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London University Spin-out Company raises funding to develop Innovative Software for Clincial Trials

IXICO Ltd, a London University spin-out company that has developed innovative software to automate the analysis of digital clinical images used in drug discovery and development, has raised £930,000. The Capital Fund, a £50 million venture capital fund that invests in fast-growth companies in Greater London, provided £100,000, investing alongside high net worth investors who furnished £830,000. The deal marks The Capital Fund’s 40th investment since it was launched in 2002 and IXICO’s management team plans to use the new capital to fund its development programme and significantly grow the business.
Founded in 2004, IXICO provides state of the art image analysis solutions for
pre-clinical and clinical trials that are based on sophisticated computer algorithms devised by its four scientific founders. The company’s software can automatically analyse thousands of digital images, such as MRI, CT and PET scans collected during clinical trials, to provide pharmaceutical companies with fast, accurate results about the impact of potential new drug molecules on disease effects such as brain volume changes in dementia or bone degeneration in arthritis.

Professor Derek Hill, Chief Executive Officer of IXICO Ltd, said: “The current approaches to medical image analysis in clinical trials rely on highly-skilled radiologists and technicians ‘reading’ and painstakingly comparing images that are often acquired at different centres and different points in time. This process is expensive, time consuming and subject to error.

Our service is completely automated and uses sensitive and reproducible algorithms to quantify changes in the patient over time and hence assess the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of a treatment during trials. It can also compensate for the misplacement or movement of a patient in the scanner, compare images taken at different points in time and provide a full audit trial of the analysis process. As our service is scaleable, it can be used to analyse thousands of images in very early drug tests or in late phase trials. The end result for patients is the faster development of new, more effective treatments for painful or life threatening conditions.”

IXICO’s service has been shown to be effective in a wide variety of medical applications though the company’s initial focus is on developing its services to assess the impact of new drugs for rheumatoid arthritis, dementia and oncology. Clients include a number of major pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, for whom IXICO designs bespoke services, and the company is in advanced negotiations with additional prospective customers.

Professor Hill said: “A key feature of our technology is that the image analysis workflows in the programmes can be easily reconfigured to suit the specific requirements of different pharmaceutical companies. And we have designed our technology platform so that their staff can access the analysis results from computers in a variety of locations via a secure web portal.”

This is IXICO’s first institutional fundraising round and follows its recent success in securing a prestigious £140,000 DTI Grant for Research & Development through the London Development Agency.

Professor Hill commented on the fundraising process: “We are delighted with the success of this funding round. We spoke to several funds but were happy to work with The Capital Fund as they were prepared to share the risk with us and our angel investors by providing vital capital on straightforward terms. They have also helped us to introduce key disciplines that will be particularly useful as we grow the business.”

The Capital Fund’s Investment Manager, Helen Reynolds, said: “IXICO has created a truly innovative technology that has the potential for use across a wide range of medical applications. We were impressed by the quality of the research behind the company’s service and the calibre of the management team, especially Derek Hill, who combine substantial experience of the healthcare industry with significant image analysis acquisition know-how. We wish Derek Hill and his team every success with their future plans.”

Margaret Henry | alfa
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