Board of Directors Strengthened with Key Appointments.
Cambridge and Sunderland, UK, 17 June 2013: UroSens Ltd, a start-up diagnostic company developing novel, non-invasive urine tests for the detection of prostate and bladder cancer, has announced 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 commercialised 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 commercialisation.”
The Finance for Business North East Accelerator Fund is backed by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank.
Notes to Editors.
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Dr Alex Buchan of Northstar Ventures (left), Dean Slagel of Esperante (right).
For more information please contact:
For UroSens Ltd
Lorna Cuddon, Zyme Communications
+44 (0)7811 996 942
For Northstar Ventures:
+44 (0)191 229 2776
UroSens Ltd, is developing proprietary diagnostic immunoassays for the detection of prostate and bladder cancer using urine samples. The Company has a worldwide exclusive licence, from Cancer Research Technology Ltd, for the exploitation of MCM cancer biomarkers in the diagnosis of bladder and prostate cancer, using quantitative immunoassays but excluding liquid based cytology. MCM proteins are excellent biomarkers, being directly involved in cell replication and are shed into urine by both prostate and bladder tumours. The ubiquitous nature of MCMs, and their direct involvement in cell replication, means that the Company can develop a single test format that works for both conditions.
The non-invasive, urine-based ELISA and Point-of Care tests being developed by UroSens meet the increased demand for cost-effective healthcare technologies that not only enhance patient care but help to reduce overall healthcare costs by improving patient outcomes. UroSens will commercialise ELISA and point-of-care urine tests for prostate and bladder cancer for use in the urology clinic, hospital lab and the GP’s surgery.
Established in 2007, UroSens Ltd is based at the Babraham Research Campus, Cambridge, UK and also the North East Business and Innovation Centre in Sunderland. For more information please visit www.urosens.com/
Esperante is a private life sciences venture investment group focussed on investing in therapeutics and in vitro diagnostics development companies in Europe, North America and Israel. The group is led by a board, management and advisory team with long term and proven expertise in the operational, business development and growth management of pharmaceutical and diagnostics companies worldwide.
Esperante currently has a portfolio of 18 companies and typically invests between £200,000 and £1m into each company in syndication with venture capital funds, academic institutions, charities, family funds and trusts, government and regional funding bodies and business angels. Follow-on investments are made by Esperante where appropriate.
About Northstar Ventures
Northstar is a venture capital company dedicated to building successful high growth businesses across the North East of England. The £25m Finance for Business North East Accelerator Fund is one of the funds we manage and it is backed by the European Investment Bank and the European Regional Development Fund and forms part of the £125m Finance for Business North East Fund.
The Accelerator invests in high growth, innovative early stage businesses in any eligible sector and will complete investments of between £100k and £500k, with the maximum investment into any one company being limited to £750k per year. It invests in companies and pre-start enterprises at an early stage of their development i.e. predominantly at the start-up and seed capital stages.
Northstar Ventures is a trading name of NorthStar Equity Investors Limited. NorthStar Equity Investors Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. NorthStar Equity Investors Limited is a limited company registered in England and Wales with company number 0510 4995. Registered office: 5th Floor, Maybrook House, 27-35 Grainger Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 5JE. Further information can be found at www.northstarventures.co.uk
About Finance for Business North East
Finance for Business North East is part of the Government’s Solutions for Business portfolio of publicly funded help to companies to start, grow and succeed. Solutions for Business makes it easier to get the advice and assistance they need. More information can be found at www.businesslink.gov.uk/solutions