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Student housing firm signs £24m deal for 300-bed site in Edinburgh | Investors back cancer drug push | Tech firms in cyber security win – HeraldScotland


One of the UK’s biggest student landlords has signed a deal to develop a new 300-bed site in Edinburgh.

Unite Students said that it hopes tenants will be able to move in during the academic year starting in 2023, with the unnamed development costing around £24 million.

The company will be tapping into a market with 55,000 full-time students at Edinburgh’s four universities. It already has 2,200 beds in the city.

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It said the Scottish capital “has an undersupply for purpose-built student accommodation”.

Unite Students chief executive Richard Smith said: “This acquisition represents one of three new development and forward funded schemes either contracted or under offer for a total development cost of c.£250 million.

“The scheme will be funded through the proceeds of our recent placing and delivers enhanced returns relative to pre-Covid-19 levels.”

St Andrews-based investment firm Eos Advisory has backed Europe’s first oncology drug discovery accelerator, Cumulus Oncology, leading a £1.7 million investment round supported by the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, Alba Equity, Apollo and Investing Women.

Founded in 2017, Cumulus creates spin-out companies developing cancer therapies and fast-tracking treatments into clinical trials for cancer types that don’t respond well to existing procedures.

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The Eos-led round, which marks one of the investment firm’s largest deals to date, enables Cumulus to continue to scale its business model at pace and take advantage of what the company describes as “significant market opportunities in Europe”.

Andrew McNeill, managing partner at Eos Advisory, said: “With a track record in scaling and exiting biopharmaceutical ventures, Clare is a founder who combines significant market understanding with a clear vision of what she wants Cumulus and its portfolio companies to achieve.

“Clare has assembled a world-class team and we are enthused by their keen focus, deep sector expertise and drive to consolidate Cumulus’s position as Europe’s first and most successful oncology drug discovery accelerator.”

Clare Wareing, Cumulus Oncology founder and chief executive, said: “While the business model is well developed in the US, Cumulus is leading the way in Europe. Having spent three years carefully curating a high-calibre team and building a portfolio of oncology asset-centric spin-out companies, we are poised to scale the business.

“Venture capital and trade investors see the value of the European biotech sector, which has matured markedly over the last few years evidenced by a threefold increase in venture financing, the doubling of European VC funds and increased investment from the US.

“We have some exciting portfolio and partnership announcements in the pipeline and we look forward to our next phase of growth with the support of the Eos Advisory team.”  

Kerry Sharp, director at Scottish Investment Bank, said: “Cumulus Oncology is a hugely exciting venture which highlights yet again Scotland’s exceptional global reputation for life sciences innovation. The team has excellent previous experience in creating high value enterprises and we look forward to working with them in this new venture.”

John Duncan, founding director, Alba Equity said: “We are very pleased to back Clare and her team in this exciting venture. Our investors were attracted by the depth of experience of this team and the opportunity to support them to make a significant impact by helping to bring new, carefully selected oncology assets to market.”

Eos Advisory, which invests and co-invests in innovative science, engineering and technology companies, also has record-breaking cyclist Mark Beaumont on board. 

Four of the “most exciting emerging tech companies in Scotland” have won a package of support to create new Internet of Things (IoT) focused cyber security products and services, in an initiative delivered by CENSIS.

After securing a place on CENSIS’s first IoT Cyber Security Accelerator, Beringar, PolyDigi Tech, Lupovis, and Craft Prospect will receive bespoke support to help their development, including 10 days’ engineering assistance and business development guidance.

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The overall winner of the programme – supported by Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government, and launched in November 2019 at CENSIS’s sixth annual Technology Summit – will also be a direct entrant to the semi-finals of the Scottish EDGE awards, in which innovative high-growth businesses can win up to £150,000 of funding.

Proptech start-up Beringar will use the initiative to develop a secure device-to-cloud IoT platform for real-time monitoring of use patterns, workplace performance, and real-time analysis of Covid-19 risks in commercial offices.

Edinburgh-based fintech company PolyDigi Tech will create software that provides reassurance of data ownership and control of IoT devices.

Lupovis, a spin-out from the University of Strathclyde, is creating a digital decoy-rich engagement environment that diverts and traps hackers after breaching an IoT system, without alerting them they have been identified.

Meanwhile, space engineering company Craft Prospect is looking to create a safe way of exchanging cryptographic keys between IoT systems and the cloud, enabling secure communications channels to be set-up.

Cade Wells, business development manager at CENSIS, said: “There was a great deal of interest in our first IoT Cyber Security Accelerator programme, which is testament to the strength and depth of Scotland’s IoT and cyber security communities.

“The companies that have been selected are working on some highly innovative products and services, which could make a significant difference to security in their respective fields.

“It is particularly encouraging that all the finalists work in very different areas – from space engineering to property management – and we look forward to supporting them in the next stage of their development.”

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