Growth capital investor Oxford Capital has reinvested in portfolio company Oxitec, and will now support the company’s commercialisation efforts.
Set up in 2002 after technology was spun out of the University of Oxford, Oxitec is involved with controlling insects that spread disease and harm crops. Prior to securing the investment, Oxitec secured approval by the Brazilian National Technical Commission for Biosecurity (CTNBio) for its dengue mosquito work.
Using genetics, Oxitec breeds and releases ‘sterile’ males of the damage-causing species. This form of biological control is said to be safe to other species, cause no lasting impact on the environment and be cost-effective.
Joining Oxford Capital in the transaction are other existing backers including the University of Oxford and East Hill Management – as well as private investors from South America, Europe and Asia.
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Oxitec CEO Hadyn Parry believes that the investment represents a ‘strategic milestone’ for the business ahead of its commercialisation push.
‘The World Health Organisation estimates that almost half of the world’s population is now at risk from dengue, and with no specific treatment or vaccine available, effective techniques for controlling the mosquitoes that spread that potentially fatal virus are urgently needed,’ Parry explains.
‘Oxitec’s mosquitoes represent a novel and safe approach to combating dengue, and we look forward to working with authorities around the world to make our technology available.’
Oxitec has held trials in Brazil, Grand Cayman and Malaysia, demonstrating a reduction in wild dengue mosquito populations.
The $10 million, alongside financing commercialisation, will be used to help with local recruitment and training for Oxitec’s programmes.
Edward Mott, managing partner at Oxford Capital, comments, ‘Oxitec has made a huge step forward in securing approval for its dengue control technology in Brazil and is now poised for a full-scaled commercial roll-out.
‘With huge and growing global demand for dengue control, we believe the future is very bright for the business.’