MOD Spin-out Receives CA �500K Funding for Technology by straightlinepr


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									        MOD Spin-out Receives CA £500K Funding for Technology
ProKyma, a spin-out from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and founded
by Ploughshare Innovations, today announced a £482K grant from the National Institute for
                         Health Research (NIHR) i4i programme.

Hampshire, UK, December 18, 2012 - ProKyma, a spin-out from the Defence Science and
Technology laboratory (Dstl) and founded by Ploughshare Innovations, today announced a
£482K grant from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) i4i programme. The funding
will help it to apply its technology to improve the detection of cancer and monitor changes during

The investment will allow ProKyma to apply its ‘KymaSep’ technology, which automates the
manipulation of magnetic particles to purify and concentrate very low numbers of Circulating
Tumour Cells (CTCs) from a blood sample. The cancer cell, once purified, can be sequenced using
tools developed for the human genome project to find the patient’s specific and individual cancer
mutation. This information then allows cost effective measurement of CTC numbers, which should
decrease during treatment. Oncologists will use this unique tool to adapt and change therapy in
real time if the CTC numbers do not decrease.

ProKyma is working with a world-class multi-disciplinary team in Merseyside to deliver the
challenging technical breakthroughs needed in this project. A unique cell capture technology has
been licenced from CellCap Technologies, which is currently being optimised to harvest millions of
stem cells for cellular therapies. Through a long-standing collaboration with the UK Centre for
Tissue Engineering at the University of Liverpool, ProKyma will adapt this technology for the very
low-number of cell captures needed for CTC detection (5 CTC cells per test-tube of blood). The
Liverpool Pancreatic Biomedical Research Unit will then optimise the method for capture,
sequencing and enumeration of CTCs. This will then be translated into a device for routine use,
which will be tested against samples from the Liverpool Cancer Trials Unit to measure its
usefulness on real patient samples.

Damian Bond, chief executive of ProKyma, stated, “The NIHR support has come at a very good
time for us and builds on six years of expertise and development. We are excited to collaborate
with the teams from CellCap and the University of Liverpool to develop this much needed, but
challenging technology.”

KymaSep is a small, portable system that is based around an injection moulded device, providing
simple operation at low cost - making it ideal for clinic or point-of-care use. It is the result of six
years development at ProKyma that started from Dstl’s work to develop continuous detection
systems for biothreat agents. It has been funded by investment from the Rainbow Seed Fund;
Merseyside Special Investment Fund’s Liverpool Seed Fund; and the National Endowment for
Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA).

With the funding and support of NIHR, ProKyma is looking to develop its technology to a point
where it can raise a Series A funding round to begin manufacture of the CTC monitoring product in
Merseyside by the end of 2014.
Notes to the editor:

For further information, please contact Damian Bond on 07798 600 833 or e-mail

CellCap Technologies (

CellCap is an early stage business developing products to harvest adult stem cells from body
tissues for research and cellular therapies. Supported by grants from the Technogy Strategy Board
and imvestment from the NWFund Biomedical LP, its lead product is due to start external
evaluation in 2013.

Dstl ( )

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is a centre of scientific excellence for the
Ministry of Defence (MOD). Its 3,500 strong workforce includes some of the nation’s most talented
and creative scientists with the brief to ensure that the UK Armed Forces and Government are
supported in-house by the very best impartial scientific and technological advice. Dstl’s position at
the heart of the MOD means that its advice is trusted by overnments academia, industry and
international partners. It offers timely and accurate advice at all levels of military planning and
operations, both overseas and on the home front.


NESTA is the National Endowment for Science, Technology & the Arts. With endowed funds of over
£300 million, our mission is to transform the UK’s capacity for innovation. We do this in three
main ways: by working to build a more pervasive culture of innovation in this country; by
providing innovators with access to early-stage capital; and by driving forward research into
innovation, with a view to influencing policy.

The Liverpool Seed Fund

Merseyside Special Investment Fund’s (MSIF) Liverpool Seed Fund is a £27m fund which invests in
companies with new ideas, innovations and intellectual property. Seed funding can support three
stages of development: proof of concept (£50,000 to £100,000) commercialisation (up to
£350,000) and first round venture capital (up to £750,000). Liverpool Ventures, a subsidiary of
MSIF, was set up specifically to provide pre and post investment support to businesses invested in
by the Seed Fund to help give them the best possible chance of success.

About Rainbow Seed Fund:

The £8.5m Rainbow Seed Fund was established in 2001 with funding from the Office of Science
and Innovation to commercialise scientific research in a leading group of the UK publicly funded
institutions, our partners. The Fund, which is independently managed by Midven Ltd, made its first
investment in 2002, and currently has a portfolio of 16 companies with one exit.

The Fund invests at the earliest stages of a technology’s development, and helps to turn an idea
into a business by actively identifying and supporting experienced management and facilitating
additional coinvestment. Rainbow's partners spend over £1 billion on research and development
every year giving the Fund privileged access to high quality investment propositions at the earliest
ProKyma is a spinout from Dstl. Founded by Ploughshare Innovations in 2006 with initial
investment from the Rainbow Seed Fund, it has developed novel approaches in sample handling to
enhance diagnostic technologies to provide improved information and simplified handling.

About Ploughshare:
Ploughshare Innovations manages the commercial licensing to industry of intellectual property
developed by the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). Ploughshare’s goal is to
give clients a competitive edge, by lowering technology risk, reducing R&D costs, speeding time to
market, and maximizing the business opportunity. It provides leading edge, application focused
technology, backed up with the assurance of advanced IP support and protection. Ploughshare is a
wholly owned subsidiary of Dstl.

Chris Goff
Ploughshare Innovations Ltd.
Unit 2, Nine Mile Water Business Park
Nether Wallop, Stockbridge
Hampshire SO20 8DR
+44 (0) 1794 301602


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