Michelson Diagnostics raises £350K for clinical trials and growth

4 March 2009

Michelson Diagnostics Ltd (MDL) has announced that it has raised just over £350,000 from a consortium of investors from the London Business Angels (LBA) network and from the management team. The money will be used to support multi-centre clinical trials of its new hand-held multi-beam optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging probe, and also aid international commercial growth.

“We received tremendous customer interest in our new ‘VivoSight’ multi-beam OCT probe, when we demonstrated the working prototype at the BiOS09 show (San Jose) in January”, said Michelson’s CEO, Jon Holmes, “and sales of our EX1301 OCT Microscope have accelerated in the last two quarters. We plan to launch VivoSight with UK clinical approvals in May/June this year, and I believe that we will post triple-digit sales growth in 2009”.

MDL received early-stage funding of £600k in October 2007, and a further £600k in July 2008, in rounds led by London Seed Capital Ltd with Catapult Venture Managers Ltd and the LBA. It has offices in Kent and the West Midlands and was founded in 2006 by Jon Holmes and four other ex-employees of Sira, the photonics instrumentation company.

MDL’s Chairman, John Knowles, commented on the company’s fundraising strategy: “The management team has continued to achieve key milestones on time and on budget, and this has enabled a successful fundraising at a time when money is scarce and without loss of value for existing shareholders. We are now well placed to raise a much larger sum, timed to coincide with the economic recovery and results from clinical trials.”

MDL says that the ‘VivoSight’ Multi-Beam OCT imaging technology has better resolution than competing OCT systems. This could revolutionize cancer diagnosis and treatment by potentially enabling clinicians to see, in real time, (and at far higher resolution than is possible with current ultrasound, MRI or CT imaging), the location and extent of a tumour, for a range of cancer types.

OCT image of the skin of a finger
OCT image of the skin of a finger, showing epidermis
and dermis, with blood vessels clearly visible. Image
 size 8 mm x 2 mm. Scale bar at top right is 1.0 mm

It is anticipated that the equipment will enable faster, more accurate cancer surgery, with major benefits for both the patient and clinician — removing the slow, painstaking process of taking multiple samples of tissue for analysis.

Primary applications are expected to be skin and oral cancer, but many other cancers will be accessible via future variants of the probe, and there are also many other clinical and non-clinical applications for this powerful new imaging technology. The company has already conducted trials on excised human cancer tissue in the UK, Germany and the US, and will commence in vivo trials during 2009.

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