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YFM Group & Swarraton Partners co-lead £2 million investment in Micrima


Press Release 22.04.08

Bristol-based Micrima, which is developing radio wave technology to improve detection of breast cancer, has secured £2 million of investment from a syndicate of co-investors led by YFM Group and Swarraton Partners. Existing investor NESTA also participated in the funding round. The YFM Group investment was made from the South West Ventures Fund and Finance South West Growth Fund.

Micrima, a spin-out from the University of Bristol, is developing a breast imaging system that captures high-resolution, 3D images through the use of harmless radio waves. The system is called MARIA - Multistatic Array processing for Radiowave Image Acquisition.

Breast cancer is the most common cause of death for women aged between 35 and 59 in the EU1. For various reasons the under-50s are not routinely screened. Micrima’s technology has the potential to offer several advantages over existing primary screening technology, which encounters difficulties in imaging the dense tissue associated with this younger age group. MARIA promises to provide better images in such tissue, and is also relatively inexpensive, intrinsically safe, and comfortable for the patient.

The implications of this safe new technology are far-reaching, particularly as the compact size and low cost of the MARIA system will make it ideal for use in numerous alternative locations such as GP surgeries, diagnostic centres and mobile screening units.

Initial blind trials with volunteers have shown MARIA to compare very well with current X-ray technology, correctly identifying all participants with anomalies and ’clearing’ all healthy volunteers.

The initial investment will fund on-going technical development and further clinical trials at the Frenchay Hospital’s Breast Clinic in Bristol. Clinical work will then be extended to include women from other leading centres around the UK.

Roy Johnson, Executive Chairman of Micrima, said: 'The new 3D breast screening platform under development aims to be safer, more convenient, and more economically viable in a greater number of countries, in addition to providing a practical solution to screening women below the age of 50. We are very pleased that, following our successful pilot clinical study, we have been able to attract this new funding from such a valued and committed group of investors.

'We are looking forward to generating data from the larger clinical trial that is now required to further prove the technology and its inherent benefits.”

Nick Simmonds, Investment Manager at YFM Group, manager of the South West Ventures Fund, said: “This exciting new technology has the potential to fundamentally change the way in which breast screening is provided, as well as opening up the service for the first time to younger women.”

Stephen Brooke of Swarraton said: “We are excited to be backing the Micrima team and a technology that has shown great promise to date and has the potential to reduce suffering from breast cancer across the world.”

ENDS

1. European Commission Eurostat


NOTES TO EDITORS:

YFM Group - South West Ventures Fund ]

The YFM Group managed South West Ventures Fund is a £21m fund that has been set up to provide venture capital to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) based in the South West of England. Initial investment can be up to £330,000 with an ability to invest a further £330,000 after six months. In certain circumstances, alongside other new investors, the Fund can follow on its investments to provide a total of £2.5 million to one company. To date the fund has invested £9.5m in 29 companies.

YFM Group – is the UK’s most active investor in the small and medium enterprise marketplace. YFM Group manages in excess of £300 million of funds with investment sizes ranging from £50,000 to £5 million. Principal offices are located in Leeds, Manchester, London and Bristol with over 45 investment professionals being employed across the UK.

South


Publisher Contact Information:

Montage Communications
+44 845 644 5404
hannah@montagecomms.com

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