Spinout News

Prospect of better detection of 'hidden' heart conditions affecting millions, as Echopoint Medical attracts major funding for its new diagnostic technology

23 February 2024

Echopoint technology

Echopoint Medical has secured £4.2m in Series A funding to support its ‘iKOr’ heart disease diagnostic technology through to FDA approval, offering hope for patients with INOCA (Ischemia and No Obstructive Coronary Artery Disease).

INOCA affects two-thirds of cardiac patients and four times as many women as men and in most cases is caused by microvasculature dysfunction and/or vasospasm of the coronary arteries. Because the diagnosis requires specialised expertise and testing, it is frequently missed, but leaving it undiagnosed can be dangerous for patients as INOCA is associated with repeated emergency hospital admissions and increased incidence of cardiovascular events.

Echopoint’s iKOr platform uses pulses of light in fine optical fibres inserted into the blood vessels to measure coronary flow-rates in patients who suffer from chest pain, with ischemia and no obstructions. It enables therapy decisions to be guided by one device in one ‘intuitive’ step, facilitating easy to use early intervention, and more effective management of heart diseases associated with angina (heart pain).

Antony Odell, CEO of Echopoint Medical Ltd said: “This investment is not just a financial milestone; it’s a vote of confidence in our vision to transform interventional cardiology diagnostics and patient care. Our roots as a UCL spinout, combined with the expertise and dedication of our team, place us in a unique position to bring the iKOr system to the forefront of medical technology.”

Echopoint’s iKOr platform, was developed by researchers Prof Adrien Desjardins and Dr Malcolm Finlay at UCL’s Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering Department, who were supported to create Echopoint as a spinout business in 2019 by UCL Business (UCLB), UCL’s commercialisation company.

UCLB Senior Business Manager, Physical Sciences and Engineering, Dr Weng Sie Wong said “This is a major and exciting milestone not just for Echopoint but for the millions of patients around the world who suffer from this condition. At UCLB we nurture world-changing technologies from lab to market to make a real difference for people – and I am thrilled to see this revolutionary diagnostic technology take its next big step forward.”

Echopoint successfully completed clinical trials of iKOr at Bart’s Hospital London last year, which showed that the system successfully enhanced the precision, ease and reliability of coronary flow assessments.

The Series A funding will support Echopoint Medical Ltd to take the iKOr technology through the FDA’s stringent approval process, bringing them closer to introducing the technology to healthcare providers and patients in the US.

The funding round was supported by current investors, including Parkwalk Advisors and the UCL Technology Fund (UCLTF) which is managed by AlbionVC.

UCLB also played a crucial role in supporting and investing into this round. Echopoint Medical was one of the first spinouts to be supported by the UCLB Seed Fund established in 2023. The UCLB Seed Fund can make investments of up to £250k to support the development of businesses which don’t always fit the traditional venture capital investment model.