Welsh medtech firm receives significant investment to help development of Covid-19 test

Author

Development Bank of Wales

01 May 2020

A leading Welsh medtech company has received significant equity funding to develop the digital element of a new rapid test to support authorities fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Cardiff-based Bond Digital Health is part of an international consortium that is producing a diagnostic test for patients suspected of having Covid-19. The consortium was set up by Canadian company Sona Nanotech Inc. and includes GE Healthcare Life Sciences.

The new test is based on lateral flow technology, which is used in a wide range of human diagnostics, including for infectious diseases such as cholera, malaria and HIV. The test will be affordable, easy to use and will return results in minutes. Bond is adding its digital connectivity to the test to allow valuable test data to be securely captured, stored, analysed and shared in real time. This could allow authorities to monitor the spread of the outbreak.

Bond has been developing its connectivity technology for the past two years and was due to launch its platform later this year. However, the Covid-19 outbreak and the increased demand for its technology prompted Bond to fast-track the project and seek interim funding ahead of its planned Series A investment round.

To hire additional technical and admin staff to help speed up the development, Bond turned to the Development Bank of Wales and Wealth Club, the high net worth investment service.

Members of Wealth Club filled their entire £400,000 allocation within one minute of the offer opening and the Development Bank of Wales’ technology venture investments team provided a further £300,000.

Bond plans to launch its Series A investment round in the coming months.

Rafael Joseph, Assistant Investment Executive who worked on the deal for the Development Bank of Wales, said: “Bond is a great example of the many Welsh technology businesses that are supporting the fight against Covid-19. Our investment is testament to our belief in their ability to scale up and make a real difference at this difficult time and to their longer-term growth in the global diagnostics market. We wish them every success.”

Alex Davies, founder of Wealth Club, said: “When we first decided to help Bond raise funds through our service, we thought our members might find the opportunity interesting. That’s turned out to be a massive underestimation. Investor response has actually been phenomenal – the deal was oversubscribed by a factor of six. The offer opened at 10.00am. By 10.01am it was filled.

“We are really pleased to be part of Bond’s ongoing success story and to be supporting a British business whose technology could  help companies developing these urgently-needed new Covid-19 tests.”

Ian Bond, CEO of Bond Digital Health, said: “In the fight against Covid-19, we need affordable, accurate, rapid tests in huge volumes.

“To make a real impact we need to collect the test data to help authorities monitor the spread of the outbreak. Bond is proud to be adding its unique digital connectivity technology to such tests.

“We are grateful to Wealth Club and the Development Bank of Wales for moving quickly on this funding, which will enable our amazing team to scale up at pace to meet the challenges ahead.

“We would like to thank Bevan Buckland, Barford Owen Davies and Acuity Law for their financial and legal advice and guidance in helping us complete this interim investment.

“Bond is proud to be putting Welsh technology and talent into the fast-growing global diagnostic market.”

The investment caps a hugely successful couple of years for Bond. Earlier this year, the company moved into new offices at The Maltings in Cardiff to accommodate its growing team. It was also nominated for two awards at the inaugural Wales STEM Awards. Last year it was named one of the 50 Most Exciting Companies in Wales by a national business magazine.

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