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University of Nottingham generates £1.5m from the sale of Oncimmune shares

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.
Dr Andrew Naylor, CEO of Nottingham Technology Ventures

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.

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Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. 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. Ranked 103rd out of more than 1,000 institutions globally and 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2022, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 Sports University of the Year. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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