Spin-out project sold for £20m

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A SHEFFIELD University spin-out which develops computer simulations that show how people might react to new drugs has been sold for more than £20 million.

Simcyp was founded in 2001 and was part of a portfolio of companies backed by Fusion IP, the company that helps Sheffield and Cardiff Universities to commercialise the results of research.

The Blades Enterprise Centre business has been sold to US-based drug discovery and development software specialist Certara for $32 million.

The deal nets Fusion IP $6.4 million in cash for for its 20 per cent shareholding – 200 times its original investment.

Simcyp develops software that predicts how a drug will be affect people from different populations and with different physiological and genetic backgrounds.

Its simulations can be used to predict the types of people who would be most likely to suffer adverse reactions to a particular drug and also predict the effects and correct doses when drugs developed for adults are given to newborn babies, infants and children.

Simcyp also created “Virtual Lab Rat,” a computer database containing information on how test animals have reacted to commonly used drugs.

The system can be used to reduce the need for testing on animals, among other things.

Fusion IP plans to invest the majority of the cash it is receiving from the deal in other companies in its portfolio and in creating new companies.

Fusion IP’s chief executive, David Baynes, said: “We are delighted to announce our first significant exit from our growing portfolio of companies.

“Simcyp is a world-class software company and the 200-fold return we have made on our investment amply demonstrates the excellence of our university pipeline agreements and the value that can be extracted from these exclusive relationships.”

Chairman Doug Liversidge praised Simcyp for increasing profits and turnover in every year since Fusion IP became involved with the company in 2005.