Cell Therapy of Wales has raised nearly £700,000, setting a world record for biotech crowdfunding to finance its breakthrough stem cell medicine, Heartcel.

The Cardiff-based group was co-founded in 2009 by Sir Martin Evans, winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology and CEO Ajan Reginald, former head of emerging technologies at Roche Pharma. The board includes high-profile investors such as Lord Digby Jones, former UK minister of trade and ex-Wales First Minister Rhodri Morgan.

The £691,000 funding, through Crowdcube, was raised from more than 300 investors and is 277% of Cell Therapy’s original target. The sum was achieved in just 10 days and relates to a provisional valuation of £75 million.
Heartcel, which regenerates muscle to treat heart failure, is administered as a simple injection by a cardiac surgeon. It successfully completed clinical trials in 2014 and is scheduled to launch in 2016.

Sir Martin has been appointed president with Lord Jones serving as chairman. Industry veteran Mark Hughes has been appointed as chief financial officer.
Mr Reginald said that regenerative therapies like Heartcel “have the potential to revolutionise medicine for everyone, so crowdfunding was the perfect way to offer the widest possible access to invest in Cell Therapy”.