Panthera Biopartners raises £10 million to accelerate its dedicated clinical trial site expansion across the UK and Western Europe

Panthera Biosciences (Panthera) has secured £10 million of investment from BGF and Gresham House Ventures, the latter investing on behalf of the Baronsmead VCTs. This investment will allow Panthera to further grow its network of dedicated clinical trial sites across the UK and Western Europe. Since launching in late 2019, with an initial investment from Gresham House Ventures and Catapult in 2020, Panthera has grown to become a major player in the UK with nine sites and a rapidly growing order book.

Panthera, which recruits patients and runs clinical trials on behalf of Contract Research Organisations (‘CRO’) and pharma, has further developed the SMO – Site Management Organisation – model through technology and trials in specialist areas such as oncology, NASH, neurology and vaccines as well as those treated in general practice. Oncology trials are undertaken in partnership with the Rutherford Cancer Centres across the UK.

Preston based Panthera was founded by Dr Ian Smith (Medical Director), who also founded Synexus the largest SMO in the world and Professor John Lyon (Chairman and Chief Financial Officer), a serial entrepreneur and previously a global Vice President of Covance. Together they have recruited a top management team with global experience, which has established relationships with leading CROs and pharma companies.

This investment round will be used to fund further expansion in the UK and Western Europe, as well as continuing to invest in enhancing the service offering.

Panthera Chairman John Lyon commented, ”We are very pleased to have the backing of such reputable and respected investment houses as BGF and Gresham House Ventures, which will supercharge our expansion. In the last two and a half years our management team has built an exemplar SMO model which has been welcomed by our clients in the major pharmaceutical companies and CROs. In the next twelve months we aim to become the preferred provider for our clients across Europe”

Matt Widdall and Rhys Davenport led the deal for BGF – the UK and Ireland’s most active growth capital investor. BGF investor Matt Widdall added:

“We were attracted to Panthera’s high quality, experienced team who have rapidly developed an exciting proposition, with the potential to become the leading SMO in Western Europe. Today’s investment will unlock significant growth potential and we look forward to working with the business to realise its ambitions. BGF has become one of the most prolific investors in healthcare as the sector has flourished. Our experience means we are ideally placed to support Panthera on the further development of its technology platform and international roll-out strategy.”

Maya Ward, Investment Director at Gresham House Ventures said:

“We have been extremely impressed by the management team at Panthera and the company’s financial performance to date. This investment sits within our healthcare thesis where we see continued need for outsourced pharma services in the drug development space. There is a sizeable market opportunity given patient recruitment is a major pain point and expense for sponsors in bringing new drugs to market, which a specialist site management organisation like Panthera can help address. We are delighted to continue our support for them on this exciting journey.”



About Panthera Biopartners – an Independent Site Management Organisation:

  • Panthera Biopartnerswas founded in late 2019 by Dr Ian Smith – founder of Synexus – and Professor John Lyon – previously senior executive in Covance and serial entrepreneur – to provide CROs and pharma clients with services relating to the recruitment and running of clinical trials at customised clinical trial sites by GCP trained healthcare professionals.
  • Panthera currently operates a network of 9 sites across the UK managing studies in a variety of conditions in both primary care settings and hospital sites running trials in key secondary care conditions such as CNS, oncology (in partnership with Rutherford Cancer Centres), vaccines and NASH with specialist investigators.
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About BGF:

  • BGF was set up in 2011 and has invested £3bn in more than 460 companies, making it the most active investor in the UK. 
  • BGF is a minority, non-controlling equity partner with a patient outlook on investments, based on shared long-term goals with the management teams it backs.
  • BGF invests in growing businesses in the UK and Ireland through its network of 16 offices.  
  • BGF models have now been set up in Canada and Australia, with other countries evaluating the opportunity to replicate this.
  • Part of BGF’s investment in Panthera comes from its recently launched UK Enterprise Fund (UKEF) established alongside Coutts, the private banking arm of NatWest, to provide clients with access to privately held, disruptive and diverse companies that are revolutionising their industries.
  • Social media: @BGFinvestments

About Gresham House Ventures and Gresham House:

  • Gresham House Venturesis a growth equity investor specialised in scaling businesses with business models driven by technology, customer insight or service excellence. Gresham House Ventures aims to work with ambitious management teams who want the support of a flexible long-term investor who brings capital, insight and expertise.
  • Gresham House Asset Management is the FCA authorised operating business of Gresham House plc, a London Stock Exchange-quoted specialist alternative asset manager. Gresham House is committed to operating responsibly and sustainably, taking the long view in delivering sustainable investment solutions.