Tate & Lyle Ventures, the US$45m venture capital fund specialising in the renewable ingredients, food technologies and renewable resources fields, has announced its first investment, in the UK-based food safety diagnostics company Lumora.

Set up by two leading biotechnology academics, Dr Laurence Tisi and Professor Jim Murray from Cambridge University's Institute of Biotechnology, Lumora has developed a revolutionary DNA-based test that will identify and measure specific food-borne pathogens within a matter of hours.

According to Tate & Lyle Investments, the Lumora test is extremely rapid, highly sensitive and, importantly for the food sector, cost effective and easy to use. The investment by Tate & Lyle Ventures will enable Lumora to produce its next generation prototypes and install them within a range of food sector companies.

"We are delighted to be backing a company based on such strong science and technology, and robust intellectual property, which has the potential to transform not just food safety but also impact a range of other business sectors," said Simon Barnes of Tate & Lyle Ventures. "Laurence Tisi and Jim Murray have established a business with great potential and we believe the Tate & Lyle link can add real value to this business." 

Laurence Tisi said: "In addition to providing finance to accelerate Lumora's product development, Tate & Lyle Ventures brings valuable expertise in the food sector. The combination of Lumora's unique technology with the backing of Tate & Lyle Ventures ideally positions Lumora to make a major impact on the food sector, benefiting consumers and food producers alike."