Michelson Diagnostics shareholders invest £1.9m to expand sales of skin cancer scanner

28 November 2011

Michelson Diagnostics has announced an investment of £1.912 million by shareholders Octopus Investments, Catapult Venture Managers and individual investors from London Business Angels.

The funds will be used to expand sales & support infrastructure in USA and Europe to respond to growing demand for Michelson’s revolutionary unique laser scanning technology, which can image skin and other surface tissue at a much higher resolution than ever before.

The Company’s first product based on its patented multi-beam optical coherence tomography (OCT) technology, the VivoSight scanner, is expected to revolutionise the market for the non-invasive diagnosis and treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC).

The VivoSight scanner has already won CE & Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory clearance for clinical use in Europe and the USA, and has entered commercial service at leading dermatology clinics in USA and Germany, where it is attracting much clinical interest.

Michelson’s VivoSight scanner enables clinicians to ‘see’ under the skin surface in real time, to help them decide whether to treat a lesion, what treatment to use, and to show them how far a tumour has spread, so that surgery is required only once and conserves healthy tissue.

This is expected to make non-melanoma skin cancer treatment more efficient and cost-effective, and to be better for the patient by reducing unnecessary surgery. Looking to the future, the VivoSight scanner also has the potential to guide and monitor the use of next generation of non-invasive topical treatments for NMSC that are currently in clinical development.

At a time where non-melanoma skin cancer is said to be reaching epidemic proportions, an estimated 3.5 million new cases p.a. in the US, accounting for 4.5% of all Medicare cancer costs[1], and costing the NHS around £100 million p.a. in the UK[2,3], this breakthrough laser scanning technology could make a real difference.

Professor Dan Siegel, a leading skin cancer surgeon with private practise in Smithtown, NY, and Professor of Dermatology, SUNY Downstate, says: “Michelson’s VivoSight OCT system appears to be able to differentiate cutaneous tumours from normal epithelium and stroma, in real time[4], and has great potential in helping pre-operation delineation of tumour margins, which can be both a time and cost saver in the US Health System.”

Jon Holmes, CEO of Michelson Diagnostic, commented: “In the last 12 months, the Company has made a lot of progress. We have built a rapidly growing installed base in the clinics of key-opinion-leader dermatologists, who have generated much clinical data and publications that demonstrate the great value of using VivoSight scans to reveal hidden detail of skin lesions. As a result, VivoSight is now being used, on a routine commercial basis, by top dermatologists to help skin cancer sufferers[5]. This investment will enable us to expand our sales, customer support, and production infrastructure, to respond to growing demand in USA and Europe.”

Although its main focus is on non-melanoma skin cancer, during the year it also announced preliminary findings that suggest its technology could provide a breakthrough in the early detection of psoriatic arthritis6, a common complication of psoriasis.

Simon Andrews led the deal on behalf of Octopus. Funds were provided from the Octopus Titan VCT funds, the Eureka EIS Portfolio Service, Octopus Venture Partners, Advantage Enterprise & Innovation Fund, and individual investors.


1. H. W. Rogers, M. A. Weinstock, A. R. Harris, et al. (2010) "Incidence estimate of nonmelanoma skin cancer in the United States, 2006" Arch Dermatol, 146(3), pp. 283-7.

2. S. Morris, B. Cox & N. Bosanquet (2009) "Cost of skin cancer in England" Eur J Health Econ, 10(3), pp. 267-73.

3. Cancer Research UK (2005) "Skin Cancer in the UK - 2005," Cancer Research UK.

4. Pomerantza et al. (2011)”Optical Coherence Tomography used as a Modality to delineate Basal Cell Carcinoma prior to Mohs Micrographic Surgery” Case Reports in Dermatology Vol.3, pp 212-218.

5. CBS News ‘Healthwatch’, http://www.wcax.com/story/15901408/new-tool-helps-non-melanoma-patients-avoid-surgery

6. Zehra, S. et al, "Optical Coherence Tomography: A New Tool to Assess Nail Disease in Psoriasis?" Dermatology (DOI: 10.1159/000329434), S. Karger AG, Basel.

Source: Michelson Diagnostics


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