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Michelson Diagnostics raises fresh funds

15 Mar 2012

Investment of £607k will support activity in US and Europe, as VivoSight OCT scanner attracts clinical interest.

Michelson Diagnostics, the UK-based developer of an OCT scanner targeted at treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer, has announced a further round of investment.

The company has raised £607,000 from shareholders Octopus Investments and Catapult Venture Managers and individual investors, especially London Business Angels. The new funds are an extension to the £1.9 million in funding that the company closed in October 2011, and will be used to expand the company's sales and support functions in the US and Europe.

This ramping of activity is centered on the company's VivoSight scanner, an optical coherence tomography (OCT) platform intended for the non-invasive diagnosis and treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer. VivoSight has recently entered commercial service at dermatology clinics in the US and Germany, according to its developers.

"We are seeing a rapidly growing belief from dermatologists in the clinical utility of VivoSight OCT images of skin cancers and other lesion types, and a small but growing installed base of scanners in clinics used on a routine commercial basis," commented Michelson Diagnostics CEO Jon Holmes. "Production of new scanners has already doubled since mid-2011 and looks set to increase further."

VivoSight is a hand-held multi-beam OCT device, employing four laser beams which are scanned together but focused at different depths in the tissue. The resulting scans can then be turned into a composite mosaic image. The use of multiple beams allows a higher resolution to be achieved than is possible from a single beam, and can do so without severe loss of depth of focus.

According to Holmes, speaking previously to optics.org, the VivoSight is designed to capture images to a depth of up to 2 mm over a 5 mm square region, without needing any form of gel or optical coupling fluid. For a 1 mm imaging depth, the system is said to achieve an image resolution of less than 10 µm axially in tissue and less than 7.5 µm laterally.

The addressable market for VivoSight could be substantial. Non-melanoma skin cancers are among the most common forms of the disease seen in the US; 2010 figures estimated that more than 3 million new cases occurred per year. In the UK, the National Health Service estimated that the disease soaked up at least £100 million of its funds annually.

Michelson Diagnostics has operated a US subsidiary since July 2011, when it created Michelson Diagnostics Inc. in Massachusetts, in order to ease the path into the substantial US market for diagnosis of these particular cancers.

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