed a pen-like device that has been adapted to help with COVID-19 detection. The device allows for testing of multiple infections, including distinguishing between coronavirus and influenza, and also testing for viral conjunctivitis, herpes and dengue fever.
The diagnosis is carried out on the spot, with a 90-95% sensitivity. If successfully developed, ReadyGo’s pen has the low cost, speed and ease of use of a lateral flow test but has an accuracy comparable to more expensive and time-consuming lab-based style tests.
The total of investment of £780,000 (£300,000 from MEIF and £480,000 from management and a consortium of private investors) will allow the company to focus on the development of the technology, build out the management team and potentially establish relationships with complementary strategic partners.
ReadyGo was formed in 2019 by co-founders Ben Cobb, Mike Catt and Mike Pearson. As part of MEIF’s investment strategy, ReadyGo, will open a laboratory at Colworth Science Park in Bedfordshire, an established centre of scientific expertise. The company expects to create around 20 highly skilled jobs over the next few years as it continues to grow.
Commenting on the investment, Chief Executive Officer and pen inventor Ben Cobb, CEO of ReadyGo, said:
“ReadyGo has been launched to innovate solutions for self-testing including over-the-counter tests for infectious diseases such as COVID-19. I am greatly excited that Elaine Warburton, John Clarkson, Michael Catt and Michael Pearson have joined ReadyGo’s Board with the goal of achieving a fundamental change in the way molecular diagnostics can be delivered.”
Adam Huckerby, Investment Manager at Foresight, added:
“We are excited by the opportunities presented by ReadyGo. We are pleased to be supporting the management team which has a vast amount of experience, networks and resources to deliver these innovative devices to the market.”
Grant Peggie, Director at the British Business Bank, said:
“The MEIF is driving innovation across the Midlands and with this latest investment is helping to bring new diagnostics technology to market. As a result of the investment, the Fund is also contributing to the creation of new skilled jobs, with ReadyGo set to open a new laboratory in Bedfordshire – cementing the region’s growing reputation as a science superpower.”
Vicky Hlomuka, SEMLEP’s Growth Hub Manager, added:
“At SEMLEP, we’re passionate about turning innovative ideas into a reality. It’s great to hear about the Midlands Engine Investment Fund supporting Bedfordshire-based business, ReadyGo, to do just that. The pandemic has changed the way we do businesses. ReadyGo has utilised the changing landscape to create a forward-thinking solution, helping our communities on the route to normality.”
The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.
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