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18 June, 2013 - 06:23 By News Desk

Cancer diagnostic firm raises the stakes

UroSens CEO, Ian Campbell

A triple injection of cash, clinical studies and fresh blood in the boardroom is accelerating commercialisation of new cancer diagnostic technology from Cambridge based UroSens.

The company’s pinpoint accuracy urine tests are a potential weapon against bladder and prostate cancer.

It has received £0.5 million investment from Esperante, a Netherlands-based specialist life sciences venture investment firm, Northstar Ventures’ Finance for Business North East Accelerator Fund, and existing investors and entered into clinical trials to assess the accuracy of its test in the detection of bladder cancer. That’s on top of a grant of £250,000 recently received from the Technology Strategy Board, the government’s innovation agency.

The new funding will underpin 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.

UroSens has also 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 test is expected to significantly reduce the number of patients undergoing these invasive and costly procedures because of its reported high accuracy.

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 test is compatible with established assay technologies and automated platforms and has achieved CE mark as a research use only product, which will allow it to be commercialised throughout the EU and certain wider markets.

To prepare for the upcoming commercial push UroSens has strengthened the board through the appointments of Dean Slagel of Esperante and Dr Alex Buchan of Northstar Ventures.

UroSens CEO Dr Ian Campbell said: “These are significant steps forward for our company. Alongside our successful TSB grant application, this new funding enables us to progress with clinical trials and increase the pace of our commercial development.”

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