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Capricorn leads £ 4.5 million investment in Alaska Food Diagnostics Ltd
Funding to accelerate commercial roll-out of revolutionary fastrAK pathogen detection technology

PRESS RELEASE 8 August 2008

Porton Down, UK fastrAK™, the revolutionary pathogen detection technology from Alaska Food Diagnostics Ltd (AFDL), has attracted over £ 4.5 million investment from a European and London based syndicate comprising Capricorn Venture Partners, ICOS Capital, Quest for Growth and Richmond Park Capital, and advised by Andeman Plc.

The additional funding will allow AFDL to accelerate the introduction of its ground-breaking fastrAK™ technology and expand its operations to maximise market penetration.

“The past few months have been a very exciting period for the Company with a number of international partnerships signed, and the first sales of the fastrAK™ instrument to customers” said CEO Laurence Callow. “The benefits of the fastrAK™ pathogen detection technology to the food processing and food safety testing sectors has been demonstrated by a number of development partners, and the license to operate has recently been extended by Dstl to include many other exciting new areas”.

Claude J. Stoufs, Senior Investment Manager at Capricorn Venture Partners states: 'The demand for products that can help food processors ensure that their products are safe has grown significantly in the wake of a number of high profile food recalls and scares worldwide. In the US, alone, the CDC estimates that there are approximately 76 million cases of illness from pathogens in food each year, resulting in 325,000 hospitalizations, 5,000 deaths and a huge cost to the economy. We are very pleased to have invested in Alaska Food Diagnostics Ltd, a Company bringing on the market ultra-rapid instrument systems and assays for the detection of pathogens in food, beverages, water and treated waste at a significantly lower unit price per test than the current rapid products. In addition, in collaboration with a Dutch company, the development of pathogen diagnostics in animal blood and food matrices, should position the Company as a clear technology leader in the area of pathogen detection'.

Capricorn Venture Partners NV acted as lead investor, and Icos Capital Management BV as co-lead investor. The total investment is over GBP 4.5 million, of which up to GBP 1.0 million will be invested in a Dutch BV.

The Capricorn Venture Partners-led syndicate joins existing investors Porton Capital and Ploughshare Innovations Ltd.

- ENDS -

About Alaska Food Diagnostics Ltd

Alaska Food Diagnostics Ltd develops and manufactures rapid microbiology tests. Based at the government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down, Alaska’s team of world class scientists has exploited patented Adenylate Kinase (AK) Phage™ technology to develop a highly sensitive and specific series of rapid assays addressing food safety and product quality issues. The fastrAK™ system shares the proven core technology of the clinical microbial detection platform recently acquired by the 3M organisation. Having built an experienced management, development and technical team, the company is now using its extensive knowledge and exclusive global licences to bring AK technology to the food and beverage market.

For more information see or contact Laurence Callow, Chief Executive on +44 1980 590030 or

About Capricorn Venture Partners NV

Capricorn Venture Partners is a pan-European manager of venture capital funds seeking to invest in technology based growth companies. The Capricorn Cleantech Fund is Capricorn’s third consecutive venture capital fund. The fund invests in European growth companies developing innovative breakthrough technologies in the field of e.g. renewable energy and energy efficiency, water purification and re-use, biobased material conversion and biorefinery platforms, clean air, climate change, green chemistry and advanced materials, materials recovery and recycling.

The investment team of Capricorn is composed of experienced investment managers with deep technology expertise and a broad industrial experience, and will be expanded in light of the Capricorn Cleantech Fund’s recent successful closing. The Capricorn Cleantech Fund benefits from an investment by the European Investment Fund through the 'Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme' of the European Union. For more information see or contact: Dr. Jos B. Peeters, Managing Partner Capricorn Venture Partners, on +32 16 28 4100 or

About Icos Capital

As specialist investors focused exclusively on the cleantech sector, Icos Capital offers an unparalleled combination of domain expertise, private equity, operational experience, and industry networks. More than capital, Icos Capital offers its portfolio companies full business development support, playing an invaluable advisory role in ensuring its investments reach market leadership. This is why we are one of the leading strategic partners within the European cleantech industry. Icos Cleantech Fund I is in part funded by strategic partners CSM NV and Imtech NV, both listed on Euronext.

Peter van Gelderen, partner at Icos Capital comments, “We are proud of this investment. It seamlessly fits our investment focus in terms of technology, business potential and the wider sustainability benefits it offers. The focus is also underlined by the fact that we are currently funding the setup of Netherlands based R & D, and EU sales and distribution activities in the primary food diagnostics market.” For more information see

About Quest for Growth

Quest for Growth invests in European technology-based, growth companies in a broad range of industrial sectors such as information technology, semiconductors, software, electronics, biotechnology, medical devices, health-care, cleantech and new materials. Quest for Growth invests in quoted and unquoted companies.

Quest for Growth is Belgium’s first Privak, and is an investment company traded on the continuous market of Euronext Brussels. The Belgian Government created the legal and fiscal framework for the Privak as a tax transparent investment vehicle specially tailored to the needs of private equity. The Privak Quest for Growth is managed by Quest Management NV. For more information see

About Richmond Park Capital

Richmond Park Capital Investment No 1 LP is a growth capital fund affiliated with London-based merchant bank Richmond Park Capital LLP ('RPC'). RPC maintains an active program of direct investment in exciting growth companies in a variety of industry sectors, both in Europe and the US. RPC typically works actively to mentor the management teams of companies in which it makes a direct investment. For more information see

About Andeman Advisory Services Plc

Andeman is an independent advisory firm specialising in Strategy and Transaction Support. Andeman has established a strong reputation for independence and integrity driven by an accomplished group of seasoned consultants with experience in assisting management teams in creating value. Andeman has been supporting both early-stage and established companies across Europe and Asia since the early 90's. For more information see

Publisher Contact Information:

Capricorn Venture Partners
+32 16 28 4100

Company profile of Capricorn Venture Partners
Past press releases of Capricorn Venture Partners .


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