More than a gut reaction

Securing IP spinout and investment deals simultaneously for Microbiotica.

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More than a gut reaction

The challenge

Dr Trevor Lawley and Professor Gordon Dougan at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (the “Sanger”) established a world-class research programme into the human gut microbiome and its role in health and disease. The colleagues teamed up with Dr Mike Romanos, an experienced biotech entrepreneur, to exploit their work by creating a translational research and business plan. They soon received investment offers from Cambridge Innovation Capital and IP Group, to establish a company that would lead this exciting field of research.

The founders of Microbiotica, their newly formed company, then faced a formidable task. They needed to manage a spinout from the Sanger (including negotiating licences to ensure Microbiotica had the right to use the intellectual property it required), whilst also negotiating and completing an £8m investment with their investors.

Our support

Dr Lawley and his Microbiotica colleagues had heard about our specialisation in life sciences, intellectual property commercialisation and early stage investments, so they asked for our expert help with the transaction.

We did much more than simply advise Microbiotica on the transactional documents; we also assigned our dedicated Growth team to support them. The Growth team’s in-depth knowledge and experience of the start-up market gave Microbiotica a vital edge in the negotiations, ensuring they secured the best possible deal.

The fact that we can specialise in a type of client as well as types of law brought Microbiotica significant advantages:

  • a thorough understanding of their specific needs and pressures
  • our expertise in commercial, corporate and employment law
  • plus the reassurance of one consistent point of contact and informed, pertinent updates at any time.

Given the complexity of negotiating simultaneously with the Sanger and the proposed investors, these were critical benefits.

Our pragmatic, commercial approach not only helped keep costs down for Microbiotica, but also made the prospect of all the documentation less daunting for them. We know from experience the amount of documentation involved can seem overwhelming for clients, especially first-time entrepreneurs and early stage clients. We helped Microbiotica focus on the due diligence and intellectual property areas most important to them, and unravelled the language of the investment documents to provide clear explanations they felt confident with.

Making great things happen

We helped Microbiotica successfully spinout of the Sanger with an IP licence that protects their position as the market leader in the human gut microbiome industry.

With their investment in place and new employees already working in the company’s own laboratory and offices, Microbiotica can now press home its advantage as it scales up its operations, and its research into promising new bacteriotherapies.

What the client said

“Taylor Vinters did an excellent job in helping close Microbiotica’s spinout from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the subsequent investment by Cambridge Innovation Capital and IP Group. This was a complex deal and Taylor Vinters provided both strong expertise in each discipline (corporate law, IP licensing and employment law) and active help in negotiation. Lead contact Geoff Dragon was highly responsive, providing excellent communication and coordination.”

About Microbiotica

Microbiotica Limited has been established to commercialise groundbreaking research, conducted in the Host-Microbiotica Interactions Laboratory (HMIL) at the Sanger Institute, into the role of the human microbiome in health and disease. Initially Microbiotica will seek to develop and commercialise new defined bacteriotherapies based on the human gut microbiome.

Geoff Dragon

Geoff Dragon Associate, Cambridge

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