AS the entrepreneur behind arguably the world's finest hi-fi systems, Ivor Tiefenbrun provided the soundtrack for the lives of the rich and successful.

His latest project, however, will target the silence surrounding an issue far removed from the luxury reputation of Linn Products' turntables and speakers.

The business tycoon, who built one of Scotland's great commercial successes from a factory in Castlemilk, has launched a charity to help find new treatments for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Mr Tiefenbrun, 59, suffers from the condition which affects about 180,000 people in the UK, with 6000 new cases being diagnosed each year.

The two main types are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Sufferers have to tolerate particularly unpleasant side-effects, including going to the toilet up to 40 times a day.

In the case of Crohn's, 70-per cent require surgery, with many having at least part of their colon removed. After discovering his condition three years ago, Mr Tiefenbrun decided to use his formidable business acumen to inject more money into bowel disease research. He has already contributed tens of thousands of pounds of his own cash to the charity, Cure Crohn's Colitis, or C3, which aims to raise GBP250,000 in its first year.

All funds will go towards a research team based at Oxford University, which is studying the largest tissue database in the UK in search of genetic clues that it is hoped will lead to improvements in treatment.

At his business base near Eaglesham, in Renfrewshire, Mr Tiefenbrun said the disease "is the kind of thing that people find embarrassing to discuss".

He said it was "as unpleasant as you can possibly imagine".

He was shocked to discover the lack of money available for research, after a conversation with another Scot on the Oxford team, who told him "they had the assets and expertise", but "I was astonished to learn that they didn't have sufficient funds . . . I thought I would try to do something to help."

The researchers have already made progress, he adds, "so we know that this work will be useful".

The next step is to recruit volunteers for local fundraising in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee. His new charity will be launched tomorrow at the Scottish Business Insider Elite awards.


The condition affects one in 400 people in Britain.

Scotland has the highest rate of diagnosis among young people, while rates of Crohn's disease have been rising steadily throughout the UK.

Main symptoms are pain in the abdomen, urgent diarrhoea, tiredness and loss of weight.

It is understood IBD is triggered by both genetic and environmental factors. The most common age of diagnosis is between 15 and 35, with men and women at equal risk.

There is no known cure, except for the surgical removal of the colon in some more extreme cases.