07 Feb 2023
'Liquid biopsy' technique aimed at early-stage cancer diagnosis via algorithmic analysis of infrared spectra.
Dxcover, the UK startup company developing an infrared spectroscopy platform for early-stage cancer diagnosis, says it has raised close to £10 million in a combination of new venture finance and grant funding.
The Glasgow-based firm, a 2019 spin-out from the University of Strathclyde originally called ClinSpec Diagnostics, has attracted £7.5 million in series A finance from existing UK investors Eos Advisory, Mercia Asset Management, Scottish Enterprise, the University of Strathclyde, SIS Ventures, and Norcliffe Capital.
They have now been joined by Boston, US, life science investor Mark Bamforth from Thairm Bio. Dxcover has also received a grant worth £2.2 million from the European Innovation Council.
The novel liquid biopsy platform developed by Dxcover uses artificial intelligence algorithms to analyze the infrared spectra of patient blood samples and detect the presence or absence of cancer-indicating biomarkers.
Having initially showed that the technology was able to detect signs of brain tumors, the company has since expanded its effort to eight different types of cancers.
In a 2021 article published in the journal Brain Communications the Dxcover team reported encouraging results after analyzing the blood of 385 patients either recently diagnosed with a brain tumor or suspected of having one.
That study showed particularly good results with gliobastomas - the most common kind of brain tumor and also the most aggressive - with Dxcover writing: “There is a clear clinical utility for this spectroscopic liquid biopsy.”
More recent work to identify pancreatic cancer, one of the most difficult forms of the disease to diagnose at an early and more treatable stage, concluded that the same technique had “exceptional potential” for clinical diagnosis.
Company CEO Mark Hegarty said of the latest financial support: “This is a very significant funding milestone in our mission to detect cancer early and improve survival and quality of life for patients.
“Having demonstrated our multi-cancer capability, we can now focus on building the pipeline of organ-specific tests, beginning with a multi-center study for CE IVDR [European diagnostic regulatory] marking of the Dxcover Brain Cancer test.
“We will also expand our data on colorectal cancer, one of the leading causes of death worldwide, and continue our work on collaborative projects.”
Julian Dennard, head of EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) funds at UK-based venture backer Mercia, added: “Dxcover analyses tumor signals and non-tumor signals that genetic tests cannot detect.
“We are excited about the recent results, which show its ability to detect multiple cancers at the earliest stage, when more lives can be saved. The investment will build on the traction created by that study and aims to make Dxcover a leader in the fast-growing market for cancer diagnostics.”