15 March 2012
The South West Angel and Investor Network (SWAIN) is delighted to announced the investment by one of their angels of £100k into Micrima – a Bristol University spin out company.
Micrima has developed revolutionary breast scanning technology which allows scanning and detection of tumours in younger patients than current X-ray mammography. In addition, the technology is smaller, cheaper, safer, easier to use and operate and more comfortable for the patient than traditional technology.
Being able to acquire clear images in younger patients cost efficiently means potentially aggressive cancers can be spotted earlier – helping the fight to eliminate one of the most common but also one of the most survivable, if caught earlier, cancers in women.
In total Micrima was over-subscribed, raising £900k in equity finance.
In an interview, Roy Johnson, Co-founder and Executive Chairman of Micrima explained, “I first saw the idea of Micrima’s technology in 2004 when I was approached by Bristol University. Though the original prototype consisted of a very rudimentary laboratory set up detecting simulated tumours within simulated breast tissue, I immediately saw the benefits such technology could bring to countless women. The university asked me to get involved in helping develop the technology within a new company and Micrima was born.
The technology has been significantly developed since then, originally starting with only 16 antennas compared to the 60 used today and the scan time having been reduced from the then 2 minutes to today’s very rapid 8 seconds.
We started this funding round in June 2011 but only approached SWAIN in September. We found the SWAIN process very straight forward and logical and quickly found a highly experienced SWAIN investor who helped us complete our funding round. We decided to base this round on business angel finance as we were looking for a relatively small amount compared to conventional venture capital rounds and believe this to be an excellent time for such individual investors to come in with the potential of good up-lifts in valuation going forward. This round of funding will be used to bring about certain further system performance improvements and to boost our clinical trial database, expanding the current trials of several dozen women to over one hundred.
In five years’ time with the continued support of our investors, I would expect to see our technology in the general market place making serious inroads to detect, and make a difference to, breast cancer.
To any other companies looking for investment, I would recommend that you put maximum effort into ensuring that you have the right business strategy wrapped around your opportunity and that every assumption is challenged thoroughly before you get in front of potential investors. A more investable proposition will emerge.
Philip Tellwright, Managing Director for SWAIN said, “I was delighted to introduce Micrima to our investors and know they would receive a positive response. In total around 24% of our deals have been in medical device companies with none having failed since we started in 2004. I would like to wish Micrima the very best for the future.”