Spin-out secures private finance for tumour surgery innovation

Medical robot of x-ray machines hospital computer

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A spin-out from Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has had support from Innovate UK EDGE to pioneer a new procedure for destroying tumours without the need for invasive surgery.

 

Since its inception in 2015, Ablatus Therapeutics Ltd has been developing a novel technique for the treatment of tumours called bimodal electric tissue ablation (BETA). It uses electrical energy to destroy cancerous tissue, meaning that surgical removal is not needed.

 

BETA offers the potential for more clinical options for cancer treatment, along with improved patient outcomes, and also the possibility of treating tumours not suited to currently available techniques.

 

Innovate UK EDGE innovation and growth specialist Emma Douglas-Beet worked with Ablatus on the investment proposition before making introductions to funds and angel groups.

 

Some of these helped Ablatus find the £500,000 match funding it needed to secure an Innovate UK Smart Grant of £1.42 million. Fundraising activity continues alongside ongoing product development.

 

£500,000 finance target achieved

 

The funds were required for final pre-clinical testing and to create a pre-commercialisation product suitable for first-in-human use, to support CE marking.

 

Emma’s background in preparing companies for equity fundraising was particularly valuable in this case. 

 

She said: "We started working together to get the ‘offer’ as clear as possible before then going out to raise the finance needed, around £500,000."  

 

"Despite a history of successful fundraising, this was different owing to the tight timescales they faced. Brexit was creating uncertainty in the investor community and Covid-19 was just breaking too."

 

Equity investors

 

“Fortunately, the prospect of receiving such a large sum from Innovate UK helped limit the risk significantly and Ablatus achieved its target through various funds and equity investors.”  

    

The company has been certified to ISO 13485:2016, a global standard in quality management systems for medical devices and which underpins policies and processes across the business.

 

Dr Natalie Hayes, CEO and Chief Medical Officer, said: “It has been enormously helpful for us to have had support from Innovate UK EDGE through Emma, both in terms of connecting us with potential investors and also with regard to fine-tuning our pitch deck, presentation materials and communication when going out to fundraise.”

It has been enormously helpful for us to have had support from Innovate UK EDGE ... in terms of connecting us with potential investors."

Dr Natalie Hayes, CEO and Chief Medical Officer, Ablatus Therapeutics Ltd.