October 30, 2015 — A spinout from Oxford’s Department of Engineering Science has raised £1 million from a high net worth Chinese investor to develop an imaging technology which could help doctors detect cancers, particularly prostate and liver tumors. Early diagnosis of cancer has been shown to save lives, and the Oxford technology will allow for improved visualization of tumors for earlier detection.
The company, Oxford Enhanced Medical Limited (OxEML), has been set up with support from Isis Innovation, the university’s commercialization company, based on technology invented by Prof. David Edwards and Prof. Chris Stevens. The investor, Mr. Zhang, was a VP of Hisun-Pfizer Pharma, China. He played a key role in building the company to over 2,500 employees and revenues of $850M USD.
Edwards said: “At the moment many doctors have limited access to expensive MRI [magnetic resonance imaging] diagnostic technology. Our approach would enable them to potentially identify and therefore treat common cancers earlier by bringing a new imaging and tissue characterization technique to clinicians. Our aim with the OxEML technology is to improve patient care by providing clinicians with MRI-like information using more accessible, cheaper enhanced ultrasound instruments. This will allow earlier, cost-effective diagnosis, particularly for patients in remote areas without easy access to MRI services.
“The OxEML system uses electromagnetic and acoustic waves to create a new class of medical images at a cost comparable to ultrasound. For doctors, the enhanced images contain new information, which should enable clinicians to more easily distinguish between normal and cancerous tissue. We anticipate that this new technology will be considerably cheaper both in terms of capital cost and running costs compared with MRI,” said Edwards.
OxEML CEO Amol Karnick said: “The OxEML system can also be used by physicians to improve biopsy targeting, making testing and treatment shorter and more effective, and to monitor patients to determine whether treatment is working.”
OxEML will continue to work with its existing partner, Canada’s Centre for Imaging Technology Commercialization, to develop and test its ultrasound imaging technology.
OxEML holds patents which have been granted in several territories including the United States, China and Japan.
For more information: www.isis-innovation.com