Micrima, the Bristol-based breast imaging company and developer of a ground-breaking and CE Mark approved radiowave breast imaging system, has successfully closed on a new financing round of £2.6m. The new funding will support accelerated development of its patented MARIA technology, which aims to enable breast screening to become safer, more comfortable and more accessible to a larger proportion of the global female population. The company intends to start the commercialisation of its first system towards the end of this year.
“Breast cancer is the most common cause of death in women between the ages of 35 and 55 in Europe and the leading cause of death for women in many countries. The problem is that many tumours are not discovered early enough, largely due to the difficulty in discriminating between cancers and dense tissue using current imaging technology,” said Roy Johnson, Micrima’s Executive Chairman. “Using harmless radiowaves, the MARIA imaging system is capable of detecting tumours in dense tissue and allows routine and repeated scanning without any of the safety or comfort concerns associated with x-ray mammography. The process takes less than five minutes and avoids painful breast compression.”
Almost half of the new funds has come from pre-existing institutional and individual investors with the majority of the balance from new high net worth individuals; 50% of the latter through the Venture Founders platform. Re-investing shareholders include Technology Venture Partners LLP, based at the Innovation Centre at Bristol & Bath Science Park, Swarraton Partners, a UK venture capital firm investing in European early stage technology companies and the British Business Bank supported Angel CoFund. The company welcomes the Parkwalk managed University of Bristol Enterprise Fund as a new investor.
The funding comes at an exciting period of significant progress for Micrima with the first clinical data from MARIA presented at the European Congress of Radiology in Vienna earlier this year to a very positive reception. The latest results from current multi-site clinical trials were presented at Symposium Mammographicum in Liverpool in July where, from over 90 papers accepted, Micrima’s was one of only four to receive an award from the organising committee. A paper reporting the pre-CE Mark clinical trial has also been accepted for publication by the prestigious Journal of Medical Imaging.
Regarding the European Congress of Radiology presentation, Dr Mike Shere of the Bristol Breast Care Centre commented, “I was delighted to be able to present the latest sensitivity figures in Vienna. The presentation on MARIA was very well received, with the chair of the breast imaging session singling the work out and commenting on how he expected to see more about this very promising new modality over the coming years.”
Micrima also continues to make excellent progress on the next version of the MARIA system, due to be released early next year, which will offer significantly enhanced functionality, including the ability to automatically distinguish between different types of lesion, providing a significant advantage over current methods for its future screening applications.
Tim Mills, Investment Director at the Angel CoFund commented: “We originally invested in Micrima because we knew we’d found an extremely capable team working with some very interesting technology in a sector with considerable opportunity for innovation. The team has really delivered on our expectation in the last couple of years and we’re very happy to be supporting them again through this next phase of development.”
The MARIA radiowave breast imaging technology was initially pioneered at the University of Bristol in the UK. It received European regulatory approval in 2015 and is currently deployed in clinical trials based at several breast cancer imaging centres throughout the UK. For more information, please visit: http://www.micrima.com/