Breast cancer is the most common cause of death in women between the ages of 35 and 55 in Europe.Screening is therefore of paramount importance to catch the disease early and drastically increase the rates of survival.
Due to the harmful ionising nature of the radiation, X-ray mammograms (XRM) are not routinely used on younger women, and screening frequency has to be necessarily limited. At present in the UK, eligible women below the age of 50 are not scanned routinely due to this radiation exposure risk, as well as cost, detection capability and incidence rates.
Micrima aims to solve this problem and bring about significant improvements in breast cancer detection through its proprietary imaging technology which uses harmless radio waves, thereby enabling screening to become safer, more comfortable, more accessible and more economically viable. Its MARIA technology produces a high-contrast 3D image of the breast and has already been shown through clinical trials to be particularly effective at detecting cancers in younger, pre-menopausal women with dense breast tissue.
A large and growing market is anticipated in hospitals, clinics, GP surgeries and an increasing number of ‘walk-in’ care centres around the world. This will potentially extend not only to specific healthcare providers, but also other outlets, such as pharmacies and supermarkets.
The product received its European regulatory approval in 2015 and is currently boosting its clinical database via trials in Bristol, Cheltenham and Swindon. Ongoing technical and clinical development will prepare the company for a controlled market entry in 2016.
Each year over 100 million women are screened worldwide, resulting in over 250 million images being produced and interpreted. The manufacture and distribution of breast cancer screening equipment is currently dominated by the major XRM equipment companies – Hologic, Siemens and GE – who continue to develop XRM and Ultrasound but are unlikely to develop a new imaging modality themselves. Micrima is the only group in the world to have achieved such high quality human images through a radio wave approach, and to have been assessed, by significant players in the global imaging market, as being 3 to 4 years ahead of any other group.
Over the next 12-18 months the company will commence the commercialisation phase through a combination of direct selling and national/regional distributors, en-route to concluding strategic commercial partnerships with the larger players.
Micrima has already received substantial backing to date, with over £5.5m invested (through equity and grants) by industry experts and business angels, including the Angel CoFund.
The company is now raising £2 million in this EIS eligible round at a pre-money valuation of £10 million, which is being supported by existing shareholders, and will use the proceeds of this fundraising to commence commercialisation and develop further functionality. The company has already has strong backing in this financing and will take investment up to an upper target of £3 million.
VentureFounders is supporting this round with an incremental raise of £250,000. The minimum raise amount has already been surpassed and therefore any commitments from VentureFounders investors to the transaction will be funded at closing, expected to occur in Q1 2016.