Owlstone Medical Ltd, a diagnostics company, has been spun out of parent company, Owlstone Inc, to develop and commercialize a breathalyzer for use in clinical diagnostics and precision medicine with applications in cancer, inflammatory and infectious disease. Based in Cambridge, UK, the Company has announced that it has successfully raised $7 million (£4.9 million) financing. The investment round was led by Medtekwiz Advisory Ltd and will be used to fund ongoing clinical trials of the breathalyzer in lung and colon cancer screening.
Owlstone Medical has been created to leverage proprietary and proven Field Asymmetric Ion Mobility Spectrometry (FAIMS) technology for the advancement of a disease breathalyzer. FAIMS measures volatile organic compound (VOCs) metabolites in patient’s breath or bodily fluids which are specific to disease. Measurement of VOC biomarkers allows diagnosis of disease at a very early stage, to enable more effective treatment and better patient outcomes.
Owlstone Medical is managed by a highly experienced team and supported by world-renowned experts in lung cancer diagnosis. Billy Boyle, Co-founder and CEO at Owlstone Medical, is an engineering graduate from Cambridge University and one of the original co-founders of Owlstone Inc, which was spun out of Cambridge University in 2004 and has raised $28M in investment and won in excess of $25M in engineering grants largely from the US Military.
Billy Boyle commented: “Securing this funding is further validation of our technology, and we are excited to progress our vision to revolutionize the detection and diagnosis of cancer, infectious and inflammatory diseases. The breathalyzer we are developing provides clinicians with a highly sensitive, non-invasive diagnostic, which will enable early detection and improve patient outcomes. We are also working with pharma partners to develop non-invasive companion diagnostics to better match patients to treatment for emerging personalised therapies.”
Regius Professor Christofer Toumazou, advisor to Medtekwiz and recently appointed to the Owlstone Medical Board, said: “I am delighted to have joined the Board and to be involved at such a milestone in the development of the Company. With the investment, I look forward to seeing a step change in the way serious disease can be diagnosed and monitored, and particularly for colon and lung cancer, which are two of the biggest cancer killers worldwide.”
Owlstone Inc CEO and Owlstone Medical board member, Bret Bader commented: “We are very pleased to have completed this transaction with Medtekwiz. Owlstone Inc has developed a revolutionary platform technology that promises to change the delivery of chemical detection solutions in markets that range from defense to medical diagnostics. This transaction and the creation of Owlstone Medical is a template for our strategy of creating market specific spin outs in order to take a focused approach to solve profound problems.”
The potential of the technology to enable rapid detection of disease, without the need for costly, invasive medical procedures, has seen Owlstone Medical recently awarded the Business Weekly Astra Zeneca-MedImmune Life Science Innovation award. In February, the Company won an NHS contract for STRATA, adapting its disease breathalyzer technology for precision medicine and companion diagnostics and prior to that, it was awarded a $1.4 million (£1 million) NHS contract for LuCID (Lung Cancer Indicator Detection) to use FAIMS technology in the early detection of lung cancer.