Oxford, UK – 17 January 2014 OxSonics Limited (“OxSonics”), a University of Oxford spin-out company developing a new generation of ultrasound-based medical devices, closes a series A equity financing of £2.7million.
OxSonics was established in July 2013 to develop and commercialise a range of medical devices including “SonoTran”, an innovative drug delivery platform. SonoTran has the capability to overcome one of the greatest challenges facing solid tumour cancer therapy by delivering drugs throughout tumour volumes including to those areas that lie farthest from blood vessels. SonoTran not only has the potential to be applied to any oncological drug class, but also crucially provides on-screen feedback to the clinician as to where and when drug delivery has taken place, in doing so maximizing the potential of complete tumour coverage.
Lead researcher and OxSonics co-founder Professor Constantin Coussios, of Oxford’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering, said: 'What we discovered is that tiny bubbles can be triggered by ultrasound at the nanoscale to cause a wide range of therapeutic effects including improved drug delivery in tumours. These bubbles can be used not only as promoters but also as markers of treatment.
'Ultrasound is best known for its diagnostic capabilities. For drug delivery, we will be using similar power settings to those used for conventional imaging applications.'
In a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, OxSonics co-founders Professor Coussios, Dr Christian Coviello and Dr Robert Carlisle and their team showed that ultrasound can create tiny bubbles which ramp up the attack on tumours.
'A particular type of ultrasound-induced bubble activity, known as inertial cavitation, was found to be key – as bubbles collapse, they agitate the fluid around them, pumping anti-cancer drugs deeper into the tumours than ever previously reported' said Professor Coussios.
Compared to drug treatment without ultrasound, the team found that cavitation-enhanced delivery significantly hindered tumour growth and increased the survival rates of the mice being studied.
'Ultrasound can dramatically enhance delivery of drugs, particularly for next-generation therapeutics such as immune therapies or virotherapies,' said Professor Coussios. 'This focuses drug treatment at the site of the tumour, potentially reducing or avoiding damage to other parts of the body, a hazard associated with the use of chemotherapy drugs.'
Dr Colin Story, CEO of OxSonics said: 'Metastatic liver cancer is one of the first clinical needs we will seek to address. Every year there are around 2.1 million new cases of this cancer type across Europe and the United States combined. Unfortunately, only 5 to 10 per cent of these patients can be treated surgically by removing the tumours. In the vast majority of the remainder, the illness is terminal.
'OxSonics technology has the capability to deliver drugs to the whole tumour, rather than a small portion of it. Our mission is to provide significantly increased median survival or even curative therapy to as many of these patients who currently face a terminal illness.
‘We are delighted to have concluded this financing round and to have a syndicate led by a highly experienced life science investor, Longwall Venture Partners. The funds raised will now be invested in taking SonoTran into clinical trials.’
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About OxSonics Limited
OxSonics was established in July 2013 to develop and commercialise ground-breaking advancements in the field of therapeutic ultrasound invented at the University of Oxford’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering. OxSonics “SonoTran” drug delivery platform has the capability to overcome one of the greatest challenges facing solid tumour cancer therapy by delivering drugs throughout tumours, including to the areas that lie furthest from blood vessels. SonoTran can be applied to any cancer drug. A major benefit of OxSonics’ technology is the ability to provide real-time on-screen feedback to the clinician as to where and when drug delivery is taking place. OxSonics is based in Oxford, UK. For more information please visit: www.oxsonics.com.