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The company was co-founded by Dr Olivia Champion and Professor Richard Titball. 

Pioneering spin-out company secures major investment

A pioneering Bioscience spin-out company founded by experts from the University of Exeter has secured a major investment to help develop the business.

The ground-breaking company, BioSystems Technology, received £200,000 from private backers, who in addition to the finance, will also provide support and guidance to help the company realise its full potential across the UK and Europe.

The innovative spin-out was co-founded by Dr Olivia Champion, an infectious diseases expert and Professor Richard Titball, Professor of Microbial Pathogenesis. Together they have pioneered a proprietary method for breeding and sterilising Galleria melonella, the larvae of the greater wax moth.

By producing standardised, research grade insect larvae, called TruLarv, the company are confident that they can help reduce reliance on mammalian testing and provide "low cost, high throughput, ethical solutions".

Dr Champion described the funding as "an amazing and exciting opportunity to see the business flourish".

She said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for us to take the business to a completely new level. The investment will allow us to build a team and expand, and really promote our work across the UK and into Europe. The reduction in the use of experimental animals has been Government policy for many years and TruLarv provide an alternative research model that will align with legislation by reducing the number of experimental mammals used in pre-clinical studies.

“It could simultaneously increase the effectiveness and success rate of compound screening programmes by allowing much broader screens of candidates before testing in mammals, increasing the power of, for example, drug development programmes and the capacity for anti microbial drug discovery".

Dr Champion said that the business strongly supported the ethos of the 3 R's - replacement, reduction and refinement - that are guiding research using animals in the UK.

Dr Champion was recently invited, as part of the SETsquared incubator initiative, to present the pioneering work of TruLarv at a prestigious reception at the House of Commons. The event was attended by MPs including The Minister of State for Universities and Science, the Rt Hon Jo Johnson who took a keen interest in the company and celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit and levels of investment that help businesses such as this grow and develop.

Date: 3 May 2016

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