Discovery Fund makes its latest investment


The Discovery Fund recently made its second investment in a new University spin-out which is developing water droplets that serve as ‘miniature test tubes’.

The Fund has made a seed investment in Sphere Fluidics, which was formed earlier this month. The company aims to commercialise picolitre droplet technology, which enables researchers to carry out large numbers of simultaneous reactions contained within small water droplets a fraction of a millimetre in size.

The picodroplet platform was developed by Professors Chris Abell and Wilhelm Huck of the University of Cambridge Department of Chemistry. When the droplets are merged with others containing, for example, a specific chemical reagent, they effectively act as miniature reaction chambers that can be exposed to a unique set of experimental conditions. The technology has potential uses across a wide variety of fields, including drug discovery and algal biofuel development. The platform is an alternative to existing techniques, offering greater control and automation, and improved efficiency.

Dr Frank Craig has been recruited as CEO, and the investment from the Discovery Fund will support the new company as it searches for its first customers and additional funding, with the objective of being self sustaining within 12 months.

Geraldine Rodgers, Head of Seed Funds at Cambridge Enterprise, which manages the Discovery Fund, said, “We are very excited to invest in the technology which Chris, Wilhelm and their team have developed, as it has huge academic and commercial potential. We look forward to seeing Sphere Fluidics continue to grow in the years to come.”

The Discovery Fund is one of three evergreen Seed Funds managed by Cambridge Enterprise, the University’s commercialisation office. Launched in 2008 as part of the University’s 800th Anniversary Campaign, the Discovery Fund provides proof of concept, prelicence, pre-seed and seed investments to new ideas with commercial value arising from University research. The Discovery Fund has an initial target of £5 million, and made its first investment earlier this year.

For more information on the Discovery Fund, visit


Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds;
Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds is part of Cambridge Enterprise Limited and provides funding for early stage businesses that have been founded by members of the University of Cambridge. . A new fund, The University of Cambridge Discovery Fund, was launched in September 2008. This fund, together with the original University Challenge Fund and the University Venture Fund, are evergreen and equity realisations will continue to fund new businesses which will have economic and societal impact.

Cambridge Enterprise Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Cambridge, responsible for the commercialisation of University intellectual property. Activities include management and licensing of intellectual property and patents, proof of concept funding and support for University staff and research groups wishing to provide expert advice or facilities to public and private sector organisations. Cambridge Enterprise provides access to angel and early stage capital through the Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds and Cambridge Enterprise Venture Partners, and offers business planning, mentoring, and other related programmes. Over the past two years, income from licensing, consultancy and equity transactions exceeded £18 million, of which £14 million represents distributions to University departments and academics.


For further information please contact:
Shirley Jamieson
Head of Marketing
Cambridge Enterprise Limited
Tel: 01223 760 339

To read more information, click here.

Cambridge Enterprise exists to help University of Cambridge inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs make their ideas and concepts more commercially successful for the benefit of society, the UK economy, the inventors and the University.

Cambridge Enterprise, University of Cambridge