Locate Bio announces the appointment of John von Benecke as CEO

NOTTINGHAM, UK, 15 May 2020Locate Bio Ltd (“Locate”), an orthobiologics company pursuing multiple high value spinal opportunities, today announces that John von Benecke has been appointed CEO to drive Locate’s lead program for spinal fusion and continue to build out its spinal pipeline.  John von Benecke has served as COO/CFO for Locate since September 2019 and has significant experience in both large corporate healthcare businesses and smaller MedTech start-ups. John’s previous experience includes an executive role at ApaTech Ltd, a leading UK orthobiologics success story, during its period of rapid international growth through to a $330m exit to Baxter.

John von Benecke, CEO of Locate, said: “I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to lead the Locate team and ultimately to bring products to market that will help surgeons around the world improve the lives of people suffering with debilitating spinal conditions.”

Dr Ian Wilding, Chairman of Locate said: “I am delighted by John’s promotion. As we focus on our significant orthobiologics opportunities, his spine industry knowledge and broad experience of taking high growth start-ups through significant value growth points will be critical.”

Peter Dines, Chief Operating Officer and Head of Life Sciences & Biosciences of Mercia Asset Management, the lead investor in Locate said: “Locate has continued to make impressive progress in developing its lead program for spinal fusion – an area of core expertise. The lead product has the potential to disrupt a three-billion USD global market. We look forward to continuing to support John and the Locate team build a world leading orthobiologics business.”

For more information, please contact:

Locate Bio Limited +44 (0)115 784 0041
John von Benecke, CEOjvonbenecke@locatebio.com
Media: Richard Hayhurstrichard@rhapr.eu
Mercia Asset Management PLC
Alison Dywer
Head of Marketing and Communications
07464 480 137

About Mercia Asset Management PLC

Mercia is a proactive, specialist asset manager focused on supporting regional SMEs to achieve their growth aspirations. Mercia provides capital across its four asset classes of balance sheet, venture, private equity and debt capital: the Group’s ‘Complete Connected Capital’. The Group initially nurtures businesses via its third-party funds under management, then over time Mercia can provide further funding to the most promising companies, by deploying direct investment follow-on capital from its own balance sheet.

The Group has a strong UK regional footprint through its eight offices, 19 university partnerships and extensive personal networks, providing it with access to high-quality deal flow. Mercia currently has c.£800million of assets under management and, since its IPO in December 2014, has invested over £90million across its direct investment portfolio.

Mercia Asset Management PLC is quoted on AIM with the epic “MERC”

For more information visit: www.mercia.co.uk

Locate Bio appoints John von Benecke as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer

NOTTINGHAM, UK, 2 September 2019 – Locate Bio Ltd (“Locate”), a UK biotechnology company developing advanced medicines for local delivery, today announces that it has appointed John von Benecke as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO), and as a member of its Board of Directors.

Read moreLocate Bio appoints John von Benecke as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer

Locate Bio is granted key US and EU patents for its IntraStem™ non-viral, next generation gene delivery technology

Locate Bio Ltd (“Locate”), a cell and gene therapy platform company developing a pipeline of regenerative medicine products, has received notification that it will be granted key patents covering its IntraStemTM technology in the United States and Europe (patent application numbers US20170080101A1 & EP3082871A1).

IntraStem is a cell penetrating peptide (CPP) based intracellular delivery system designed to overcome the limitations of current gene therapy vectors. It raises the efficacy bar for non-viral transfection systems whilst offering greater versatility, expected safety and lower manufacturing costs compared to viral vectors. As a next-generation approach, IntraStem is able to deliver a wide range of biologics including plasmid DNA, mRNA, siRNA, proteins and antibodies, with high efficiency in an array of cell types including many hard-to-transfect cells. Repeated or sustained administration is also possible with IntraStem due to its low toxicity profile, while good tissue penetration has been demonstrated following local delivery in vivo. These combined attributes make IntraStem an ideal technology for the transfection of cells or more generally the delivery of biologics into cells in vivo and therefore enable cellular reprogramming or gene editing directly in patients.  Locate is currently evaluating new therapeutic applications for this exciting new technology.

Dr Nick Staples, Chief Executive of Locate commented: “The granting of our first IntraStemTM patents in the US and Europe adds to the excitement building around our next generation, non viral transfection technology. We are delighted with the comparative performance of IntraStem versus current transfection standards, which has now extended across a wide range of cell types, payloads and preclinical models. The broad utility of IntraStem opens up a multitude of therapeutic opportunities, including gene editing and cell reprogramming in vivo. We are presently evaluating new product opportunities in therapy areas where cell and gene therapies may deliver breakthrough and potentially curative benefits to patients”.

Locate’s CEO, Nick Staples and CSO, Professor Kevin Shakesheff are attending the Biotech Showcase at JPM 2019 in San Francisco through to 9th January should you wish to meet with the company.


