Cash boost for stroke diagnostics and tissue expander

Published: 1-Oct-2014

£1.25m University of Oxford Isis Fund makes its first investments in healthcare technologies

The £1.25m University of Oxford Isis Fund has made its first investments in medical device spin-out Oxtex and in Brainomix, a start-up which is developing software to improve stroke diagnosis.

Brainomix is a pioneering a system that puts the expertise of the best stroke physicians into the hands of frontline medical staff.

The University of Oxford Isis Fund, set up by Parkwalk Advisors and Isis Innovation in February, joined an investor group led by Mark Jaffray of Chimera Partners and including Parkwalk Advisors, in a £1.2m funding round that Brainomix will use to further develop and launch the software for clinical use.

Brainomix chief executive, Dr Michalis Papadakis, said: “Currently up to half of the patients who should be treated for stroke are not because of difficulty in reading CT scan images accurately. We are developing the first imaging software that can automatically interpret CT scans of stroke patients. This enables hospitals to improve their existing treatment, leading to better outcomes for patients.

“This investment highlights the value of the Oxford University community and the Isis Innovation infrastructure, which will allow us to introduce our technology into clinical care, delivering real healthcare benefits.”

Jaffray added: “We are delighted to be partnering with Brainomix in order to deliver core healthcare technology that will target efficient outcomes and save stroke patient lives.”

Spun out by Isis in 2011, Oxtex has raised more than £1.4m in start-up funding and will receive £150,000 from the Isis Fund. This will be used to strengthen the company’s senior management, scale up the device manufacturing, and launch its first commercial product for the veterinary market.

Developed by surgeons at the John Radcliffe Hospital and scientists from the Department of Materials, the company’s tissue expander has applications in human reconstructive, dental and veterinary surgery.

Isis Innovation executive director, Linda Naylor, said: “This is a great start to what we are certain will be a speedy and successful investment round for the fund. We have a large group of investment-ready technologies which will benefit enormously from proof of concept and seed funding.” The University of Oxford Isis Fund raised £1.25m and allows private investors to make tax-efficient investments in a range of new Oxford technology companies. Parkwalk currently manages nine other Enterprise Investment Scheme funds.

Parkwalk’s Moray Wright said: "These first two deals show the University of Oxford Isis Fund is helping alumni and friends of the university facilitate the spin-out of ground-breaking new technologies from one of the world’s most-prestigious R&D-intensive universities.”

A second fund is planned once the current fund is fully invested.

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