picture9_233x166Celsis International plc was formed in 1992 by Sir Chris. Its core technology originated from the bioluminescence research team of Enzymatix Limited. The immense commercial opportunities for this technology soon became clear to Sir Chris and so Celsis International was formed as a separate business to develop and sell rapid microbial testing reagents, kits and equipment.

picture11_166x181Sir Chris raised early venture funding for Celsis of just $0.45m. Celsis International was then floated on the London Stock Exchange just a year later in 1993 at a valuation of $90m, raising $40m cash. The flotation of Celsis was only made possible by Sir Chris assisting the London Stock Exchange to change its Yellow Book rules to enable such new and innovative high growth businesses as Celsis to list its shares without a long track record of profitability. The success of Celsis opened the doors for the creation of the entire UK quoted biotech sector.

picture10_106x166The core intellectual property and products used patented bioluminescence reagents and techniques to measure nano-levels of ATP in microbes. At the time, almost all testing for microbial contamination around the world was conducted with plastic petri dishes containing nutrient rich media and took two to seven days to produce a quantitative and qualitative result. Celsis’s products were faster, more accurate and more specific for the detection of a wide range of microbes. They were applied across a range of industries including pharmaceutical, cosmetic and toiletries as well as in numerous research laboratories.

bacteria4_124x124Following a period of unprecedented growth, Celsis grew from sales of virtually nothing in 1993 to more than $17m within 5 years. Today sales exceed $70m per annum with customers that include Colgate, Unilever, Proctor and Gamble, GSK and Merck.

Celsis went on to become the first ever profitable biotech company in Europe and one of the leading companies in the UK biotechnology sector.