NetScientific acquires portfolio company
Francesca Morgan
RNS Newswire
09:52, 16th October 2020

NetScientific (AIM:NSCI FOLLOW) has agreed to acquire 100% control of its portfolio company, ProAxsis Limited, from QUBIS and the founders, for a cash consideration of £0.23m.

NetScientific previously held a 57% stake on a fully diluted basis in ProAxsis Limited.

The life sciences and technology investment and commercialisation firm told investors that it has now agreed to acquire the outstanding minority interest of 43.6% in ProAxsis Limited.

ProAxsis Limited is a commercial-stage diagnostics firm, based in Northern Ireland, with ‘a rapidly growing global client list of pharmaceutical companies and academic laboratories.’

ProAxsis has registered a CE Mark for activity-based immunoassays which targets enzymes neutrophil elastase (NE) and proteinase 3 as biomarkers of lung infection and inflammation in chronic respiratory diseases such as COPD, cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis. 

This technology has been translated into a rapid point-of-care test called NEATstik® which enables contrast monitoring of active neutrophil elastase levels in sputum samples or sputum culture, a test that a doctor may order to help determine what is growing in the lungs. 

Shares in NetScientific have skyrocketed in value since April 2020 where shares were trading at 2.10p, to open this morning at 61.5p.

In the year ended 31 December 2019, ProAxsis generated revenues of £0.734m and a loss after taxation of £0.181m, of which £0.052m was included with non-controlling interests.

Net liabilities for the period amounted to £2.4m with £1m included with non-controlling interests. Following the acquisition, ProAxsis will be fully consolidated within the Group and will operate as a separate subsidiary, with no amounts included with non-controlling interests.

In August, ProAxsis was awarded an Innovate UK grant as part of the “business-led innovation in response to global disruption” scheme set up in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

It said the £0.05m award will be utilised to develop novel sputum-based cytokine multiplex assays in order to support the development of novel therapeutic options for the virus.  

"In line with the Group's Strategic Review and stated plans, ProAxsis is an example of the strong commercialisation potential of spin out companies from UK Universities such as Queen's University Belfast,” said Dr. Ilian Iliev, Chief Executive Officer of NetScientific.

He added, “Increasing our stake in ProAxsis via these agreements will enable us to provide the necessary support required to maximise the company's value and help the company capture synergies within our broader ecosystem in this growing sector.

We are delighted that David Moore, the University's Head of Spin Outs and Investments at QUBIS, has agreed to remain on the ProAxsis board of directors for the foreseeable future."

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