Pet project receives major funding

An animal healthcare company from Gateshead has received a significant business boost after investors backed its plans to develop a new range of products.

Curar Animal Therapeutics, a spin-out company from Newcastle Science City, has been awarded a £100,000 investment on behalf of the Finance for Business North East Proof of Concept Fund managed by Northstar Ventures.

The investment will be used to develop and launch a new line of products aimed at the veterinary market to stimulate the repair of soft tissue and bones in injured pets and horses.

Curar, which specialises in investigating the potential for transferring human medical devices into the veterinary field, has a product in the market already and founder Helen Floyd plans to expand both Curar’s product selection and the company. Helen said: “We are thrilled with the investments we have received and they will really accelerate the work we have already begun with our new products. This funding will enable us to build our existing networks and customer base to grow the company.”

Helen launched the business in 2010 with Dan Martin and Peter Masters of Octo Design, who wanted to put their business, medical devices and product development experience together to improve animal welfare.

Curar is one of 23 companies created by Newcastle Science City that are now trading in the North East of England as part of its work to commercialise insight-led ideas and develop scalable business solutions to meet market needs.

Simon Green, Newcastle Science City’s head of business support, described the unique approach taken in developing Curar. “Our work with Helen focused on identifying the market opportunity and then building a business around that. Too often, business development is built on taking a clever idea and then trying to sell it, rather than finding out what customers really want and satisfying that demand. Curar is an excellent example of using current technology, developed in a different context, to fill a gap in the market.”

Richard Exley, Northstar Ventures, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Curar and Newcastle Science City. We consider Curar is a great company to invest in, and is our first investment in a veterinary healthcare business. This is a potentially important opportunity, as at present the treatment of limb injuries in animals lags behind human medicine. We look forward to watching this company grow and develop its products further.”

Newcastle Science City is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government, securing £2.3million of ERDF investment. The ERDF Competitiveness Programme 2007-2013 is bringing over £300m into the North East to support innovation, enterprise and business support across the region.