Glasgow firm behind pioneering blood test to detect cancer secures seven-figure boost

A Glasgow-based developer of liquid biopsies for the early detection of cancer has reached its round two funding target by securing further investment of more than £1 million – as it eyes Series A funding in 2022.

From left: Dr David Palmer, Dr Holly Butler, Dr Matthew Baker and Dr Mark Hegarty. Picture: contributed.

ClinSpec Diagnostics (ClinSpec Dx) is behind a blood test using pioneering “drop, dry, detect” technology based on the research of Dr Matthew Baker, and uses infra-red light and artificial intelligence to provide results quickly, easily and economically.

The firm – a spinout from the University of Strathclyde – says its offering not only helps enable earlier diagnosis of cancer, but also has the potential to indicate the type and severity of the tumour.

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It has secured the new £1.1m investment from Norcliffe Capital, the University of Strathclyde, Fife-based investment firm Eos Advisory, and the firm’s founders to reach its goal of £3.5m.

ClinSpec Dx says its liquid biopsy means signals of cancer can be detected in minutes. Picture: contributed.

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It comes after the first tranche of the investment was secured in 2020 and led by Mercia’s EIS Funds with Scottish Enterprise, profit-with-purpose investor SIS Ventures, Eos Advisory and the University of Strathclyde.

ClinSpec Dx chief executive Mark Hegarty said: “Achieving the £3.5m target enables us to accelerate our plans. We will shortly complete our move into new lab and office facilities and increase staffing to 15, bringing forward key operational and commercial appointments.

“Our two clinical studies on detection of brain cancer have been successful and papers are in draft for publication over the next six months. This, plus the development of our multi-cancer platform covering the most common cancers, will form the bedrock for Series A investment in 2022, with the target of commercial launch in 2024.

“We are also delighted to have further strengthened our leadership team by the appointment of Professor David Onions of Norcliffe Capital to the board of directors.”

Prof David Onions, adviser to Norcliffe Capital, said: “The team at Norcliffe Capital are delighted to be supporting the next phase of development of Clinspec Dx. Early diagnosis of cancer is critical for effective treatment but can require complex and expensive procedures.

Revolutionary

“Clinspec Dx have developed a revolutionary, rapid, diagnostic system for cancer that only requires a drop of blood. We were very impressed by the results from the clinical studies on brain cancer and the clear strategy of the company; first in widening the range of cancers being examined and then moving to clinical application of the technology after the Series A funding round next year.”

ClinSpec Dx has raised £5.1m to date, including a first round of seed funding in 2019 led by Eos Advisory alongside Mercia’s EIS Funds and Scottish Enterprise, as well as grant funding from the Higgs EDGE Special Award, and from Innovate UK through the precision medicine accelerator fund.

The news of the business’ latest funding comes after Eos Advisory – whose team includes endurance cyclist and businessman Mark Beaumont – struck a partnership with US firm Kineticos Life Sciences, which it said will lead to some £10m being invested over the next five years in oncology-focused life sciences ventures founded in Scotland.

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