Based in The Biosphere since September 2020, AMLo Biosciences is a spin out company from Newcastle University. They translate research in cancer biomarkers into a revolutionary range of prognostic and diagnostic products all with the aim of improving outcomes for patients and reducing financial burdens on global healthcare economies. AMLo has completed three equity funding rounds raising almost £5m to further develop their specialist products.
We spoke with CEO, Dr Marie Labus to find out the story so far.
Tell us a bit about AMLo and your story.
AMLo is unusual as a health and life science company as the academic founders and ongoing management team are all women – this is something we are really proud of because we recognise how important representation is in this sector. In less than five years we have grown from a two-woman band to a thriving life sciences business, directly employing 12 people as well as subcontracting work to other local businesses.
This is an extremely exciting time at AMLo as we are preparing to launch our first product onto the US market and have a further three products in development. Watch this space!
Why is Newcastle the location of choice for a life science business?
Newcastle has a lot to offer life sciences. It has three research-intensive universities in close proximity which are open to collaborate with the third sector and help to facilitate interactions with researchers who are internationally renowned in their fields.
There are also three NHS Trusts and a number of complementary SMEs who are essential to drive product development and adoption in this sector.
The city is also a fantastic place to live which is great for staff recruitment and retention. Newcastle offers all the benefits of a large city but is less than 15 minutes from coast and rural countryside.
What were your reasons for setting up operations in The Biosphere?
As an early stage spin out from Newcastle University, The Biosphere provided a range of space options which allowed us to grow organically as we built up the business through various rounds of funding.
Having close links to the Universities and NHS Trusts in the region, it was important for the company to remain based here to continue to collaborate and have access the major travel hubs.
Why Newcastle for life sciences and what makes it so special?
In Newcastle we are very lucky to have three research-intensive universities and three NHS Trusts in close proximity which is very important for companies developing products for use in the health service. The thriving life science community, especially based around the Newcastle Helix site, also facilitates cross pollination of ideas and solutions to problems and provides a supportive health and life science ecosystem.
Why do you think more and more businesses are choosing Newcastle over the Golden Triangle?
I think cost is probably a major factor, not only for businesses but for individuals. Staff and corporates benefit from a lower cost of living in the North East.
How would you describe the life science and business community in Newcastle?
Supportive and thriving. We are still a relatively small community, but I like to think we all look out for one another and are keen to help each other out where we can.
What do you think is driving life science sector growth in Newcastle?
There is excellent science coming out of the universities here and there is a move towards company creation rather than out-licensing which has helped drive growth in the sector.
A benefit of COVID has been that fund raising has become less ‘geographic’. Pre-COVID I spent a lot of time in London and the surrounding areas meeting investors who had no idea where Newcastle upon Tyne was. When fundraising was forced online due to the pandemic, where a company was based became less important and consequently we have seen a lot of investors put money into North East companies who hadn’t invested outside the Golden Triangle previously.
Newcastle has been described as an untapped market, with a growing private sector that wasn’t here 10 years ago. What is the opportunity here?
Great science coupled with a hunger to succeed. We are used to fighting hard for funding, whether it be from research councils or investors, and making that money stretch. You just need to visit and you can find out for yourself! To find out more about AMLo visit https://amlo-biosciences.com/