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An analytical lab instrument providing convenient and affordable access to molecular binding analytics, the Bolt will help to speed discovery and production of next-generation biopharmaceuticals. 


HexagonFab co-founders HexagonFab co-founders Ruizhi Wang and Christoph von Bieberstein

University of Cambridge spin-out company HexagonFab today announced a £1.9 million seed funding round, led by Cambridge Enterprise, joined by Parkwalk, New Grounds VC, Silicon Valley-based R42 Group, and several private investors.

High costs and risk of failure limit the discovery and development of next-generation biopharmaceuticals. HexagonFab aims to change this by giving scientists, researchers, and drug manufacturers better analytical tools. HexagonFab’s analytical lab instruments are convenient, accessible, and affordable. Eliminating risk, delays, and costly mistakes in the discovery and production stages allows researchers to develop novel medicine for small patient populations and bring them to the market substantially faster and with fewer errors.

Focusing on simplifying the biomolecular interaction analysis of proteins and small molecules for pharma research and manufacturing, HexagonFab will launch its first product, the Bolt, a handheld device for simple on-site protein, antibody, and small molecule affinity and kinetic analysis using only electrical detection. The technology was developed by Dr Ruizhi Wang and Prof Stephan Hofmann in the Department of Engineering and supported by the Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics (CAPE).

Powered by a graphene-based semiconductor sensor, the Bolt can detect proteins, antibodies, and small molecules down to a low nanomolar concentration, irrespective of their molecular weight or size. The Bolt can rapidly generate data on critical parameters during the R&D and production of biopharmaceuticals. It does not require installation.

The Bolt allows scientists and researchers in drug discovery and plant managers or quality control staff in pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities to perform the necessary tests on-site. With a real-time signal enabling the observation of binding events and measurement of binding affinity, the results are available in hours instead of days.

Funds from the seed round will allow the company to grow its team, complete development of the Bolt, and launch it in the market.

Many researchers would like to get molecular binding data more conveniently and more frequently to guide them through a drug development project. HexagonFab aims to address this need with the Bolt. This investment will enable us to bring our game-changing product to the market. We look forward to the months ahead working closely with our lead customers.

Christoph von Bieberstein, Founder and Commercial Director, HexagonFab

Our goal is to give researchers and production teams involved in the development of novel medicines faster and easier ways to understand the behaviour of the compounds. HexagonFab’s technology will accelerate the drug development process, leading to better and safer drugs in the future.

Ruizhi Wang, Founder and Engineering Director, HexagonFab

We are delighted to back HexagonFab and its new product, the Bolt. The technology will be used in the development of new biopharmaceuticals, which should ultimately lead to patient benefit.

Christine Martin, Acting Head of Seed Funds, Cambridge Enterprise

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Image: Rendering of the Bolt, HexgonFab product