Funding boost for breathalyser that detects lung cancer

Measurement of biomarkers allows diagnosis of disease at a very early stage

Cambridge Science Park-based Owlstone Medical has secured a further £5 million to develop and commercialise its revolutionary breathalyser that can detect lung cancer.

The investment round will be used to fund ongoing clinical trials of the breathalyser, which is being used in lung and colon cancer screening. The breathalyser measures volatile organic compound (VOCs) metabolites in patient’s breath or bodily fluids which are specific to disease. Measurement of VOC biomarkers allows diagnosis of disease at a very early stage, to enable more effective treatment and better patient outcomes.

The Cambridge University spin-out has already raised more than £20 million in investment. Billy Boyle, co-founder and CEO at Owlstone Medical, commented: “The breathalyser we are developing provides clinicians with a highly sensitive, non-invasive diagnostic, which will enable early detection and improve patient outcomes. We are also working with pharma partners to develop non-invasive companion diagnostics to better match patients to treatment for emerging personalised therapies.”

Prof Christofer Toumazou, who was recently appointed to the Owlstone Medical Board, added: “With the investment, I look forward to seeing a step change in the way serious disease can be diagnosed and monitored, and particularly for colon and lung cancer, which are two of the biggest cancer killers worldwide.”

In February, the company won an NHS contract for STRATA, adapting its disease breathalyser technology for precision medicine and clinical diagnostics.