A GENETICS company formed by St Andrews University scientists has announced the completion of an equity investment round.
Xelect, which supplies the latest genetic selection technology to improve the productivity of aquaculture operations, has been trading profitably since its launch three years ago.
Xelect originated from the research of Professor Ian Johnston at the University of St Andrews and was launched with co-founder Dr Tom Ashton, following doctoral research into the genetic basis of fillet quality in Atlantic salmon.
The use of genetic testing techniques underpins most modern agriculture breeding programmes, and the rapidly growing global aquaculture market presents a huge opportunity.
In the face of increasing environmental constraints, the use of genetic selection will need to become the norm, said the company, in order to meet increasing demand for seafood.
Less than 10 per cent of production currently uses genetically selected strains which have the potential to dramatically improve yield, sustainability, and the welfare of farmed livestock.
The proceeds from the latest round of investment will contribute to establishing independent laboratory and office space within St Andrews, equipped with state-of-the art genetic analysis equipment.
The company will pursue its growth ambitions by recruiting overseas sales agents, building its team of scientific staff and investing in its R&D programmes, both in-house and by co-funding academic research.
Kevin Grainger, founder and gatekeeper at EOS Technology Investment Syndicate, said: ‘Xelect is at a more advanced stage than most of the start-up businesses we invest in, in that it is in its third year of revenue and is profitable.
‘We are excited about the global potential for its IP and look forward to working with Ian, Tom and the Xelect team to maximise this potential over the coming years.’
Ashton, operations director at Xelect, said: ‘The investment process with EOS went very smoothly and we feel confident they will help us to accelerate our growth and profitability by providing not only cash but valuable support and business expertise.’
Picture: Professor Ian Johnston and Dr Tom Ashton