Published: 00:00, 27 February 2015
| Updated: 10:25, 27 February 2015
A science company which extracts deadly venom from spiders and snakes to sell to drugs researchers is making a killing after launching a crowdfunding venture.
Venomtech is already more than halfway towards raising its minimum target of £350,000 from investors and expects to reach its £500,000 goal within a month.
The firm, based at Discovery Park in Sandwich, aims to increase production and expand sales globally with the money, which is being raised in exchange for up to 30% equity in the business through online crowdfunding site SyndicateRoom.
The scheme has already attracted nearly £190,000 from 23 investors impressed with the company’s rapid expansion led by founder Steve Trim, a molecular biologist with Pfizer for 10 years before he set up the firm in 2010.
Mr Trim said: “The key is getting global market penetration and the technology we use to produce our product is expensive, which has stopped us growing organically.
“At the moment we can only produce one product at a time but with this investment, we can produce batches of 10 at a time, which will increase profits and makes us more efficient.”
Mr Trim founded the company after personal experience of struggling to get good candidate molecules for his drug discovery programmes with Pfizer.
However, since launching the business, he has found it hard to juggle production and selling his products – made with the venom of snakes, lizards, snails, insects, scorpions.
Mr Trim said: “We were in a Catch 22 situation of needing a sales executive but needing strong sales to afford one.
“We have been selling well but only a limited amount because we were either selling the product or making it. This investment solves that problem.”
SyndicateRoom has had success with biotech companies from Kent before.
ToxiMet, a food safety testing firm based at Kent Science Park in Sittingbourne, raised more than £1.5 million on the website, having closed the fundraising on Sunday.
Investors have until Sunday, March 22 to invest in Venomtech. The company is arranging a tour of its laboratories on Tuesday, March 10.