Abcodia secures funding of £5.25 million ($8m) to launch the ROCA® test for the early detection of ovarian cancer
- Two new investors, Cambridge Innovative Capital and Scottish Equity Partners join existing investors Albion Ventures and UCLB
- The investment enables the launch of the ROCA® test in US and UK in 2015, as well as the establishment of a US presence
UCLB spinout company Abcodia today announced that it has raised £5.25 million funding from existing and new investors to bring the world’s most sensitive and specific ovarian cancer screening test, ROCA® to market.
The financing was co-led by Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) and Scottish Equity Partners (SEP), who join existing investors Albion Ventures and UCL Business. Dr Robert Tansley, from CIC and Jan Rutherford, from SEP have been appointed to Abcodia’s Board.
Dr Julie Barnes, Abcodia’s CEO, welcomed the funding and commented: “The funding will allow Abcodia to launch the ROCA® test in the UK this summer and US markets later in 2015. This is the first cancer screening test that we are bringing to market and we are excited about its proven high performance. We feel passionately that the ROCA® test will make a real difference in the lives of women at risk of developing this aggressive form of cancer. The funding will help build operations and commercial teams in the UK and establish our US presence while continuing to grow our product pipeline focused on improving early cancer diagnosis.”
Dr Robert Tansley, Investment Director at CIC, said: “The major unmet need in early detection of ovarian cancer and the unprecedented clinical validation behind the ROCA® test provided a compelling body of evidence for CIC’s investment. We are excited to support this groundbreaking test and bring it to the market so women around the world can feel empowered with more knowledge and more options.”
The ROCA® test’s proven performance was reaffirmed in a study from the UKCTOCS trial at UCL, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology1, 2 this month. The publication showed the ROCA® test could detect ovarian cancer more accurately than existing methods and before symptoms occur.
Jan Rutherford, partner at SEP, said: “Abcodia is one of the most exciting businesses involved in the early detection of cancer. Its novel data driven approach, underpinned by its unique biobank and its strategic partnership with Cancer Research UK, has the potential to materially enhance the way biomarkers are developed, allowing earlier disease diagnosis and improved patient outcomes. We are delighted to invest in such an innovative company and look forward to the launch of the ROCA test, initially through a number of private clinics in the UK this summer.”
Abcodia is a pioneering UK company engaged in the clinical and commercial development of promising tests for the early detection of cancer. The company’s first product to reach the market in 2015 will be the ROCA® test, to which Abcodia has an exclusive license for the early detection of ovarian cancer. In addition and in co-operation with University College London, Abcodia is leading technology developments in disease lifecycle utilizing the world’s largest serum biobank and clinical database ever developed, to evaluate potential tests for the early detection of disease, including all major cancers. In 2013 Abcodia formed an alliance with Cancer Research UK and Cancer Research Technology to discover and validate blood-based biomarkers that may be used in cancer screening.
About Cambridge Innovation Capital
Cambridge Innovation Capital (“CIC”) was launched with initial funding from long-term institutional and strategic investors including Invesco Perpetual, Lansdowne Partners and the University of Cambridge Endowment Fund. We invest in high-growth life science and technology companies arising from the University of Cambridge and the wider Cambridge Cluster. With our close ties to the University, active angel groups and the entrepreneurial community, our mission is to be one of the leading venture capital investors in the vibrant Cambridge Cluster. Where needed, our investment strategy backed by our permanent capital structure, allows us to provide long-term financial support to our portfolio companies.
About Scottish Equity Partners
Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) is a leading venture capital investor in high growth technology and technology-enabled companies. Operating from offices in London, Glasgow and Edinburgh, SEP invests up to £20m in innovative, growth stage companies with a sharp focus on the IT, healthcare and energy sectors.
For further information see: www.sep.co.uk. For press enquiries please contact Lucy Smith, Hot Tin Roof PR: 0131 225 7880: 07849 111 524
About the ROCA® Test
The ROCA® test refers to the Risk of Ovarian Cancer Algorithm, invented by academic gynaecological oncologist, Professor Ian Jacobs (University New South Wales; Principal Investigator of the UKCTOCS trial), and Dr Steve Skates (Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University; Statistician). Through routine testing, the ROCA® test assesses the likelihood of a women having ovarian cancer and is used clinically to refer women for a diagnostic ultrasound test. It was developed using analysis of years of serial blood chemistry CA125 and clinical data derived from women who developed ovarian cancer those who did not. It was then evaluated in the largest cancer screening trial in the world involving over 200,000 women and up to 10 years of real world experience.
For more information about the ROCA® test, please visit www.theROCAtest.co.uk
UCLB is a leading technology transfer company that supports and commercialises research and innovations arising from UCL, one of the UK’s top research-led universities.UCLB has a successful track record and a strong reputation for identifying and protecting promising new technologies and innovations from UCL academics. It invests directly in development projects to maximise the potential of the research and manages the commercialisation process of technologies from the laboratory to market.UCLB supports UCL’s Grand Challenges of increasing UCL’s positive impact on and contribution to Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Intercultural Interaction and Human Wellbeing.
For further information, please visit www.uclb.com