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UK Must Maintain its Momentum in Stem Cell Expertise
Date:1/19/2009

LONDON, January 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Excalibur, the international investment house specialising in medical sciences, said today the UK must 'maintain its momentum' to deliver pioneering stem cell treatments if it is to remain at the forefront of medical technology.

Professor Sir Christopher Evans, founder and chairman of Excalibur, welcomed the announcement that ReNeuron plc has received approval from the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to commence a first-in-man clinical trial for the treatment of patients who have been left disabled by an ischaemic stroke.

Sir Christopher said: "We founded ReNeuron with Dr John Sinden and have invested in the company every step of the way for the last 10 years. We are proud the company has now reached this important milestone in its development of cell therapy treatment for stroke. There have been many scientific and financial hurdles to overcome during these years but we were determined to see this through.

"It is absolutely essential that we in the UK maintain our momentum in stem cell development and our belief in our ability to deliver these potentially revolutionary treatments. Too often in this country there is a tendency to focus on potentially negative outcomes but today's announcement is extremely important news for victims of stroke. At the end of the day lives - and the future of medicine in this area -- could be transformed by this science."

NOTES TO EDITORS

About Excalibur

Excalibur was launched in April 2008 following the acquisition of MVIL by Merlin Biosciences. Excalibur, which has a team of ten professionals, provides a wide range of investment and advisory services to the medical sciences sector. Its latest fund, Merlin Fund III, has successfully invested in a wide range of healthcare and medical sciences companies including PIramed which was sold for $185m in May 2008. Excalibur intends to replicate this successful investment strategy in the new funds that it is proposing to launch over the next 12 months.

Merlin originally founded ReNeuron in 1998 and has provided funding for the company over the last 10 years through Merlin 's Fund l and ll and has continued to invest in and support the company.

Further information: Ramsay Smith, Media House, +44(0)207-397-8459, Email:ramsay@mediahouse.co.uk, mobile +44(0)7788-414856.


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SOURCE Excalibur
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