Troubled biotech firm received millions in HIE funding23 May, 2014 –
OBAN-based firm Aquapharm-Biodiscovery, which went bust last year, received over £3 million in investment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) it has emerged.
Founded by microbiologist Andrew Mearns Spragg in 2000, the company was building up a chemical library of micro-organisms, the special properties of which were to be used in the pharmaceutical industry.
Biotech R&D is extremely expensive, so in spite of collecting over 10,000 marine micro-organisms the company struggled to generate income and operating losses forced the company into administration. It was bought out by Canadian biotechnology firm, Lallemand, in December.
A request from the Sunday Herald revealed that Aquapharm had received over £2m in equity and £637,000 in loans and grants from the HIE. Public funds accounted for almost a third of the £10.5m investment into the company.