Aviva Ventures, Aviva plc’s venture capital arm, today announces its investment in Owlstone Medical Ltd, a medical diagnostics company developing a breathalyser that can detect diseases at a very early stage. The company is currently developing tests for lung and colorectal cancer, two of the most common terminal cancer conditions worldwide.
Aviva Ventures’ investment takes Owlstone Medical’s total funding to $23.5 million USD (£19.3 million GBP) since its spin out of Owlstone Inc in 2016.
Aviva Ventures provides early stage investment to back entrepreneurs with high growth businesses and, over time, expects to have a portfolio of small investments in a number of companies which have significant potential.
Aviva Ventures is part of Aviva’s digital strategy and, through the investments made, will assist Aviva in identifying new opportunities; the development of innovative business models and new digital insurance services and products which make insurance easier for customers.
Our intention is to invest in unique and innovative start-ups that look to disrupt the future of insurance. Owlstone Medical is a great example of this. Its strong team and ground-breaking product gives us every confidence in its future success. Technology is evolving rapidly and so it is critical for large, global businesses like Aviva to collaborate with start-ups such as Owlstone Medical. Traditionally, insurance has supported customers in the aftermath of a problem, going forward prevention will be just as important as the cure.
Billy Boyle, co-founder and CEO at Owlstone Medical, said:
“Investment from Aviva as one of the major global insurance brands further validates our FAIMS (Field Asymmetric Ion Mobility Spectrometry) technology and breath biopsy as a new approach to medical diagnostics. We are very pleased that Aviva is supporting us in our mission to save 100,000 lives and $1.5 billion in healthcare costs.”
Dr Doug Wright, Medical Director at Aviva, has been appointed an Observer to Owlstone Medical Board:
“As we offer our customers increasing choices about their health provision in particular on prevention and early detection, innovations like this will become ever more relevant. We are proud to be involved in the development of an entirely new means of early disease detection, screening and treatment monitoring that could make a real difference to people’s health.”
Watch a short video with Ben Luckett and Billy Boyle talking about the investment here.
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Notes to editors:
- Aviva provides life insurance, general insurance, health insurance and asset management to 33 million customers.
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Owlstone Medical has developed a breathalyzer for disease. With a focus on non-invasive diagnostics for cancer, infectious disease and inflammatory disease, the company aims to save 100,000 lives and $1.5B in health care costs by 2020.
The company’s microchip FAIMS (Field Asymmetric Ion Mobility Spectrometer) sensor is a platform technology that can be programmed in software to detect targeted biomarkers of disease in breath (and other bodily fluids). FAIMS can be used in clinical diagnostics and precision medicine with application in cancer and a wide range of other medical conditions. Highly sensitive and selective, these tests allow for early diagnosis when treatments are more effective and where more lives can be saved.
Owlstone Medical is currently developing tests for lung and colorectal cancer, two of the most common cancer killers worldwide. The company also sells R&D tools and services to academic, clinical and pharma partners who want to develop breath based diagnostics for their own applications.
Founded in 2004 as a spin-out from the Engineering Department at the University of Cambridge University, Owlstone Inc is a profitable business selling its proven FAIMS technology to military and industrial customers globally. Owlstone Medical was spun out from Owlstone Inc in 2016 to develop and commercialise FAIMS in diagnostic applications.
Owlstone Medical is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, with offices in London, UK.