University of Bristol stem cell spinout secures £7.6m seed funding

CellVoyant, an AI-first biotechnology spin-out from the University of Bristol accelerating the development of new stem cell therapies, has announced a £7.6 million seed round.

The company aims to enable the cost-effective, reliable, and rapid development of new cell therapies.

Stem cells unlock a range of treatment possibilities that have not previously been available to patients. While current treatment options rely on the body’s existing cells, stem cells can develop into many different cell types within the body – regenerating damaged tissues and organs or replacing dysfunctional and dead cells.

There are already promising potential applications in chronic diseases such as cancer, and metabolic diseases like diabetes. In future, stem cells could be used to alleviate currently untreatable conditions like dementia, fertility, and spinal cord injury.

Professor Rafael Carazo Salas from the University of Bristol’s School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine is the CEO and founder of CellVoyant.

“Cell therapies have the potential to revolutionise the way we treat diseases that affect millions of people every year,” Professor Carazo Salas said.

“By combining the latest advances in AI and live cell imaging, we can help bring these transformative treatments to the market quickly, reliably, and cost-effectively. This milestone validates the potential of our approach and will help us to accelerate our R&D capabilities.”

Stem cell biology is complex and unpredictable, and producing pure, viable populations of stem cell derivatives at clinical scale can be slow and challenging.

CellVoyant’s platform combines advanced AI with live cell imaging to help scientists understand the composition of cells and anticipate how they will evolve.

This allows researchers to predict stem cell behaviour with unprecedented precision.

CellVoyant will use funding to scale the business, including doubling the team size over the next two years, expanding laboratory and experimental infrastructure, and advancing AI capabilities.

The company plans to hire stem cell experts, machine learning, and AI engineers, and expanding its business development and commercialisation.

Led by Octopus Ventures, with participation from Horizons Ventures, Verve Ventures, and Air Street Capital, the seed funding marks the first stage in commercialising CellVoyant’s AI and imaging platforms.

Uzma Choudry, Lead Biotech Investor at Octopus Ventures, said: “University spin-outs like CellVoyant are at the heart of the UK’s thriving biotech ecosystem. We are thrilled to invest into a company that is transforming how patients can benefit from life-changing treatments.”

Find out more information about CellVoyant here: CellVoyant — An ai-first biotechnology company on a mission to cure chronic diseases.

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