University of Nottingham generates £1.5m from the sale of Oncimmune shares

Spin-out company continues to develop world-leading expertise in early cancer detection

The University has realised more than £1.5m from the sale of shares in Oncimmune Holdings plc, which was founded in 2002 as a spin-out to commercialise a blood test for the early detection of cancer.

The sale of shares by the University – in line with its policy to release investment in spin-outs to fund education and further world-class innovation at Nottingham – brings the total realised from Oncimmune to more than £7m.

Dr Andrew Naylor, CEO of Nottingham Technology Ventures, which manages the University’s spin-out portfolio, said: “It is immensely gratifying to see a spin-out company continue to develop and commercialise technology to save lives, benefit society and generate real impact.

“Oncimmune has delivered a significant return on investment for the University and is an excellent example of how spin-out companies can flourish with good financial and commercial support.”

Dynamic life sciences companies and research institutions have a vital role in securing a high-skill economy, as well helping power recovery and growth after the coronavirus.Dr Andrew Naylor, CEO of Nottingham Technology Ventures

Oncimmune launched its platform diagnostic technology in 2009, followed by its first commercial tests of EarlyCDT Lung and EarlyCDT Liver. The key to improving cancer survival is early detection and better selection for therapy and Oncimmune’s immunodiagnostic tests can detect and help identify cancer on average four years earlier than standard clinical diagnosis.

To date, over 200,000 tests have been performed for patients worldwide. EarlyCDT Lung, pioneered by a team from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, is also used in what is believed to be the largest randomised controlled trial for the early detection of lung cancer using biomarkers, the successful NHS Early detection of Cancer of the Lung Scotland (ECLS) trial of 12,209 high-risk smokers. This trial demonstrated that EarlyCDT Lung reduced the incidence of patients with late-stage lung cancer or unclassified presentation at diagnosis, compared to standard clinical practice.

The University’s equity in Oncimmune was acquired through an initial shareholding at formation of the spin-out. The University continued to support the company with further investment prior to a listing on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange in May 2016.

“Our ties with the University, from the pioneering work in the early detection of cancer in research labs, through initial and subsequent investment in Oncimmune has supported our continuing development. We’re proud that the application of world-leading research here in Nottingham will be the cornerstone of advances in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.” Dr Adam Hill, CEO of Oncimmune

The University retains an interest in Oncimmune, which is part of a 22-strong portfolio of spin-outs.

Nottingham Technology Ventures has helped generated multi-million pound exits from the University’s spin-out portfolio in three of the last four financial years.  In 2018, Nottingham was ranked second among UK research institutions for the amount generated from the sale of

shares in spin-outs, delivering more than £11.5m, and the University is regarded as among the best in the UK for sharing knowledge.

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