Belfast ovarian cancer medtech secures £300k funding

  • Ovarian cancer diagnostic company, GenoME Diagnostics has secured £300,000 following a successful seed funding round. 

    This funding will help the Queen's University Belfast spin-out in developing novel blood tests for the earlier and more accurate diagnosis of ovarian cancer, using technology to reduce misdiagnosis and late diagnosis of the disease.

    The medtech company was created as a result of almost a decade of research by Dr Paul Mullan, Dr James Beirne and Dr Laura Feeney at the Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research (PGJCCR) at Queen’s.

    Dr Shannon Beattie joined the team and was selected to participate in the Innovate UK ‘Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe) programme’ in 2019.

    This led to a successful application for Innovate UK funding and the formation of the company. In 2020 the company was crowned the All Ireland Best New Start Company in the Intertrade Ireland Seedcorn competition.

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    Dr Beattie commented, “Our work benefits women who are at risk of developing ovarian cancer, or who present with possible symptoms. Early diagnosis can ultimately save lives, as well as reduce cost pressures for healthcare providers. We also aim to benefit clinical trial providers and drug developers, by developing accurate and cost-effective companion diagnostics, to better stratify patients and increase their chance of response to novel therapies.”

    Co-Founder, Dr Paul Mullan added: “Ovarian cancer is often dubbed ‘the silent killer’ due to the non-specific symptoms of this disease and the sub-optimal diagnostic tests. It is often only diagnosed in the later stages of the disease when it has already spread, with around 75% of women diagnosed in the later stages of disease. Earlier diagnosis of ovarian cancers could potentially dramatically increase patient survival, by catching tumours when they are small and less likely to have spread, or have developed resistance to chemotherapy.”

    The initial funding round was supported by QUBIS, the commercialisation arm of Queen’s University, Deepbridge Capital and Co-Fund NI which is part of Invest Northern Ireland’s Access to Finance portfolio.

    Anne Dornan, Enterprise Network Manager at QUBIS, said: ‘GenoME Diagnostics builds on 10 years of research at Queen’s and the team has made great progress on their commercialisation journey. GenoME has the potential to improve outcomes for women at risk of developing ovarian cancer across the globe, QUBIS along with the other funders involved, look forward to supporting the company through its early-stage development, and wish the team every success for the future."

    RELATED: QUB ranked #1 UK university for creating successful spin-out companies

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