Monday, 15 June 2020
Spin-out company continues to develop world-leading expertise in early cancer detection
The University has realised more than £1.5m from the sale of shares in Oncimmune Holdings plc, which was founded in 2002 as a spin-out to commercialise a blood test for the early detection of cancer pioneered by experts at Nottingham.
The sale of shares by the University – in line with its policy to release investment in spin-outs to fund education and further world-class innovation at Nottingham - brings the total realised from Oncimmune to more than £7m.
Dr Andrew Naylor, CEO of Nottingham Technology Ventures, which manages the University’s spin-out portfolio, said: “It is immensely gratifying to see a spin-out company continue to develop and commercialise technology to save lives, benefit society and generate real impact.
“Oncimmune has delivered a significant return on investment for the University and is an excellent example of how spin-out companies can flourish with good financial and commercial support."
Dynamic life sciences companies and research institutions have a vital role in securing a high-skill economy, as well helping power recovery and growth after the coronavirus.
Oncimmune launched its platform diagnostic technology in 2009, followed by its first commercial tests of EarlyCDT Lung and EarlyCDT Liver.The key to improving cancer survival is early detection and better selection for therapy and Oncimmune's immunodiagnostic tests can detect and help identify cancer on average four years earlier than standard clinical diagnosis.
The blood test is based on pioneering research into the body’s immune response to cancer carried out over the last 23 years by Professor John Robertson who is Professor of Surgery and Director of the Centre of Excellence for Autoimmunity in Cancer (CEAC) at the University of Nottingham and former Chief Scientific Officer of Oncimmune Ltd.
To date, over 200,000 tests have been performed for patients worldwide. EarlyCDT Lung, pioneered by a team from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, is also used in what is believed to be the largest randomised controlled trial for the early detection of lung cancer using biomarkers, the successful NHS Early detection of Cancer of the Lung Scotland (ECLS) trial of 12,209 high-risk smokers. This trial demonstrated that EarlyCDT Lung reduced the incidence of patients with late-stage lung cancer or unclassified presentation at diagnosis, compared to standard clinical practice.
Over the years the work has drawn on the research expertise of a number of other colleagues at the University, including immunologist Emeritus Professor Herb Sewell, Nottingham's former Pro Vice Chancellor for Research, and Professors Denise Kendrick & Kavita Vedhara in the Division of Primary Care, who have lead the evaluation of psychological and behavioural outcomes in the clinical ECLS study.
The University's equity in Oncimmune was acquired through an initial shareholding at formation of the spin-out. The University continued to support the company with further investment prior to a listing on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange in May 2016.
The University retains an interest in Oncimmune, which is part of a 22-strong portfolio of spin-outs.
Nottingham Technology Ventures has helped generated multi-million pound exits from the University’s spin-out portfolio in three of the last four financial years. In 2018, Nottingham was ranked second among UK research institutions for the amount generated from the sale of shares in spin-outs, delivering more than £11.5m, and the University is regarded as among the best in the UK for sharing knowledge.
Notes to editors:
The University of Nottingham
Ranked 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2023, University of Nottingham is a founding member of Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.
The University is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.The University is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.
We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.