Owlstone Medical raises £11m for Breath Biopsy platform

Charlotte Edwards 6 March 2018 (Last Updated March 6th, 2018 17:02)

Owlstone Medical, a diagnostics company developing a breathalyser for disease, has raised £11m to drive the commercialisation of its Breath Biopsy platform.

Owlstone Medical raises £11m for Breath Biopsy platform
Exhaled breath contains over 1,000 volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Accessible by the completely non-invasive Breath Biopsy platform, these VOCs can be used as disease biomarkers. Credit: Owlstone Medical

Owlstone Medical, a diagnostics company developing a breathalyser for disease, has raised £11m to drive the commercialisation of its Breath Biopsy platform.

The funding round was co-led by new investor Horizons Ventures and existing investor Aviva. It also includes follow-on investment from Owlstone Medical’s existing backers. The funds will enable the company to bring its lung cancer Breath Biopsy test to market, deepen the early detection pipeline with ongoing trials across multiple cancers and further grow its existing precision medicine services to the pharmaceutical industry.

Billy Boyle, co-founder and CEO at Owlstone Medical, said: “We are delighted that Horizons Ventures has joined forces with Aviva to co-lead this funding round. Since founding the company, we have established Breath Biopsy as a new industry category and are confident that this funding will allow us to demonstrate the significant value that we can deliver from our market leading position in early detection and precision medicine.”

Owlstone Medical claims that its Breath Biopsy platform has the potential to revolutionise early detection and precision medicine, with applications in cancer and a wide range of other conditions. The technology allows for diseases to be detected earlier, when treatments are more effective. It can also be used to enable precise administration of medicine, ensuring that the right drug is given to the right patient at the right time, which helps to improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.

Horizons Ventures’ Patrick Zhang said: “We are pleased to join Aviva Ventures and other key strategic investors in this financing round. We believe Owlstone Medical is positioned to become a strong player in the fields of early cancer detection and precision medicine across multiple therapeutic areas. We are confident that Owlstone Medical’s Breath Biopsy platform could have a major impact on healthcare.”

The Breath Biopsy platform is currently being evaluated in the world’s largest breath-based clinical trials for two of the most common cancer killers globally – lung and colorectal cancer. The platform is also being used in the PAN cancer trial, a collaboration with Cancer Research UK that is studying the early detection of eight different cancer types in breath.

The company’s Breath Biopsy service enables academic, clinical and pharmaceutical partners to explore breath-based diagnostics or biomarkers to optimise their own precision medicine activities. It is attracting high-profile global pharmaceutical clients, with GlaxoSmithKline recently choosing to integrate the platform into the clinical development programme of one of the novel drug candidates in its respiratory disease pipeline.