• News

Oxitec wins Social Impact award

We are delighted to announce that Oxitec, a former portfolio company of Oxford Capital, won Social Impact Investment of the Year at the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) Awards, held in London this week.

Oxitec was part of our portfolio between 2005 and 2015, when it was acquired by Intrexon, a US biotech group. The deal valued Oxitec at $160m. We invested in Oxitec through our EIS funds, and many members of our Co-Investor Circle invested alongside us.

Oxitec produces genetically-modified insects whose offspring cannot survive to reproductive age. Modified males released into local populations will mate with native females, reducing the size of the next generation. Field trials have shown that continued releases of Oxitec’s insects can reduce populations by up to 90%.

The UKBAA judges commented, “The company is addressing the core global challenge to reduce major diseases and crop damage across the world through control of insect pests, including the critical risks posed by mosquitoes carrying the Dengue and Zika viruses. The company has attracted significant levels of investment from angels, alongside major players such as the Bill Gates foundation that have backed their pioneering work in this vital area.”

In 2015 Oxitec became the first company in the world to secure regulatory approval to release a genetically-modified animal. The National Biosafety Committee of Brazil approved the use of Oxitec mosquitos for controlling the spread of dengue fever – a pandemic disease that affects 390 million people every year. Brazil previously addressed this problem using chemical fogging, a solution which is ineffective and causes harm far beyond the target species. In the US, where some southern States are affected by insect-borne diseases, the FDA are thought to be close to approving Oxitec’s technology.

David Mott, Oxford Capital’s managing partner, said, “We are delighted that Oxitec’s innovative and important work has been recognised with this Social Impact Investment award. The acquisition by Intrexon last year gives Oxitec a great platform from which to continue to build its business, and we will follow the company’s progress with great interest. This really is a company that could have a huge impact on people’s lives around the world.”

About UKBAA

The UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) is the national trade association representing angel and early stage investment. UKBAA connects all those involved in the angel investment market with a view to ensuring a coherent ecosystem for financing the growth of startup and early stage businesses. Angel investing is part of a £1.5 billion EIS investment market in the UK – the single largest source of early stage capital in this country. The Angel community in the UK is fast-growing and diverse, reflecting a range of different investment models and approaches.

Awards