Edinburgh start-up secures £4m funding

Published: 01 September 2014

An Edinburgh start-up that specialises in speeding up the diagnosis of lung disease has secured £4m venture capital funding. Ian Wilson, chief technology officer for Edinburgh Molecular Imaging, explains more…

Briefly tell us about Edinburgh Molecular Imaging?

Edinburgh Molecular Imaging is a spin-out from the University of Edinburgh that is going to develop molecular imaging agents to diagnose lung conditions optically. This basically involves adding fluorescent markers to targets that detect bacteria, early inflammation and cancers. These markers are then picked up by imaging equipment.

The company was founded by three academics from the University of Edinburgh with strong track records in translational medicine – Dr. Kev Dhaliwal and Professors Mark Bradley and Chris Haslett.

Why is what you do important?

A number of reasons. One is, people with lung inflammation and fibrosis (a lung condition that causes scarring of the lungs) often don’t know if the disease is still active. Having an agent that can measure this activity means the right treatment can be administered.

Infection is another important area. People in intensive care often end up with a lung infection, but it takes two days to diagnose because you have to send off a sample so that bacteria can be grown in the lab. Our technology could reduce diagnosis time from 48 hours to two hours or less, so people can be treated more quickly.

What funding did you recently secure and what will you use this for?

We secured £4m from the Scottish-based venture capital fund Epidarex Capital and the Scottish Investment Bank. We’ll use that funding to progress our work into early study programmes and clinical studies.

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What's your vision for the business? How does being in Edinburgh help you?

The vision is to continue working with the leading university – Edinburgh – and to develop cost-effective diagnostic agents for key medical conditions.

One of the advantages of the site here at Edinburgh BioQuarter is that it’s co-located next to a hospital where clinicians, researchers and industry are working side by side.

For any research and development to be successful it’s all about collaboration. You can’t do it alone and need to have strong partnerships with pharmaceutical companies and academic experts. Edinburgh is a hub for that kind of collaboration.

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