– ENDS –

For more information, please contact

Corporate: Dr Nick Staples, CEO – email: nstaples@locatebio.com

Media: Richard Hayhurst – email: richard@richardhayhurstassociates.com


About Locate Bio Limited

Locate is a private cell and gene therapy company in the UK with next generation technologies designed to address recognised industry bottlenecks that limit current therapeutic approaches.

The company’s technologies TAOS® and IntraStem™ overcome the current limitations in cell and gene therapy treatments. TAOS is designed to locate cells at the required site of action and to create an environment that promotes their therapeutic effects. IntraStem is a next generation cell penetrating peptide (CPP) based intracellular delivery technology that overcomes the limitations of current gene therapy vectors.

Locate is developing a pipeline of novel regenerative medicines and is evaluating additional clinical opportunities where cell and gene therapies may deliver breakthrough and potentially curative benefits to patients.

The company, which is headquartered within MediCity in Nottingham, has a pipeline agreement with the University of Nottingham which provides further opportunities to gain exclusive rights to future technologies generated by Locate’s scientific founder, Professor Kevin Shakesheff, and his world-leading regenerative medicine research team.

For more information visit: www.locatebio.com

Locate Bio announces appointment of Dr Nick Staples as Chief Executive Officer

Nick Staples

We are pleased to announce that Dr Nick Staples has been appointed Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) and that Dr Robin Quirk, the acting CEO, will assume the role of Chief Operating Officer (“COO”) at Locate Bio.

Dr Staples brings more than 20 years’ experience in the biopharmaceutical industry and has a strong track record in leading strategic growth projects and international transactions, including fundraising (more than $250 million to date), mergers and acquisitions, licensing and new business ventures. Most recently, he was the Chief Business Officer of Artios Pharma Ltd, a leading DNA damage response oncology company, where he played a key role in establishing the company through seed and Series A fundraises in 2016, including building out its innovative development pipeline, prior to a highly successful recent $84 million Series B fundraise. Dr Staples also served concurrently as the Chief Business Officer of TopiVert Pharma Ltd, a next generation topical anti-inflammatory company which is preparing to initiate its first Phase 2b/3 registration study for TOP1630 in dry eye disease.

Prior to these roles, Dr Staples completed several transactions as an independent advisor and held senior positions at several leading UK public companies – Vectura, SSL International and Protherics. Having gained his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Cambridge, he started his professional career as a management consultant in the Lifesciences team at PA Consulting before becoming established as a highly regarded biotech analyst with WestLB Panmure in London.

Dr Ian Wilding, Chairman of Locate said: “I am delighted to welcome Nick as the new CEO of Locate Bio, as the company expands its ambitions in the regenerative medicine field. With his extensive experience in corporate and business development in both public and private companies, Nick will be able to deliver the strategic vision and leadership to propel Locate to the forefront of this exciting field. I would also like to thank Dr Robin Quirk for performing the role of acting CEO so capably prior to Nick’s appointment and welcome his continued service as the COO. I look forward to working with Nick, Rob and the team at this very exciting stage of the Locate’s development.”

Dr Staples added: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to serve as the CEO of Locate Bio, as a leading company in the regenerative medicine field and at a time when cell and gene therapies are starting to deliver real benefits to patients – I have no doubt that this is the future of medicine. Locate’s technologies are designed to overcome the limitations of current regenerative medicine approaches and working together with the board and management team, I am confident that we can expand our existing pipeline, secure partnering deals and build significant value in the company.”

Locate Therapeutics announces name change to Locate Bio and new investment from Mercia Technologies PLC

Today we have announced our change of name from Locate Therapeutics Limited to  Locate Bio Limited and received a new direct investment of £0.5 million from Mercia Technologies PLC (AIM: MERC) (“Mercia”).

The Company’s change of name reflects its broader product-based strategy in regenerative medicine, as it targets even larger market opportunities for its proprietary technologies. As one of the leaders in its field, Locate has developed a novel regenerative medicine platform comprised of TAOS®, a tissue repair matrix and IntraStem, a next generation transfection technology with potential applications in gene and cell therapy. These technologies address key unmet needs in the regenerative medicine field, which currently represents a $20bn global market that is forecast to grow with a CAGR of 26%. Utilising its TAOS technology, the Company’s existing product development pipeline comprises a late-stage development program targeting osteomyelitis (bone infections) which is partnered with a major European orthopaedics company, along with several unpartnered novel regenerative medicine programs. Locate is now seeking to expand its pipeline, including with IntraStem-based product opportunities, as well as making its technologies available to third parties for non-therapeutic applications.

Locate also announces today that Mercia Technologies PLC, the national investment group focused on the identification, creation, funding and scaling of innovative technology businesses with high-growth potential from the UK regions, has made a new direct investment into the company. Following this further investment, Mercia now holds a 6.0% equity stake in the company. The investment monies will enable Locate to conduct key preclinical proof of concept studies to underpin new product opportunities.

