MARCH 9, 2009--Two developers of imaging technologies--NanoSight Ltd. (Amesbury, UK ) and Michelson Diagnostics(Kent, UK)--say that despite the economic downturn, they have raised investment money that will fuel their growth. Michelson produces optical coherence tomography (OCT) devices, while NanoSight supplies a family of instruments for visualizing nanoscale structures and determining nanoparticlesizes.
Shackleton reinvests in NanoSight Ltd.
NanoSightis a portfolio company of Shackleton Ventures Limited, which completed a follow-on investment in NanoSight with the purchase of a significant shareholding--for an undisclosed amount--from the National Endowment for Science, Technology & Arts (NESTA), the largest single endowment in the UK exclusively devoted to innovation.
NanoSight sells its visualization/characterization instruments to companies and universities developing nanomaterials such as viruses and pharmaceuticals, using direct sales in the UK and distributors elsewhere, and has more than 150 users worldwide.
Shackleton first invested in NanoSight a year ago and the company was one of the early investments from its second fund, the Shackleton Secondaries II Limited Partnership (SSIILP). NanoSight has performed strongly since that investment, according to Shackleton: Sales increased more than 70% in 2008, and it recently completed a £1m funding round.
"Activity in the nanotechnology market continues to accelerate across a variety of applications, particularly in healthcare," said Hugh Stewart, managing partner of Shackleton.
Michelson Diagnostics Ltd attracts ~$.5 million
Meanwhile, Michelson Diagnostics Ltd (MDL) has successfully raised just over GPB 350K through a consortium of investors from the London Business Angels (LBA) network and from the management team. The money will be used to support multi-center clinical trials of MDL's new handheld multi-beam optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging probe, and will also aid international commercial growth.
"We received tremendous customer interest in our new 'VivoSight'multi-beam OCT probe, when we demonstrated the working prototype at the BiOS09 show (San Jose, CA) in January," said Michelson's CEO, Jon Holmes, "and sales of our EX1301 OCT Microscope have accelerated in the last two quarters". He added "We plan to launch VivoSight with UK clinical approvals in May/June this year, and I believe that we will post triple-digit sales growth in 2009."
MDL received early stage funding of £600k in October 2007, and a further £600k in July 2008, in rounds led by London Seed Capital Ltd with Catapult Venture Managers Ltd and the LBA. It has offices in Kent and the West Midlands and was founded in 2006 by Jon Holmes and four other ex-employees of Sira, the photonics instrumentation company.
According to MDL chairman John Knowles, "The management team has continued to achieve key milestones on time and on budget, and this has enabled a successful fundraising at a time when money is scarce and without loss of value for existing shareholders. We are now well placed to raise a much larger sum, timed to coincide with the economic recovery and results from clinical trials."
VivoSight claims better resolution than competing OCT systems, and MDL says it could revolutionize cancer diagnosis and treatment by enabling clinicians to see, in real- time, (and at far higher resolution than is possible with current ultrasound, MRI or CT imaging), the location and extent of a tumor, for a range of cancer types. Primary applications are expected to be skin and oral cancer, but many other cancers will be accessible via future variants of the probe, and there are also many other clinical and non-clinical applications for the technology, MDL says. The company has already conducted trials on excised human cancer tissue in the UK, Germany and the US, and will commence in vivo trials during 2009.