University spin-out secures £1.2m for new test for brain cancer

ClinSpec team l-r Dr David Palmer, Dr Holly Butler, Dr Matthew J Baker, Dr Mark Hegarty
ClinSpec team l-r Dr David Palmer, Dr Holly Butler, Dr Matthew J Baker, Dr Mark Hegarty

A Glasgow spin-out which is pioneering a new test to detect brain cancer and other forms of cancer has secured a £1.2m investment in a syndicated round including Mercia Fund Managers, the Scottish Investment Bank’s Co-Investment Fund and EOS Technology Partners which led the transaction.

ClinSpec Diagnostics’s revolutionary blood test can provide accurate results in just ten minutes and could potentially improve brain cancer survival rates through earlier detection. The technology, which uses infra-red light and incorporates machine learning, is based on the world-leading research of Dr Matthew J. Baker at the University of Strathclyde.

The investment is in addition to funding secured from an Innovate UK grant and Scottish Edge Higgs Award, bringing the total to over £1.6million. It will allow the company to create seven jobs, further develop its brain cancer test and start work on a new test for prostate and pancreatic cancer.

Established in 2016, ClinSpec is now led by CEO Dr Mark Hegarty. The company has already demonstrated the potential of the brain cancer test through a clinical study at Edinburgh’s Western Infirmary. The technology also has much wider applications beyond medicine and can be used to improve testing in the food, drug and oil industries.

Nicola Broughton, Investment Director and Head of Universities at Mercia, said: “I’m delighted to have completed this first investment into a Strathclyde University spin-out, alongside the Precision Medicine Investment Accelerator through Innovate UK. This investment shows our commitment to investing in world-class research from the region and follows Mercia’s recent expansion in Scotland and the appointment of Investment Director Marcus Henderson who I worked with on this transaction.”

Kerry Sharp, Head of the Scottish Investment Bank, added: “This investment builds on the wider support that we provided through our High Growth Spinout Programme to aid the formation of the company. We’re excited about partnering with Mercia Fund Managers, EOS and University of Strathclyde to drive the next stage of the company’s development.”

Andrew McNeill, Partner at EOS Advisory, said: “EOS is delighted to have led this investment into ClinSpec alongside our partners at Mercia and the Scottish Investment Bank. What is really exciting about ClinSpec is that their diagnostic technology has the potential to address a wide range of diseases, backed up by a strong IP portfolio.”

Olga Kozlova, Director of Innovation and Industry Engagement at the University of Strathclyde, said: “The University of Strathclyde is delighted with the progress that ClinSpec has achieved over the last few years Commercialisation of the University’s technology is a key priority for the university and with the launch of Glasgow City Innovation District earlier this year we are committed to growing this area of activity”.

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