Julian Viggars, Chief Investment Officer of Mercia Technologies PLC, said: “Locate demonstrates how Mercia can support the coupling of compelling, proprietary, university-derived technology with a strong team and clear market advantages developed within the Midlands, initially through our managed funds. The team at Locate has now successfully moved from the research and development phase to commercialisation. We have been impressed by this transition and foresee considerable potential for delivering shareholder value in the medium term.”

Dr Ian Wilding, Chairman of Locate, said: “Locate is entering an exciting new phase of growth as it targets even larger opportunities in the regenerative medicine field. Our name change and the investment from Mercia is a strong endorsement of this broader opportunity for Locate and the additional funds will enable us to conduct key preclinical studies to help consolidate our position as a next generation cell and gene therapy company.”


Robin Quirk, Director – tel +44 (0)115 784 0041 email:rquirk@locatebio.com

Media Contact:

Richard Hayhurst – tel +44 (0)7711 821527 email:richard@richardhayhurstassociates.com


About Mercia Technologies PLC

Mercia is a national investment group focused on the funding and scaling of innovative technology businesses with high growth potential from the UK regions. Mercia benefits from 19 university partnerships and offices across the Midlands, the North of England and Scotland providing it with access to high quality, regional deal flow. Mercia Technologies PLC is quoted on AIM with the epic “MERC”.

Mercia’s ‘Complete Capital Solution’ initially nurtures businesses via its third-party funds (now with circa £400million under management) and then over time Mercia can provide further funding to its ‘Emerging Stars’ by deploying direct investment follow-on capital from its own balance sheet. Since its IPO in December 2014, Mercia has invested over £63million directly across its portfolio of ‘Emerging Stars’.


Locate closes £2 million investment round to fast track development of innovative cell therapy programs

Leading UK regenerative medicine company, Locate Bio (formerly named Locate Therapeutics), has closed a £2 million finance package comprising Midlands Engine Investment (MEIF) and Mercia EIS funds. Underwritten by Mercia Fund Managers, this cash injection will help the firm to fast-track its innovative TAOS™ matrix system and products for spinal fusion and bone regeneration.

Headquartered within MediCity in Nottingham, Locate, a spinout from the University of Nottingham, is leading the way in the development of targeted drug and stem cell delivery systems. This approach enables surgeons to administer stem cells and regenerative drugs to exact locations within the body to maximise efficacy and eliminate safety issues.

The TAOS injectable scaffold matrix system from Locate is a unique regenerative medicine platform that provides an optimal structure to support tissue repair, and can precisely accommodate and promote the actions of regenerative drugs, and emergent cell-based therapies. The injectable particulate formulation of TAOS is thermally-triggered to solidify into a space-filling open porous depot that supports tissue repair before degrading away.

Locate has additional complementary technologies in cell therapy, including Intrastem for intracellular delivery of proteins, nucleic acids and particles into cells.

Explaining the implications of this investment, Dr Ian Wilding, Chairman of Locate Therapeutics, said:

“We are extremely excited about the potential of our drug delivery technologies to be ‘game changers’ in the field of regenerative medicine, opening up new products to change the lives of patients with severe illnesses. Our company has successfully transitioned from the research to development phase in the last three years and we welcome the backing of Mercia Fund Managers as our investment partner in our journey to commercialisation.”

Commenting on the deal completion, Julian Dennard, Investment Director at Mercia, said:

“To be able to support innovative firms such as Locate Therapeutics is a key driver for Mercia Fund Managers. This is a great example of how finance available through the MEIF can be leveraged with private money to bring needed capital to a potentially high growth life sciences’ business. We look forward to working with Locate Therapeutics and its partners to drive the business forward, allowing patients to benefit from new treatments by building an exciting next generation drug delivery business.”

Locate seals £2M Investment

The investment, which is the first equity investment made by the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), will help the firm lead a regenerative medicine “revolution”.

Nottingham-based Locate Bio Ltd (formerly Locate Therapeutics Ltd) is the first firm to receive equity finance from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF).

MEIF is providing £400k as part of a £2million investment that will help the firm to deliver an innovative targeted drug and stem cell delivery system to market.

The capital will also enable the company to add six more experts to its team and open the doors to international trade.

Pioneering specialist in regenerative medicine, Locate Bio has received the first equity investment from the MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund.

Read the full article on BQ Live

Locate Achieves ISO 13845 Certification

We are pleased to have successfully achieved EN ISO 13845:2016 certification for the design, development, and control of manufacturing of resorbable injectable tissue scaffolds for use in bone repair and regeneration.

