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MoD Spin Out

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ProKyma, a spin-out from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), today announced a £470K funding round led by Merseyside Special Investment Fund’s Liverpool Seed Fund. The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), Rainbow Seed Fund and ProKyma management also participated in the round.

The investment will allow ProKyma to develop its ‘Sonic Separation’ technology which uses ultrasound waves to purify and concentrate bacteria from samples like blood, faeces, soil and water, for more rapid, sensitive and accurate analysis. The ultimate objective is to concentrate and purify bacteria to allow detection in hours instead of days as is currently necessary. So far the company has proven that the ultrasound can be used to purify extremely low numbers of bacteria from complex samples such as soil or blood and allow very sensitive detection using molecular tests such as the polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

Sonic Separation has also been demonstrated to allow automated rapid analysis of blood groups for use in blood transfusion.

With the funding and support of its investors, Prokyma will be looking to develop its technology to a point where it can raise a Series A funding round. Currently based at the Diagnox Laboratory in Oxfordshire, the investment will also help ProKyma relocate to a larger space in the MerseyBio Incubator facility in Liverpool.

Liverpool Seed Fund investment manager, Mike Bakewell said: “Prokyma’s move to Liverpool highlights the region’s ability to attract businesses from some of the UK’s leading areas in technology development. We are delighted to be supporting the business and believe it has strong commercial potential.”

Commenting on their support, Jonathan Kestenbaum, CEO of NESTA said:

"ProKyma is a young and innovative company with significant potential they are developing a very exciting technology that could have a real impact on the detection of disease. With the right funding and support they are likely to make significant progress and are a prime example of why early-stage investment is of such great importance."

Damian Bond, chief executive of ProKyma, added:

“This investment has come at a very good time for us and will help progress our business significantly. We are now able to complete our feasibility analysis of the different sample types and are beginning to look at the engineering requirements to miniaturise the laboratory equipment we’ve developed as well as process larger and multiple samples.”

Andy Tulloch, chief executive of Dstl’s commercialisation company, said “ProKyma’s move to the North West region reinforces Ploughshare’s commitment to commercialise Dstl technologies across the UK.”

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Notes to the editor:

For further information, please contact the NESTA press office on 0207 438 2608.



The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is a centre of scientific excellence for the Ministry of Defence (MOD). Its 3,500 strong workforce includes some of the nation’s most talented and creative scientists with the brief to ensure that the UK Armed Forces and Government are supported in-house by the very best impartial scientific and technological advice. Dstl’s position at the heart of the MOD means that its advice is trusted by governments academia, industry and international partners. It offers timely and accurate advice at all levels of military planning and operations, both overseas and on the home front.


NESTA is the National Endowment for Science, Technology & the Arts.  With endowed funds of over £300 million, our mission is to transform the UK’s capacity for innovation.   We do this in three main ways: by working to build a more pervasive culture of innovation in this country; by providing innovators with access to early-stage capital; and by driving forward research into innovation, with a view to influencing policy. 

The Liverpool Seed Fund
Merseyside Special Investment Fund’s (MSIF) Liverpool Seed Fund is a £27m fund which invests in companies with new ideas, innovations and intellectual property. Seed funding can support three stages of development: proof of concept (£50,000 to £100,000) commercialisation (up to £350,000) and first round venture capital (up to £750,000). Liverpool Ventures, a subsidiary of MSIF, was set up specifically to provide pre and post investment support to businesses invested in by the Seed Fund to help give them the best possible chance of success.

About Rainbow Seed Fund:
The £8.5m Rainbow Seed Fund was established in 2001 with funding from the Office of Science and Innovation to commercialise scientific research in a leading group of the UK publicly funded institutions, our partners.  The Fund, which is independently managed by Midven Ltd, made its first investment in 2002, and currently has a portfolio of 16 companies with one exit.

The Fund invests at the earliest stages of a technology’s development, and helps to turn an idea into a business by actively identifying and supporting experienced management and facilitating additional coinvestment.  Rainbow's partners spend over £1 billion on research and development every year giving the Fund privileged access to high quality investment propositions at the earliest stage. 

Ploughshare Innovations Ltd
Ploughshare is wholly owned by the Secretary of State for Defence. Ploughshare was formed to commercialise Dstl defence technologies in non-defence markets and there-by deliver value to Dstl, the MOD and the UK tax payer. Subsequently, Ploughshare has expanded its portfolio to include wider Dstl IP and has been invited to undertake similar commercialisation activities for other parts of the MOD.

Prokyma Technologies Ltd
ProKyma is a spinout from Dstl.  Founded by Ploughshare Innovations in 2006 with initial investment from the Rainbow Seed Fund, it has filed its own intellectual property on Sonic Separation.  ProKyma intends to exploits Sonic Separation through products for several markets as well as licensing the technology to larger companies.


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