Echopoint raises £2.8m to address the ‘grey zone’
of heart disease treatment
London, Monday 16 September – Echopoint Medical Ltd, a spinout company from UCL, has raised £2.8m to develop optical sensing technology to help heart disease patients in a grey zone where the need for treatment is unclear.
Coronary heart disease is a major cause of death worldwide and more than 7 million* people have a diagnosis in the UK alone. Narrowing arteries caused by the disease are commonly treated by the insertion of tiny tubes called stents, but the process is both risky and expensive.
Current methods for determining whether to place a stent are inadequate. Dye-based imaging techniques deliver inconclusive results on the need for a stent for a large ‘grey zone’ of patients, many of whom undergo unnecessary invasive surgery as a result.
Echopoint has developed inexpensive microcatheters which use fibre-optic sensors to accurately measure blood pressure and flow, enabling clinicians to precisely assess patients and dramatically reduce stent implants.
Echopoint has raised its investment from the UCL Technology Fund, Parkwalk and two grants from Innovate UK. It will use the funding to further develop the optical fibre sensors on its microcatheters, as well as its unique technology platform which translates their ultrasound signals into meaningful metrics. The company will also complete a 20-30 patient clinical trial.
Echopoint was founded in November 2018 and is led by executive chairman Antony Odell, an experienced medtech entrepreneur and previous CEO of Tissue Regenix; Dr Adrien Desjardins, Chief Technical Officer and a senior lecturer in the Department of Medical Physics at UCL; and Dr Malcolm Finlay, Chief Medical Officer and a consultant cardiologist at Barts Heart Centre.
Dr Adrien Desjardins, Chief Technical Officer at Echopoint and a researcher at UCL Medical Physics & Biomedical Engineering, says: “Coronary heart disease is endemic worldwide but far too often the decision to implant a stent is based on sub-optimal information. Our technology addresses the ‘grey zone’ of patients where the requirement for a stent is currently difficult to determine. By using advanced optical sensing technology, we hope to significantly improve the accuracy of current treatments, saving healthcare costs and preventing unnecessary operations for patients that could be treated with medicines.”
David Grimm, Investment Director at AlbionVC, says: “Stents are an invaluable, cornerstone treatment but are risky to insert and not always the best course of action for a patient. Echopoint’s remarkable technology has the potential to transform heart disease diagnosis and treatment. We are very excited by the potential of their technology platform, which utilises the latest fibre optic sensing and imaging techniques borne out of UCL’s world leading academic research.”
Neil Cameron, Investment Director at Parkwalk comments: “Real time flow measurement will be a major addition to the clinician’s diagnostic arsenal and will differentiate Echopoint’s product offerings substantially from its nearest competitors. The ability to integrate this technology into existing clinical procedures made Echopoint a compelling investment opportunity for Parkwalk.”
Notes to editor
UCL Technology Fund
The UCL Technology Fund is dedicated to investing in intellectual property commercialisation opportunities arising from UCL’s world-class research base, focusing in particular on the physical and life sciences. The Fund supports UCL in achieving the full potential of innovations that have prospects for outstanding societal and market impact, right through the development journey from initial proof of concept to practical commercial application.
The Fund is managed by AlbionVC, one of the largest independent venture capital investors in the UK, in collaboration with UCL Business. For further information please visit: www.ucltf.co.uk
UCL Business PLC (UCLB), part of UCL Innovation and Enterprise, is a leading technology commercialisation company that supports research and innovations arising from UCL, one of the UK’s top research-led universities. UCLB has a successful track record and a strong reputation for identifying and protecting promising new technologies and innovations from UCL academics. UCLB has a strong track record in commercialising medical technologies and provides technology transfer services to UCL’s associated hospitals; University College London Hospitals, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the Royal Free London Hospital. It invests directly in development projects to maximise the potential of the research and manages the commercialisation process of technologies from laboratory to market.
The Albion technology team invests from seed through to Series B in high growth companies, predominantly in the UK, with a particular focus on B2B software and technology enabled services. Albion has 20+ years’ experience investing in technology, has c.£450m of venture funds, with over 40 tech investments within its portfolios. AlbionVC is the technology investment arm of Albion Capital Group LLP, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Parkwalk is the largest growth EIS fund manager, backing world-changing technologies emerging from the UK’s leading universities and research institutions. With £250m of assets under management, it has invested in over 100 companies across its flagship Parkwalk Opportunities EIS Fund as well as the award-winning enterprise and innovation funds Parkwalk manages for the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Bristol.
Parkwalk invests in businesses creating solutions to real-world challenges, with IP-protected innovations, across a range of sectors including life sciences, AI, quantum computing, advanced materials, genomics, cleantech, future of mobility, medtech and big data.