UroSens Ltd has announced that it has received £0.5M ($0.8M) investment and has entered into clinical trials to assess the accuracy of its novel UroSens Mcm5-ELISA diagnostic test for the detection of bladder cancer.
The funding has been received from Esperante, a Netherlands-based specialist life sciences venture investment firm, Northstar Ventures’ Finance for Business North East Accelerator Fund, and existing investors.
In addition to the £0.5M investment, UroSens has recently been awarded a grant of £250,000 from the Technology Strategy Board.
The new funding will be used to enable UroSens to carry out a series of clinical studies, which will see the Company working with over 1,200 patients at four leading UK hospitals.
The study is expected to be completed by October 2013. UroSens has secured ethics approval to conduct similar trials for the detection of prostate cancer.
With over 40,000 new cases of prostate cancer and 11,000 of bladder cancer each year in the UK, current diagnostic tests are unreliable, resulting in many unnecessary biopsies.
For both diseases, the UroSens Mcm5-ELISA diagnostic test is expected to significantly reduce the number of patients undergoing these invasive and costly procedures because it offers significantly more accurate diagnostic results.
The new test is based on intellectual property licensed exclusively from Cancer Research Technology (CRT), the technology transfer arm of Cancer Research UK.
The UroSens Mcm5-ELISA test is compatible with established assay technologies and automated platforms and has achieved CE mark as a research use only product, which will allow the product to be commercialized throughout the EU and certain wider markets.
UroSens has also announced two appointments to strengthen its board of directors. Joining the board, effective immediately, are Mr Dean Slagel of Esperante and Dr Alex Buchan of Northstar Ventures.
Dean Slagel has been appointed Non-Executive Director and brings over 20 years of life science industry operational, business development and investing experience.
Alex Buchan has been appointed Board Observer. He joined Northstar in September 2004 following a series of senior commercial roles in the biotechnology sector at companies including Cybersense, Compugen, SDI Europe, EnSys Europe and Archaeus.
Dr Ian Campbell, CEO at UroSens, said: “These are significant steps forward for our company. We are grateful to our existing shareholders, Northstar Ventures and Esperante for the investment. Alongside our successful TSB grant application, this new funding enables us to progress with clinical trials and increase the pace of our commercial development.”
Dr Alex Buchan of Northstar Ventures added: “Bladder cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the UK, with the highest recurrence rate of any malignancy. We are delighted to have invested in UroSens, with its pioneering detection tests and technology, and I look forward to working with the UroSens team.”
Dean Slagel of Esperante commented: “Esperante is delighted to have invested in UroSens, which offers a novel and potentially ground-breaking urological cancer diagnostic being developed under the leadership of an experienced and high calibre management team. We look forward to continuing to support UroSens through to commercialization.”
The Finance for Business North East Accelerator Fund is backed by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank.