Lancashire clinical trials firm in £10m finance deal for expansion

A Preston-based clinical trials firm has secured £10m investment to fund its growth plans.
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Panthera Biosciences got the money from BGF and Gresham House Ventures, the latter investing on behalf of the Baronsmead VCTs.

It will allow Panthera to further grow its network of clinical trial sites across the UK and Western Europe.

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Since launching in late 2019, with an initial investment from Gresham House Ventures and Catapult in 2020, Panthera has grown to become a major player in the UK with nine sites and a rapidly growing order book.

Panthera chairman John LyonPanthera chairman John Lyon
Panthera chairman John Lyon

Panthera, which recruits patients and runs clinical trials on behalf of Contract Research Organisations and pharma, has further developed its site management organisation model through technology and trials in specialist areas such as oncology, neurology and vaccines as well as those treated in general practice. Oncology trials are undertaken in partnership with the Rutherford Cancer Centres across the UK.

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Preston based Panthera was founded by medical director Dr Ian Smith, who also founded Synexus the largest SMO in the world and Professor John Lyon (chairman and chief financial officer), a serial entrepreneur and previously a global Vice President of Covance.

Together they have recruited a management team with global experience, which has established relationships with leading CROs and pharma companies.

Panthera of Preston has secured £10m funding to open news sites and expand its operations in clinical trialsPanthera of Preston has secured £10m funding to open news sites and expand its operations in clinical trials
Panthera of Preston has secured £10m funding to open news sites and expand its operations in clinical trials
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The company said that this investment round will be used to fund further expansion in the UK and Western Europe, as well as continuing to invest in enhancing the service offering.

Panthera chairman John Lyon said, ”We are very pleased to have the backing of such reputable and respected investment houses as BGF and Gresham House Ventures, which will supercharge our expansion. In the last two and a half years our management team has built an exemplar SMO model which has been welcomed by our clients in the major pharmaceutical companies and CROs. In the next twelve months we aim to become the preferred provider for our clients across Europe”

Matt Widdall and Rhys Davenport led the deal for BGF - the UK and Ireland’s most active growth capital investor.

BGF investor Matt Widdall said: “We were attracted to Panthera’s high quality, experienced team who have rapidly developed an exciting proposition, with the potential to become the leading SMO in Western Europe.

"Today’s investment will unlock significant growth potential and we look forward to working with the business to realise its ambitions.

"BGF has become one of the most prolific investors in healthcare as the sector has flourished. Our experience means we are ideally placed to support Panthera on the further development of its technology platform and international roll-out strategy.”