AN award-winning York-based bioscience company has secured £50,000 of investment from the Viking Fund to enable it to continue to fund its work with the anti-malaria drug artemisinin.

Bioniqs, a spin-out company from the University of York, was established by Dr Neil Bruce in 2004 to commercialise novel ionic liquids.

These are fluids largely made up of electrically charged particles or ions. One application of this technology is bespoke solvents which are recyclable, biodegradable, have low toxicity and can be produced at low cost. The investment by the Viking Fund is in addition to a total £150,000 investment from IP Group made since October 2007. Both the Viking Fund and the IP Group investments have been made by convertible loan.

The firm was awarded Entrepreneur Of The Year at the annual Yorkshire and Humber Bioscience Awards for its work at its laboratories in York Science Park. In March, six months later, Bioniqs launched its "solventS" service, a green solvent selection service with the objective of identifying and designing environmentally friendly solvents that have clear benefits over hazardous materials.

The company is now developing an ionic liquid which can be used to extract artemisinin, the drug used to treat malaria.