MIRACULINS Inc. now has a global investment heavyweight on its board to add some weight behind it as it sets about launching its novel skin-cholesterol test, PreVu, in the retail pharmacy setting.
Jim Mellon, one of the wealthiest people in Europe -- reportedly worth more than 500 million British pounds -- contributed to Miraculins' latest financing and liked the company so much he agreed to join the board.
Until not so long ago, the Isle of Man-based fund manager was most active as an investor in the mining industry worldwide.
But he has lately been bullish on the bio-science field and in May 2011 helped launch a public-investment arm called Port Erin Bio Pharma Investments Ltd., based on the Isle of Man.
Chris Moreau, CEO of Winnipeg-based Miraculins, would not disclose the size of Mellon's Miraculins' investment, other than to say he is now a "significant" investor (but it's likely less than a 10 per cent stake, as more would have to be publicly disclosed).
"It's great to have someone of Jim's experience and background on the board," Moreau said. "Every CEO would love to have as much depth on his board as possible. Jim adds an incredible dimension being an international business investor, an experienced fund manager and the director of many different companies."
Miraculins is developing diagnostic technologies for a number of diseases, including prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. Its most current project, however, is a fully developed and approved test kit that measures skin cholesterol.
Miraculins already has distribution partners lined up, one targeting the retail pharmacy market and another targeting doctors' offices and clinics.
Earlier this year, the company raised $2.4 million in a private placement offering of shares.
During that effort, Moreau said a Montreal-based shareholder of Miraculins offered to set up a meeting between Moreau and Mellon.
"The investor has a connection with Mellon and he was going to be in Montreal at the same time I was," Moreau said. "I had an hour-and-a-half meeting explaining the technology, the management team and the potential. It was great talking with him. He really got it."
Mellon, a graduate of Oxford University, started his fund-management career in Hong Kong and eventually started his own firms. In addition to Port Erin, he is principally connected to Regent Pacific Group Ltd., incorporated in the Cayman Islands, which invests primarily in mining ventures in China and Asia, and the listed fund-management firm Charlemagne Capital, based in London.
He's also written books on investment strategies, including 2012's Cracking the Code: Understand and Profit from the Biotech Revolution That Will Transform Our Lives and Generate Fortunes.
Mellon's appointment to the board fills a director vacancy created by the resignation of Noah Billick, who is stepping down for personal reasons.
Miraculins shares (TSXV: MOM) gained half a cent in trading Monday to close at 11 cents.