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Case Study:

Arcis: Altos Group

The Arcis:Altos Group was formed in May 2012 when Arcis Biotechnology, based at Sci-Tech Daresbury, bought California-based Altos Medical in a £3.7 million deal.

Based at Sci-tech Daresbury’s flagship Enterprise Zone, Vanguard House, Arcis:Altos benefits from fully equipped laboratory facilities, which has helped it to develop a pipeline of products which kill germs and also stick to surfaces, remaining more effective for far longer than conventional cleaning materials.

They go on killing germs – and even the more notorious ‘superbugs’ – long after the surface has been wiped.

The company moved to The Innovation Centre at Sci-Tech Daresbury site in 2010, attracted by the campus focus on innovation and technology and the facilities available.

The firm swiftly made the move to Vanguard House in 2011, and was one of the first firms to take up residence in the building after identifying that the new facilities would enhance research and development. The business is also one of a number of tenant companies in Vanguard House which are eligible for 100% business rates relief for up to five years.

The firm has already developed a number of patented compounds and technologies that have been enthusiastically received in the commercial marketplace.

These products have attracted interest from health care providers and cruise ship companies, and Arcis:Altos is also researching how its technology could be used in agriculture and in the extraction of DNA from genes. It even has a turf-care product which is used on some of the best golf courses in Asia.

Being based at Sci-Tech Daresbury has allowed the company to take advantage of ITAC (Innovations Technology Access Centre) which is run by the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

Within ITAC, Arcis:Altos has a fully equipped, Class 2 certified mirco-laboratory with shared facilities for the larger more costly items such as autoclaves and spectrophotometers.

The company also have the opportunity to partner with other ITAC companies to deliver a complete solution indeed, Arcis:Altos recently worked with another company, Perfectus Biomed on a solution for a global organisation which will benefit both companies.

Being based at Sci-Tech Daresbury also brings about a number of operational benefits for the business. The campus location means the business is surrounded by other hi-tech, high-quality companies allowing access to a likeminded business community with an ethos of open innovation and collaboration.

The support network aids the rapid growth of high-tech SMEs by promoting partnerships between hi-tech businesses, universities and STFC.

The company currently employs 10 people at its base at Sci-Tech Daresbury, but can also call on a global network of partners in areas from regulatory compliance to lab testing.

Prospects are truly exciting: DNA extraction is now a multi-billion dollar sector worldwide, while wound care is a £17bn-£20bn market. Arcis:Altos Group is pressing to become a significant player is those markets.

Chief Scientific Officer, Jan Rogers said:

“Being on site provides various benefits to the company one of the key benefits which we enjoy is taking part in the director’s forum, organised by business development manager, Paul Treloar. This provides a platform to discuss best practice and other experiences on anything from ‘are there any benefits from Technology Missions to other countries?’ to ‘grants for recruiting new people’ with other directors based at the campus. We are also kept up to date on new funding opportunities, and benefit from presentations on patent box, UKTI and R&D tax relief.”

“We also enjoy the collaborative atmosphere there are a number of companies in the ITAC facility which give the ‘feeling’ of a different departments of a larger organisation. We can discuss best practice but obviously respect confidentiality and we often share equipment and work together to justify to STFC the purchase of additional shared facilities. We often use the networking facility and sometimes work together to deliver a complete solution.”