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NunaBio to join Pioneer Group’s Launch Venture Building programme

Newcastle upon Tyne, 20th April 2023 – NunaBio, a TechBio company producing synthetic DNA for biochemical research, today announced it has raised £1.9m in a seed round with participation from the North East Innovation Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Northstar Ventures, Pioneer Group, Ascension Life Fund and Martlet Capital.

Founded in April 2021 as a spin-out from Newcastle University, NunaBio is developing a novel method of DNA synthesis which enables the cost-effective production of oligonucleotides at impressive scale, speed, and accuracy. The platform will enable synthesis of whole genes and DNA fragments of unprecedented length without the use of plasmids or primers, which are existing bottlenecks in the synthetic biology industry.

NunaBio’s technology has broad applications across multiple areas of life sciences, including gene therapy, T cell engineering, viral vector synthesis, diagnostics, hybridisation capture and targeted biomarker panels.

Proceeds will be used to expand the Company’s infrastructure to scale-up its existing offering, and to accelerate research and development. As part of the investment, NunaBio will also join Pioneer Group’s Launch Venture Building programme, where it will receive wrap-around support from leaders in the field for starting up, scaling and raising investment. The Company will benefit from commercialisation support for 12 months.

Joe Hedley, Co-founder and CEO of NunaBio, said:

“I am delighted to have the support of top life sciences investors which will enable us to further evolve our DNA synthesis technology, making our system one of the most innovative technologies in the market. Our investors share our mission of delivering accurate, efficient DNA synthesis to have a lasting impact on the world and so we are delighted they have chosen to invest in NunaBio. We are also excited to be joining Pioneer Group’s venture building programme and to work closely with its highly experienced life sciences team.”

Glenn Crocker, Head of Ventures at Pioneer Group, said:

“NunaBio is pioneering a new era of DNA synthesis that has the potential to revolutionise the synthetic biology industry and fill a gap across key life sciences markets. We are impressed by the technology Joe and his team have developed so rapidly and are proud to be part of this financing round. We also welcome them to our life sciences ecosystem and look forward to helping them thrive in every step of their innovation journey.”

Alisa Molotova, Investment Manager at Martlet Capital, said:

“We are thrilled to support NunaBio’s novel and disruptive DNA synthesis technology and the talented team behind it. With a dedicated team pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in DNA synthesis, we can help unlock the potential of synthetic biology and drive innovation across a wide range of industries. We are excited to be part of something truly transformative.”

Chris Wheatcroft, Investment Partner at the Ascension Life Fund, said:

“We were immediately impressed with Joe and the NunaBio team and had strong conviction from the outset. We believe that NunaBio’s technology has the potential to disrupt the synthetic DNA market. They have the right team and investors to take advantage of a large and growing market opportunity.”

Alex Buchan, Investment Director at Northstar Ventures, said:

“We are pleased to support NunaBio, a spin out from Newcastle University, which is developing cutting edge DNA synthesis technology. We have been impressed by the company’s recent progress. We strongly believe NunaBio has the potential to become a major provider of DNA at scale and form an integral part of the rapidly growing SynBio cluster in the North East.”

For more information, please contact:

Pioneer Group

Miranda Knaggs

Pioneer Group – Instinctif Partners (Media)

Melanie Toyne-Sewell / Giulia Lasagni / Feyi Ashamu


Tel: 0207 457 2020


NunaBio Limited

Joe Hedley



Ascension Ventures


Martlet Capital


Northstar Ventures Email:


Notes to Editors

About NunaBio

NunaBio is a privately owned life sciences company based in the northeast of the UK. Founded in 2021, our multi-patented technology can quickly produce large quantities of pure synthetic DNA using environmentally conscious processes.

Our mission is to enable game changing technologies across the life sciences and biotech sectors by providing novel high-quality material at scale – we are not only making products, we are empowering the most cutting-edge technologies to make an impact on the world.

For further information on NunaBio visit


About Pioneer Group

Pioneer Group’s mission is to help life sciences and high-tech businesses to thrive in tackling challenges in both human and planetary health. Across the UK and Ireland, Pioneer leads the way in integrating the provision of mission critical real estate, venture building and venture investment.

Since 2003 its connected cluster model has provided powerful sector-specific, business-focused ecosystems in which businesses are more likely to succeed.

Pioneer Group delivers the most comprehensive suite of accelerator and venture building activity across the UK and Ireland, helping founders to transfer cutting-edge discovery into visionary ventures that scale. Pioneer’s in-house team supports start-ups and scale-ups and works in partnership with organisations such as InnovateUK, AbbVie, Astellas, Academic Health Science Networks and many of the UK’s strongest universities.

Pioneer also backs game-changing, early-stage life science companies with investment from its venture capital funds, alongside ongoing mentoring and assistance. The focus is on funding the most promising companies graduating from Pioneer’s venture building programmes and/or based at its campuses. Since 2015, Pioneer has supported over 80 early-stage ventures which have raised in excess of £200m.

For more information about Pioneer Group, visit

Follow Pioneer Group:  LinkedIn | YouTube


About Ascension

Ascension is an early-stage VC built by exited entrepreneurs to back the next generation of tech and impact founders. The Ascension Life Fund is a specialist TechBio fund that invests into advanced technology companies with applications in the pharma industry.

Ascension was voted Seed VC of the Year in 2022 (UK Business Angels Association) and has been the most active investor in London over the past decade (Beauhurst).

For more information about Ascension, visit

About Northstar Ventures

Northstar Ventures is a venture capital and social investment firm based in the North East. We provide funding for innovative, scalable businesses and high impact social enterprises. We’ve been supporting entrepreneurs since 2004, seeking out strong teams with great ideas that will drive high growth, scalable businesses, and sustainable charities. As the North East’s leading early stage investor, we have invested over £100m into start-ups, early stage businesses and high impact social enterprises. Our investment managers have a wealth of experience supporting new and growing businesses and bring commercial and operational experience, PhDs and MBAs, international careers and even a micro-business or two.

About The North East Fund

The North East Fund is a suite of five venture capital and loan funds which was established in April 2018, to invest £130m in around 600 North East businesses in the period to December 2023. The fund managers provide business development advice and investment finance to small and medium sized enterprises based in the seven Local Authority areas of North East England: Northumberland, North Tyneside, Newcastle, South Tyneside, Gateshead Sunderland and County Durham. The programme encourages investment in and the commercialisation of new technologies, including low carbon technologies, as well as stimulating new business creation, private investment and entrepreneurialism in the North East, with a view to creating over 2,500 new jobs. The North East Fund has overall responsibility for the programme, which is delivered through five separate funds, each managed by independent, FCA regulated fund managers. Details of these, and up to date information on the progress of the programme, is available on The North East Fund’s website:

The North East Fund has been established with funding from the North East of England European Regional Development Fund programme, the European Investment Bank and from returns on previous North East based, publicly supported investment funds. It is jointly owned by the seven North East local authorities.

About the European Regional Development Fund

The North East Fund will receive up to £66,500,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit

About the European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will lend up to £60,000,000 to the North East Fund programme. The European Investment Bank is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. For more information, visit:

About Martlet Capital

Martlet Capital is an early-stage investor based in Cambridge, providing patient capital to deep technology and life science startups with high growth potential. Martlet seek to support entrepreneurs with value beyond capital. Martlet have achieved several exits from our portfolio, from trade sales to global technology companies and IPO’s.

Further information about Martlet Capital is available on:

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