07 Nov 2012   |   Network Updates

Two Imperial portfolio companies win significant funding

Imperial Innovations announces that two of its portfolio companies have won significant funding from the government-backed Biomedical Catalyst Awards. IXICO, a leading medical imaging company, and PsiOxus, a development stage biotechnology company developing novel therapeutics for cancer and other clinically unmet diseases, will receive £2.1m and £1.7m respectively to accelerate the translation of scientific ideas into commercial propositions.

IXICO will lead a project to develop a novel digital healthcare platform which provides earlier and more accurate diagnosis of dementia by opening up advanced investigative techniques usually only available in specialist centres to doctors diagnosing all patients. World-class computer-based tests of memory and thinking will be combined with computerised analysis of MRI brain scans to yield automated and accurate diagnostic reports that lead to rapid treatment and support for people with dementia and their carers. The three-year collaborative project aims to demonstrate that time to diagnosis of dementia can be reduced by 15 months and bring diagnosis rates closer to the Prime Minister's Dementia Challenge target rate of 80%. IXICO will work alongside Cambridge Cognition, a leading UK developer of neuropsychological tests, and their project partners at King's College London, University of Sussex and Imperial College London.

PsiOxus will initiate a phase I/II clinical trial to assess the use of its ColoAd1 oncolytic vaccine in the treatment of platinum-resistant, recurrent ovarian cancer. The OCTAVE (Ovarian Cancer Treated with Adeno Virus) study will be the second clinical trial of ColoAd1, a highly potent, broad spectrum anticancer therapeutic capable of selectively destroying tumour cells at minute concentrations. The study will assess over 50 ovarian cancer patients and will be carried out at multiple UK cancer centres beginning in 2013. Professor Iain McNeish, from the Institute of Cancer Sciences at the University of Glasgow, is Principal Investigator.

In addition to the funding for PsiOxus and IXICO, a further Innovations portfolio company, Photobiotics, a multidisciplinary biotechnology company developing technologies to target drugs directly at tumours, received a smaller award from the Biomedical Catalyst earlier in the year.

The government-backed Biomedical Catalyst is a £180 million funding programme for businesses and academics in the life sciences sector which is managed jointly by the Technology Strategy Board and the Medical Research Council. As part of this round of funding, grants totaling over £39 million have been awarded to over 30 projects led by SMEs and universities to accelerate the development of innovative solutions to healthcare challenges.

Susan Searle, Innovations' CEO, said: "The Biomedical Catalyst is an enterprising government initiative that will provide significant leverage to companies developing important medical technologies with the potential to greatly improve patients' lives. We are delighted that our portfolio companies have received a strong endorsement from the programme, and the funding they receive will allow them to accelerate development and enter the market more quickly."

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