Kester Capital makes Optibrium investment
Kester Capital (Kester) has made an investment in Optibrium, a drug discovery software provider to the pharmaceutical and biotech industries.
The business’ customer base includes five of the top ten global pharmaceutical companies.
This off-market deal is Kester Capital’s third investment in the Life Sciences sector and follows the successful closing of its latest fund, Kester Capital II, which had its final close in August 2020 at its hard cap. Despite challenging market conditions, the fundraise was oversubscribed and exceeded its target with a diverse group of new and existing institutional investors.
Optibrium was founded in 2009 by Matt Segall, CEO, and Ed Champness, Chief Scientific Officer, both of whom will continue in their existing roles to drive the future growth of the business. Alongside the management team, Kester plans to develop the business through organic growth and acquisitions.
Optibrium is based in Cambridge and has offices in the USA in Boston and San Francisco. Its StarDrop product is a complete platform of integrated software for small molecule design, optimisation and data analysis that enhances the speed and productivity of the drug discovery process. Optibrium’s new Cerella product delivers groundbreaking and proven artificial intelligence technology that learns from complex drug discovery data to target high-potential chemical compounds.
The market for computer aided drug discovery (CADD) is fast-growing, driven by the increasing capabilities and sophistication of software tools that can deliver material cost and time savings for drug developers. According to a research report on the CADD market by Research Dive, the global market for CADD is forecast to surpass USD4.8 billion by 2026, rising from USD1.5 billion in 2018 at a CAGR of 15.5 per cent.
Adam Maidment, managing partner of Kester Capital, says: “Optibrium is a cutting edge software business that is driving some of the most exciting developments within computer aided drug discovery. We had been tracking the business for some time and were really impressed by the team and the business’ achievements. We are looking forward to working with Matt and Ed to grow the business both organically and through acquisition.”
Matt Segall, CEO of Optibrium says: “We are delighted to have Kester Capital on board as an investment partner to continue the successful evolution of the business. Kester has extensive experience in the life sciences sector and we are looking forward to working with them to capitalise on the substantial market tailwinds.”
In a recent collaboration with the Open Source Malaria project, Optibrium deployed the combined capabilities of StarDrop and Cerella to design new compounds targeting a novel mechanism of action in Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest species of malaria-causing parasites. The molecule proposed by Optibrium was the only example, out of six submitted by different organisations, that was experimentally confirmed to be active, in excellent agreement with the predictions.
Kester Capital is a primary buyout specialist, led by an entrepreneurial and experienced team and focused on UK businesses that require capital in order to unlock their potential.