January 5, 2009

Lab21 Successfully Closes Funding Round of £2.2m


January 5, 2009 - Lab21, a specialist diagnostic services and products healthcare company is pleased to announce that it has closed a £2.2m round of financing from leading international private equity investors. The new funds will be used to progress its acquisition plan and to establish its US operations in South Carolina to expand its presence in the North American market.

Graham Mullis, CEO of Lab21 commented; "Given the very difficult financial markets of the past 6 months, I am delighted to welcome two new investors to Lab21 which is a significant endorsement to the growth strategy of Lab21. With new capital, we anticipate closing a number of company acquisitions. This investment will also allow Lab21 to commence its expansion plans overseas where we believe our brand and strong focus on quality and service will be well received".

Nexus Medical Partners, based in Boston and South Carolina, USA and Rowan Dartington of the UK join Merlin Biosciences and Kreos capital as shareholders. Maddy Kennedy, CFO Lab21 explained, "I am pleased to be working with investors who understand healthcare markets and diagnostics specifically. Merlin Biosciences, now part of the Excalibur Group have continued to support Lab21 and advised the Company with this finance round. We are also delighted that Dr Ed Snape, who is co-founder and head of the healthcare practice at Nexus Medical Partners has agreed to join the Board of Lab21"

Dr Snape commented "I am pleased to accept the Board position at Lab21 and support the establishment of its South Carolina operations to facilitate its entry into the US market. The diagnostic market is changing rapidly and Lab21 is well placed with its management and product portfolio to be a serious consolidator in the sector. Lab21's business model which combines the technology and distribution capabilities of both a service provider and product developer makes for an exciting investment opportunity."

Jonathan Beatson-Hird, Managing Director of Rowan Dartington and also fund manager for the Isambard Fund, said: "Our strategy has been to build our investment portfolio around three sectors, one of which is the In vitro diagnostics market. This is a dynamic industry displaying strong defensive characteristics. We are delighted to be able to invest in Lab 21 which is a core holding for us. We believe that the current economic environment is ideal for the corporate strategy of consolidation and with their state of the art products and services makes the company well positioned for growth in these uncertain times."

The Company will not reveal details of its acquisition plans and US market strategy today but expects to complete on two European company acquisitions during H1 next year.

About Lab21

Lab21 is a global provider of state-of-the-art diagnostic products and services, supporting drug discovery and healthcare. Its customers include healthcare providers, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

The Company has a growing test portfolio providing companion diagnostics and high technology assays for the growing integration of personalised medicine into healthcare. These services and products are currently in infectious diseases, oncology and pharmacogenetics areas with emerging interests in cardiovascular and metabolic disease. Lab21's clinical reference laboratory and corporate office is based in Cambridge, UK and the Company's investors include Merlin Biosciences and Kreos Capital

About Excalibur

Excalibur is an international integrated fund management and corporate finance business specialising in the medical sciences sector. Excalibur was created in April 2008 when Merlin Biosciences acquired Orbis Capital, a leading corporate and structured finance business. The Excalibur Group draws on the fund management expertise of Merlin Biosciences and the financial structuring skills of the Orbis Capital team to create considerable value for portfolio companies and customers in the medical sciences sector.

About Nexus Medical Partners

Nexus is a leading private equity firm focused on emerging medical companies in North America and Europe. It has offices in Quincy, MA and Charleston, SC. See www.nexusmp.com for more information About Rowan Dartington Rowan Dartington is the South West's leading stockbroker with approximately £1 billion under management. It is investing into Lab 21 via the Isambard Fund, their pre-IPO fund specializing in Renewable Energy, Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical and Engineering sectors.