Belfast’s GenoMe raises £1.4m for its early cancer detection tech

6 Mar 2023

The GenoMe team. Image: GenoMe

The Queen’s University spin-out plans to file for EU regulatory approval for its novel blood test, along with plans to detect other cancers in future.

Belfast medtech GenoMe has raised £1.4m to complete the testing phase of its ovarian cancer detection technology.

The start-up, which spun out from Queen’s University Belfast in 2020, is developing a blood test for the earlier diagnosis of ovarian cancer. GenoMe also claims the test could be used to detect other cancers in the future.

The funding round was supported by Queen’s University through its commercialisation arm, QUBIS. Other participants included Deepbridge Capital and Co-Fund NI, which is managed by Clarendon Fund Managers.

In 2021, GenoMe raised £300,000 in a seed round to push its blood test – called OvaMe – through testing and regulatory milestones.

The spin-out has a new wave of plans with the latest funding round, as it aims to file for EU regulatory approval and expand its regulatory approach to the UK and North America.

GenoME said it also plans to expand its team with more scientists, along with sales and marketing staff as it moves closer to market entry.

The spin-out is built on more than a decade of research at the Patrick G Johnston Centre for Cancer Research by its founders Prof Paul Mullan, Dr James Beirne and Dr Laura Feeney.

GenoME CEO Dr Shannon Beattie said the company aims to improve patient survival and quality of life “through affordable and highly accurate tests”.

“This is a significant funding round for us and will help to further develop these life-changing products,” Beattie said.

Beattie said a large number of ovarian cancer cases are currently caught at the later stages of the disease, which leads to a poor survival rate among patients. The start-up aims to develop a blood test that can detect this cancer earlier and more accurately.

“Cancers detected at an earlier stage provide much more opportunity for intervention and improve patient survival,” Beattie said. “Milestones like these will be pivotal in opening conversations with public health bodies and allowing the team to progress our tests further to market.”

The funding round also includes an additional £500,000 InnovateUK Biomedical Catalyst grant for a project with Queen’s University. This project will be used to continue the development of a novel blood test that can detect additional types of cancer early.

“The pipeline we have used to develop our ovarian test can be applied to a wide range of diseases and applications, even beyond cancer,” said GenoMe chief business officer Chris Mosedale. “There is very strong evidence that our technology could be used to diagnose other cancers and illnesses.”

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic