22/07/2010

MRI software company, ACUITAS Medical, secures £700,000 investment and appoints Professor Sir Michael Brady as director

Swansea-based MRI software company Acuitas Medical Limited, formerly known as OsteoTronix, has secured a £700,000 co-investment from Finance Wales and Altima Global Special Opportunities Master Fund (Altima) to further develop its magnetic resonance-based Fine Texture Analysis (fTA™) technology, which enables the early diagnosis and management of cancer, organ fibrosis, and other diseases.


The company has also appointed prominent BP Professor of Information Engineering at Oxford University, Sir Michael Brady, as Non-Executive Director.

The £500,000 equity investment by Finance Wales, alongside £200,000 further investment from Altima, will enable Acuitas Medical to undertake a number of clinical studies to demonstrate the unique capabilities of its fTA technology for a range of diagnostic and therapy management applications. fTA allows for characterisation of biostructures substantially smaller than 1mm, which is currently impossible with other imaging techniques. fTA can be installed on any MR scanner without modification or additional hardware and provides diagnostic results in less than five minutes.

The co-investment follows two earlier funding rounds in which Acuitas Medical raised in excess of £750,000, including £500,000 from Altima. Acuitas Medical was also previously awarded a £490,000 Industrial Research grant by the Welsh Assembly Government through its Single Investment Fund.

John P. Heinrich, Ph.D., chairman and CEO of Acuitas Medical, said: “The investment by Finance Wales and additional investment from Altima will enable us to further develop the fTA™ software and evaluate clinical applications including angiogenesis (the network of blood vessels that supports tumour growth), organ fibrosis, breast cancer, bone diseases, and other pathologies characterised by fine structural changes. Ultimately we expect to improve MR utilisation and work flow by rapidly providing superior diagnostic information.”

Richard Thompson, Ph.D, Early Stage Investments Manager at Finance Wales, said: “Acuitas Medical is led by a highly experienced management team that has successfully established a number of world-class collaborations with clinicians, radiologists and researchers. The investment by Finance Wales alongside Altima will make it possible for Acuitas Medical to further develop and test its novel fTA™ technology and we are delighted to be able to support the company’s ambitions.”

Dr Anwar Padhani, Consultant Radiologist and Head of Imaging Research at the Paul Strickland Scanner Centre of Mount Vernon Hospital, a consultant to and research collaborator with Acuitas Medical, sees fTA™ as a paradigm-changing technology. "I strongly believe that Acuitas Medical's unique diagnostic technology has a very real chance of impacting on the evaluation of a number of diseases in ways that cannot be done by any other technique, and the ability to do this fast and repeatedly without x-rays is a real plus."

Acuitas Medical has also announced the appointment of prominent UK research scientist and entrepreneur, Professor Sir Michael Brady, as Non-Executive Director to the board. Professor Brady is world-renowned authority on medical software and diagnostic imaging and has agreed to serve as Finance Wales’ representative on the Acuitas Medical board, increasing the board to five members.

In addition to his distinguished scientific accomplishments, Professor Brady has been involved in the successful commercialisation of imaging technology developed by several enterprises including Mirada Solutions, at which Acuitas Medical director Peter E. Taylor also served as a director. He will also serve as a consultant to the company.

Acuitas Medical co-founder, and executive VP of Business Development Peter E. Taylor, added: “The appointment of Professor Sir Michael Brady as Non-Executive Director is a major accomplishment for Acuitas Medical and we are delighted to be working with someone of his scientific calibre and commercial experience to establish fTA™ as a widely recognised and highly valued tool in a range of pre-clinical and clinical applications.”