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Jamie Hardesty

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£2 million funding investment for Sunderland diagnostic company

Sunderland-based UroSens Ltd, a diagnostic company developing novel, non-invasive urine tests for the detection of prostate and bladder cancer, has announced it has received £2 million ($3.02 million) investment.

The funding round was led by Longwall Venture Partners, with participation from shareholders including Northstar Ventures, Esperante BV, Cambridge Capital Group and other existing shareholders.

The new funding will enable UroSens to expand its commercial and technical teams, finalise product development and begin to commercialise its diagnostic test, the UroSens Mcm5-ELISA, for prostate and bladder cancer.

Mcm5 (minichromosome maintenance complex component 5) is a protein which only appears when cells divide, and is an excellent marker for the presence of dividing cancer cells. The Company is also seeking to undertake further clinical trials in Europe and the United States to expand the applications of the Mcm5 test. In addition, UroSens will continue the development of a Point-of-Care version of the Mcm5 test.

With over 40,000 new cases of prostate cancer and 11,000 of bladder cancer each year in the UK, current diagnostic tests are unreliable, resulting in many unnecessary and invasive biopsies.

For both diseases, the UroSens Mcm5-ELISA diagnostic test is expected to significantly reduce the number of patients undergoing these invasive and costly procedures, because it offers significantly more accurate diagnostic results.

The new test is based on intellectual property licensed exclusively from Cancer Research Technology (CRT), the development and commercialisation arm of Cancer Research UK.

CEO at UroSens, Dr Ian Campbell, said: “This investment round will enable us to expand our team and bring our novel assay to the market, providing patients with a simple non-invasive test for both bladder and prostate cancer.

“We are especially pleased that Longwall have invested in this round, and are delighted to have the continued support of our existing investors, including Northstar Ventures and Esperante.”

David Denny of Longwall Venture Partners commented: “The clinical trial results evidence the diagnostic capability of the UroSens technology and the strength of the team. This is an exciting year as the Company develops and launches its first products and we are delighted to be involved and able to support.”

Investment Manager at Northstar Ventures, Alex Buchan, added: “This technology is really exciting because for the first time it is possible to detect the presence of cancers using urine samples rather than unpleasant, invasive methods.

“The speed and cost of the test makes screening a real possibility and there is tremendous potential for tests for other cancers as well.”

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