Owlstone Medical adds another $11.6M to the kitty

ReCIVA breathalyzer device
The ReCIVA breathalyzer uses high-speed gas phase ion separation to detect disease-specific volatile organic compounds in breath to enable noninvasive "breath biopsy." Image: Owlstone Medical

Owlstone Medical, which is developing breathalyzer technology for the diagnosis of disease, picked up £9.3 million ($11.55 million) that it will use to fund clinical trials and the commercial launch of its breath biomarker R&D service.

Cambridge, U.K.-based Owlstone Medical earned a CE mark in October for the pediatric version of its ReCIVA disease breathalyzer. Based on its Field Asymmetric Ion Mobility Spectrometry (FAIMS) technology, the device uses high-speed gas phase ion separation to detect disease-specific volatile organic compounds in breath. This “breath biopsy” enables the noninvasive diagnosis of disease at an early state, potentially improving patient outcomes, the company said.

Launching Owlstone’s breath biomarker R&D service will involve opening a new high-volume clinical site. The company will also put the funding toward ongoing clinical trials of its device in the diagnosis of colon and lung cancer, according to a statement.

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“We’ve made fantastic progress in our LuCID lung cancer trial, which will recruit up to 3,000 patients across 21 sites in the UK and Europe, making it the world’s largest breath-based study ever undertaken for early cancer detection,” said Owlstone Medical CEO Billy Boyle, in the statement. “The commercial launch of our R&D services will, for the first time, allow clinical and pharma partners to easily identify breath biomarkers for novel diagnostics and precision medicine applications.”

Owlstone Medical secured an NHS contract in February last year to develop its breathalyzer to help match asthma patients to the most appropriate treatments. The company then spun out of Owlstone Inc. in June with a $7 million investment.

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