Case Studies – Ferryx
Ferryx joined Future Space in 2019. We caught up with CEO and Co-Founder Jenny Bailey to find out more about what they’re up to, as well as talking about some of the recent accolades they’ve been awarded.
"at Future Space we can start lean and grow into our own space over time." - Jenny Bailey, CEO & Co-founder, Ferryx.
Tell us a bit about Ferryx
Incorporated in 2019, Ferryx is a University of Bristol spin out. The team of three is made up of Jenny Bailey (CEO and Co-Founder), Tristan Cogan (CTO and Co-Founder) and John Fox (Chair of the Board). Ferryx joined Future Space at around the same time as we liked the ethos and community, access to facilities, and the opportunity to grow in the space as our business grows.
Our focus is the development of bacterial products for the treatment of gastrointestinal inflammatory illness in humans and animals. Diseases like these affect millions of people worldwide – Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) affects more than 6.8 million alone. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is even more prevalent, and yet there are few treatment options.
We are developing bacterial products which are a safe and natural alternative to traditional medications (many of which can cause negative side effects).
Why is your product important?
Bacterial products are popular, but there isn’t anything out there that can function during bouts of active inflammation. IBD and IBS are what you would call ‘relapsing, remitting’ conditions. This means that sufferers can have periods of remission where symptoms lessen or go away – our solution is trying to extend these periods of remission, as well as functioning during active disease, with the aim of putting people back into remission.
What you are working on right now?
We’ve just signed our first deal – the first revenue into Ferryx. This is an ‘option to license’ with a period of exclusivity of 9 months to conductdo trials of our lead product in chickens. This project is looking at reducing the incidencestance and severity of infectious disease in chickens. By using our product in the chicken feed, the hope is it will improve productivity, giving a better feed conversion ratio – less feed, more chicken.
Trials are starting in late Spring as we will be controlling the manufacturing of the product, as well as acting in a consultancy capacity. The goal of the project is to license the Ferryx product and develop it into a chicken feed product in 2022.
In terms of the IBD/IBS product, we’re actively looking for investment of £270,000 to develop our regulatory strategy and clinical trial design. Our plan is to start clinical trials in patients with IBD in 2023.
Tell us about your journey with Future Space
We moved into the shared office at Future Space in 2019, and at that time we had a licensing agreement fall through. I worked with the Launch Space team to develop my pitch, and Future Space introduced us to the Oxford Investment Opportunity Network (OION) to attend one of their pitching events. When we needed money and had no idea where to turn, it was great to turn to the Future Space support services and their connections.
Being a part of a bigger community and a network of peers with connections and experience is so valuable. I’ve got a lot from the network and events at Future Space, like weekly Founders Forum, beer and pizza evenings (pre-covid!), and business support workshops. The advisory space initiative is another fantastic resource – I’ve already made use of PR & Marketing, Legal, and Business Development advisory sessions, and it’s comforting to know it’s there to book when I need it.
Ultimately, it’s the network of people that has been the biggest benefit to us.
"Being a part of a bigger community and a network of peers with connections and experience is so valuable."
What has been your/the company’s biggest accomplishment?
Over the last year our plans have had to change because of the pandemic, and we put our investment plans on hold. Despite the difficult circumstances, I took time out to learn new skills. I was fortunate to be awarded a place on the ‘Back Her Business’ programme with Natwest. This provided training and mentorship in business skills, and it was a great chance to connect with a network with female peers.
Before lockdown, Ferryx were also runners up in the ‘New Enterprise’ competition run by the University of Bristol. We won six months membership with SETsquared, and we deferred that to September 2020, while I completed the ‘Back her Business’ programme.
In late 2020 we were honoured to be shortlisted and win the SPARKies ‘Good’ award for using tech to do good. We know why our product is important and the help it could give to so many people, but it’s wonderful to know that others believe in it too.
The most amazing thing to come out of last year was my mentor – she has helped me to move on leaps and bounds and we are in touch regularly.
What does Ferryx have in store for us in the future?
We’re looking at developing our food supplement product – this is an opportunity to do an over the counter product that could be sold in pharmacies and would sit alongside probiotic products. There are a variety of routes that we could take and we’re assessing our best options now. If the animal healthcare trial goes well, we would look to expand Ferryx and to bring on additional people. That is such an important thing for a start-up – at Future Space we can start lean and grow into our own space over time.
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