An Oxford University spin-out has successfully raised funding to fuel its expansion at Cherwell Innovation Centre, near Bicester, as it looks to use its nanotechnology to enhance the treatment of thousands of people living with cancer.
Xerion Healthcare completed a £2 million investment from local venture capital fund, Oxford Sciences Innovation plc, to develop nanotechnology that enhances the effects of radiotherapy.
Xerion’s nanoparticles are injected into tumours, dispersing throughout the tumour and into cancer cells. When radiotherapy treatment is applied, the nanoparticles generate highly active molecular species, known as ‘free radicals’, which destroy the tumour cells. The nanoparticles split water, rather than interacting with oxygen, allowing the most aggressive oxygen deficient tumour types to be targeted.
Dr Gareth Wakefield, chief technology officer and co-founder of Xerion Healthcare, said: “Initial targets for our technology are head and neck and pancreatic cancers both of which have unmet clinical needs. Some throat cancers are impossible to surgically remove and the life span from diagnosis to death for those suffering with pancreatic cancer is usually a matter of months. Our cost-effective nanotechnology is set to have a huge impact by helping to increase quality and length of life of cancer sufferers.
Xerion Healthcare first moved to Cherwell Innovation Centre in 2015 when seeking use of kitted-out labs and has just expanded to occupy a total of 1,840 sq ft of combined laboratory and office space, nearly 10% of the centre.
Cherwell Innovation Centre has become known as an attractive proposition for start-ups who have access to The DiagnOx Laboratory, a shared fully-equipped 3,000 sq ft managed laboratory and office facility.