Locate is developing a pipeline of combination therapies using its patented polymer-based matrix as a delivery system. The technology, known as TAOS (targeted orchestrated signalling matrix), is a unique regenerative medicine platform that provides optimal structure to support tissue repair. It can accommodate and promote the actions of locally-applied drugs and emergent biological and cell-based therapies. TAOS injectable particulate formulation is thermally-triggered to solidify into a space-filling open-porous depot that supports tissue repair before degrading away.

Locate is also working on the development of CellFuse, a personalised cell therapy aimed at spinal fusion patients with compromised cell populations. Combining TAOS with another proprietary technology IntraStem, the CellFuse project recently received a Biomedical Catalyst award.

Locate Deepens Development Collaboration With Heraeus Medical GmbH

Nottingham based, Locate Therapeutics (“Locate”) announced today the deepening of a development collaboration with the innovative orthopaedic company, Heraeus Medical GmbH. The new deal focuses on the use of Locate’s “state of the art” TAOS® (Targeted, Orchestrated Signaling) scaffold technology, in new areas of orthopaedic application.

The Agreement follows the successful conclusion of a two-year formulation development programme utilising TAOS® which has resulted in very exciting preclinical “proof of concept” data. In addition, independent KOL feedback generated by Heraeus Medical was highly enthusiastic about the clinical utility of the Locate TAOS® scaffold technology. The next phase of this partnered program will address formal product design and development milestones.

TAOS® is a new concept in medical materials and drug delivery that eliminates complicated and invasive surgical procedures. TAOS® is a delivery matrix for the precise administration and control of locally-acting therapeutics. Once TAOS® has been administered by a simple injection, the material additionally stimulates the body’s own repair process before degrading to leave behind newly-formed tissue. The process is intended to reduce rehabilitation time and postoperative complications, ultimately improving the patient’s experience. TAOS® and other Locate technologies are being used to enhance the use of stem cells and regenerative drugs in hard-to-heal and high cost areas of orthopaedics and beyond.

News of the deepening of the collaboration with Heraeus Medical comes as Locate completed a three-year TAOS® R&D program at the close of 2016. This project, which has been successful in creating lower dose osteoinductive drug-releasing scaffolds for hard-to-heal bone surgeries, was co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK with a £1.1M grant.

The support of Innovate UK has proven invaluable to the company, and not only in moving Locate’s own products closer to the clinic. Spill-over benefits have included exciting new patent filings, newly-identified clinical opportunities, and an intimate understanding of the TAOS® platform, of which the aforementioned partnered program has been an early beneficiary.

Dr Robin Quirk, Chief Executive of Locate, commented:

“We are delighted that our partnered program with Heraeus Medical has moved on to the next phase of development. It has been extremely encouraging that the concept and technical targets were not only met, but in fact exceeded expectations. This in turn has uncovered additional future uses for the TAOS scaffold including applications in the cell delivery arena.

The accomplishments of the program outline the vital importance of Innovate UK to companies such as ours. The advances not only enabled Locate to directly achieve the objectives of a strategically important product program, but helped stretch the boundaries of our technology to meet the needs of others in allied therapeutic areas”.

For further information please email info@locatebio.com or call +44 (0)115 784 0041.

Innovate UK Funding Award for Locate and The University of Nottingham

Locate Therapeutics Ltd (“Locate”), the regenerative medicine development company, and the School of Pharmacy at The University of Nottingham, have been awarded a grant from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, to jointly adapt the company’s TAOS™ technology (Targeted, Orchestrated Signaling Matrix) for use in administering therapeutic cells.

Emerging cell therapies have vast potential in the treatment of currently incurable diseases; the potential market for cell-based therapies being over 100 million patients in the US alone. Some of the main targets include heart disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, spinal cord injury, stroke, autoimmune diseases and trauma.

The partners believe that a current barrier to success is the inefficient clinical administration of these therapies to the patient. Under-developed methods for presenting the cells can result in the majority of the therapy dying or migrating away soon after injection.

The funding award aims to redress this issue by creating purpose-built delivery vehicles that provide protective environments and solidify upon injection, with the aim of improving the survival, localisation, and clinical effectiveness of cell therapies.

Dr Robin Quirk, Chief Executive of Locate, commented: “Our TAOS advanced delivery matrix is proving itself to be a highly versatile technology. With this funding, we aim to demonstrate its potential as a delivery substrate to improve the clinical administration of cell therapies across both hard and soft tissue applications. With the University of Nottingham as a development partner, we will be well supported in this endeavour. We’re excited by the potential of this product in a variety of clinical scenarios”.

Dr Susan Huxtable, Director of Intellectual Property and Commercialisation at The University of Nottingham, added: “It is very good news that Locate has been given this award from Innovate UK. Locate is developing new and innovative technologies with great commercial potential, and this funding will help them to further advance their work”.

For further information please email info@locatebio.com or call +44 (0)115 784 0041.