North West Business Briefs

Alderley Park-based proteomic-data science and diagnostics company, Kinomica, has secured GBP3.9m in funding for pioneering technology that could prove integral to the development of new drug treatments. KScan, a next-generation biomarker and molecular diagnostics platform, has been designed to aid the development of kinase inhibitor drugs for treating cancer patients and other conditions. It can be utilised at every stage of the drug development process from generating novel drug targets, to investigating drug resistance and classifying patients for clinical trials.

Kinomica has already secured commercial agreements with several blue-chip pharma companies, including AstraZeneca, and the investment marks a major milestone the UK’s most active growth capital investor, and healthcare, science and engineering investor, Longwall Venture Partners investing GBP1.5m, respectively. Additional funding of GBP900,000 was secured via seed investors, including BioCity, Alderley Park Ventures, and Puffin Point, a family office in London. The investment will be used to finance the rapid up-scale of operations – including facilities and equipment – to deliver a pipeline of projects.

Jane Theaker, Kinomica chief executive, said: “This marks a huge step forward for Kinomica and for KScan, as we look to the future of cancer treatment. Our pioneering technology offers much-needed support for the development of new precision medicines and represents a new approach to drug trials and treatments that will have a huge impact on patients’ lives.” For BGF, the deal was led by Rhys Davenport, an investor in the North West team, life sciences lead Tim Rea, and Jonathan Earl, who led BGF’s 2019 investment in BioCity Group and is an investor in BGF’s Midlands team.

Rebecca Todd, Investment Director, led the project for Longwall Ventures. ::

Leyland Trucks is celebrating the production of its 200,000th DAF LF vehicle, 19 years after it manufactured the first chassis of its kind.

The significant milestone was achieved at Leyland Trucks’ world-class facility, which has produced commercial vehicles for 40 years.

The first ever LF-chassis came off the production line in 2001 and since then the highly acclaimed distribution truck has received several industry awards including International Truck of the Year in 2002 and multiple Fleet Truck of the Year titles, most recently in 2019. The celebrated truck is being delivered to Blackpool-based transport operator EVTS, a long-time DAF customer which specialises in next-day and overnight pallet deliveries throughout the UK. The vehicle is part of a nine-truck order to be added to EVTS’ existing fleet of 30 trucks and 50 trailers.

Brennan Gourdie, Leyland Trucks managing director, said: “We are, of course, very proud to have reached this important landmark in the history of not only the LF product, but also of Leyland Trucks. The milestone represents the excellent characteristics of the truck itself and is also a reflection of the industry-leading quality our 1,000 dedicated employees deliver to our worldwide customers every day.” ::

North West Business Briefs

Sandwich Express (Cheshire) has secured an increased finance facility from Allied Irish Bank (GB) to support the firm’s continued growth which has included the recent refurbishment of its shop at Ellesmere Port that led to a 400% rise in turnover.

Established in 1918, Sandwich Express (Cheshire) is a long-standing family business which was originally named ‘Drury’s Bakery.’ Today it is run by Spencer Drury and Martin Drury who are third and fourth generation family members, respectively, with a bakery and sandwich shop in Ellesmere Port and a fleet of food trucks delivering sandwiches and snacks to offices, industrial/business parks and vending machine facilities across Ellesmere Port, Wirral, Chester, Birkenhead, Cheshire, and the surrounding area. The firm needed the funding to expand its fleet of delivery vans to 20. The additional headroom in the facility means the business can access funding when it needs it, which has proven important during the pandemic and helped support the refurbishment of its bakery and sandwich shop.

The impact of COVID-19 and people working from home at the start of the pandemic forced the team to change how they operate and supply home delivery food essentials boxes, but more recently the business has been able to get its vans back out on the road.

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Martin Drury said: “Now people have the confidence to get back out to the shops and some people are back in their offices this has boosted our income considerably. All but one of our vans are back out now, and things are looking much brighter for the future.” James Prendergast, assistant relationship manager at Allied Irish Bank (GB) said: “Sandwich Express is a great family business that has been serving the local area for over 100 years and continues to enjoy growth, despite the challenges of the current environment.”

:: North West Business Briefs

Andrew Heaton Cowgills Wealth has launched a Court of Protection Service which will be led by independent financial planner Andrew Heaton.

Andrew is a specialist in Court of Protection work and is now expanding the service across the North West and Yorkshire regions. The Court of Protection team will predominantly work with lawyers, solicitors and trustees to provide expert financial planning advice and investment guidance for clients who may have received an award of damages through the Court of Protection or are managing the financial affairs on behalf of individuals who lack capacity. Andrew said: “My background is very much in Court of Protection work, which is not typically an area associated with accountancy firms or business advisors, so this is quite a specialised service.

“Working with clients’ legal teams we are able to deliver the best advice and outcomes for the individuals who need it most and are often able to direct them towards additional benefits of which they may not have been aware.” Paul Stringer, managing partner of Cowgills, said: “Andrew is highly experienced in this specialist area and has been delivering superb results for our clients. As part of a recent re-structure of our wealth team we have launched our Court of Protection service which meets a notable demand in the market.”

:: North West Business Briefs

Debbie Jukes, Gaynor Rigby, Colin Lawson Wilmslow-based Equilibrium has experienced a record year of successes, as the firm announced that it had reached a GBP10.25m turnover and GBP1bn in assets under management for the first time.

Now, building on that success, managing partner Gaynor Rigby has outlined what the company’s growth plans are – a set of targets which she terms BHAGs, or ‘big, hairy, audacious goals’. The firm aims to have 4,000 clients on its roster, have GBP4bn in assets under management, a turnover of GBP40m, and is pledging to raise GBP4m for charity through The Equilibrium Foundation. Gaynor said: “We want to achieve these goals purely through organic growth and by concentrating primarily on our local area.

Our 2019/20 fiscal year has been phenomenally successful, and lays some brilliant groundwork for achieving our goals come 2028. It’s been a year of transformational change at Equilibrium, and our intention is now to use this momentum to help catapult us towards achieving our BHAGs.” In 2019, Equilibrium revealed its ‘Vivid Vision 2021’, in which it outlined its aim to become a business with a headcount of 110 and GBP1.4bn assets under management.

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