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Neil Woodford's Patient Capital Trust portfolio firm Ultrahaptics raises £35mln in funding round

Ultrahaptics is expected to be valued at more than £150mln after the funding round and is considering a public listing.
Ultrahaptics' technology is being used by games giant IGT in Las Vegas

Virtual touch technology firm Ultrahaptics, part of Neil Woodford’s Woodford Patient Capital Trust PLC (LON:WPCT) portfolio, has completed a new £35mln financing round.

Bristol-based Ultrahaptics has developed a technology that uses ultrasound to allow users to experience the sensory feeling of objects in virtual reality.  

The technology produces high-frequency waves that create enough pressure to be felt on users' hands and can be used to make and control virtual shapes in mid-air.

It allows drivers to control dashboards without taking their eyes off the road and is being used by IGT for one of its games machines in Las Vegas.

Co-founder and chief technology officer, Tom Carter, came up with the idea while studying for his PhD at Bristol University.

Ultrahaptics plans to use the proceeds of the oversubscribed funding round to support its commercial and research and development activities.  

The company, founded in 2013 and chaired by former Telecity boss Michael Tobin, is developing products for industrial controls, medical interfaces, household appliances, consumer electronics and the gaming industry.

Funding round brings in new backer, Ultrahaptics considering IPO

Existing backers Woodford Investment, IP Group, Cornes and Dolby Family Ventures took part in the fundraise.

The funding round also brought in new investor, Mayfair Equity Partners, one of Australia’s largest workplace pension funds.

Mayfair has invested in restaurant chain Yo! Sushi,  energy provider Ovo and digital marketing business SuperAwesome.

Ultrahaptics’ clients include Nike, Dell, Intel and IBM while it also has academic partnerships with the University of Oxford, the University of Tokyo, Stanford University and MIT.  

The start-up firm is expected to be valued at more than £150mln after the funding round. It has now raised more than £60mln and is considering a public listing. 

Woodford Patient Capital Trust shares gain on news from Ultrahaptics and Autolus

Shares in Woodford Patient Capital Trust, which has a 2.79% stake in Ultrahaptics, rose 1.2% to 89.7p in morning trading. The trust first invested in the company in October 2015.

Another one of its portfolio companies, Autolus Therapeutics PLC (NASDAQ:AUTL), has dosed the first patient in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial of its AUTO4 therapy for relapsed or refractory TRBC1-positive peripheral T cell lymphoma (PTCL).

READ: Arix Bioscience’s portfolio firm Autolus doses first patient in clinical trial of AUTO4 T-cell lymphoma therapy

PTCL is a form of cancer that arises in areas of the body such as lymph nodes, spleen, the gastrointestinal tract, and skin when T-cells, white blood cells that fight infection, become abnormal.

The value of Woodford Patient Capital has increased by more than a fifth since March, putting it on course to join the FTSE 250 in the FTSE reshuffle next month.

The trust was promoted to the FTSE 250 in October but that lasted less than a week after index compilers FTSE Russell admitted it was a mistake. Civitas Social Housing PLC (LON:CSH), not the Woodford Trust, was supposed to replace NEX Group in the mid-cap index after it was bought by CME Group.

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