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Owlstone Medical’s Series D funding round raises £42m

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Owlstone Medical, the leader in breath biopsy for applications in early disease detection and precision medicine, has closed its Series D financing round after raising £42m.

Billy Boyle, founder and CEO of Owlstone Medical
Billy Boyle, founder and CEO of Owlstone Medical

The new investment brings the total raised by the company founded by Billy Boyle in 2016 to more than £109m.

The round was led by returning investor Horizons Ventures, which now takes a seat on Owlstone Medical’s board, and was joined by other existing and high-profile – but unnamed – new investors from Asia, the Middle East and the US.

The funding will be used to advance and commercialise IVD (in vitro diagnostic) tests for the early detection of lung cancer, the diagnosis and staging of liver disease including NASH (non-alcohol related steatohepatitis), and respiratory disease including asthma and COPD.

The company is generating revenue by providing research products and services to leading pharmaceutical and academic organisations in the early detection field, as well as having a robust pipeline of research use only (RUO) panels (for surveying use).

Owlstone Medical breath biopsy Picture: Stephen Bond
Owlstone Medical breath biopsy Picture: Stephen Bond

Billy Boyle, who is also CEO of the Cambridge Science Park company, said: “Owlstone Medical continues to make tremendous progress, including major advancements in our breath biopsy platform such as the development of EVOC probes; strong progress in our test pipeline with the launch of the respiratory diseases RUO panel and the publication of key study results for liver disease; and entering into a partnership with [Manchester-based clinic] Functional Gut Diagnostics for the provision of clinical tests for SIBO [small intestinal bacterial overgrowth] and food intolerance.

“We are thrilled to have the support of such highly respected investors as we strive to have a major impact on patient outcomes and the efficient delivery of healthcare resources, and are very pleased to now welcome the experience and insight of Horizons’ Patrick Zhang to our board.”

Mr Zhang said: “Accurate biomarkers collected non-invasively will be important screening and diagnostic tools for the future of healthcare.

Patrick Zhang, investor at Horizon Ventures and now on the board of Owlstone Medical
Patrick Zhang, investor at Horizon Ventures and now on the board of Owlstone Medical

“We are excited that Owlstone Medical’s transformative breath biopsy technology will be the basis for development of a set of important biomarkers that could gauge and safeguard our health painlessly and effectively.”

Owlstone’s Series C finance round was completed in October 2018.Progress made in the three years since includes:

- The development of EVOC (exogenous volatile organic compounds) probes to elicit clear biological responses on breath;

- Improvements in the platform’s ability to discover biomarkers and the ability to collect breath aerosol;

- The launch of the respiratory diseases RUO panel;

- The launch of tests in digestive health; and

- The introduction of supporting instrumentation such as the Casper Portable Air Supply.

Owlstone’s strategy remains to establish the company as the clear leader in the breath field by deploying breath biopsy for the early detection of disease and in precision medicine.

Its goal is to save 100,000 lives and $1.5bn in healthcare costs.

Owlstone says it will continue to work with leading pharmaceutical, biotech, and academic groups, identifying novel biomarkers in breath while it aims to “deepen its position in digestive health, supporting the company’s vision in this area to help suffering patients gain better control of their symptoms”.

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