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16 April 2014

Oxford collaboration with Technikos spins out success

OxSonics, which uses ultrasound to treat cancer and back pain, has raised £2.7m ($4.5m).

Author: Thierry Heles, reporter

OxSonics has become the most recent, and tenth, spin-out since Oxford University's 2006 agreement with London-based venture capital firm Technikos, which provided £12m ($20m) to the Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IBME). That deal gave Technikos half the equity in any new companies based on the institute's intellectual property. 

OxSonics was set up through the university’s technology transfer company Isis Innovation in January 2014. It uses ultrasound technology and ultrasound-sensitive nanoparticles developed by a research group at the institute headed by professor Constantin Coussios to treat cancer and back pain.

The technology works by a particular type of ultrasound inducing tiny bubbles which ramp up the attack on tumours. As these bubbles collapse, they agitate the fluid around them, thereby pumping anti-cancer drugs deeper into the tumours than was previously possible. Co-founders Constantin Coussios, Christian Coviello and Robert Carlisle demonstrated these findings in a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. OxSonics plans to adapt the technology, at a higher power setting, to surgically treat chronic lower back pain by repairing intervertebral discs.

Professor Alison Noble, director of the IBME, said: “The deal between Technikos and the University has spearheaded a remarkably active period of IBME history that has enabled some of the most promising academic research ideas at the IBME to be successfully and quite quickly translated into commercially viable products. The Institute’s successes have played a key role in creating a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship and desire to have impact in our researchers and postgraduate students that in my view is unrivalled in the UK or possibly worldwide. None of this would have been possible without the support of the Technikos deal.”

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