Ferronova Secures A$11 Million to Advance Nanotech Image-guided Cancer Therapy
Australian biotech company Ferronova has announced it has secured a further A$11 million to progress the company’s nanoparticle platform to assist surgeons to more accurately locate and remove malignant cancer cells during treatment of gastrointestinal and brain tumors.
Irish company Renew Pharmaceuticals Limited (Renew) led an A$8 million capital raise, with a further A$3 million secured via an Australian Government Co-operative Research Centers Project (CRC-P) grant.* Existing Ferronova shareholders, led by Uniseed with Artesian Venture Partners also participated. The latest round of funding for the Adelaide, South Australian headquartered company builds on seed capital and Series A funding of $4.6 million.
Ferronova Chair Dr. John Parker said the international investment from Renew Pharmaceuticals and existing investors, and the CRC-P grant has created a strong platform to accelerate trials in gastrointestinal and brain cancers. “Research now shows one in two people will develop cancer in their lifetime and thanks to new technology, awareness and screening programs cancers are being detected earlier. Improvement in precision imaging, surgery, and therapy are now essential to improving long term outcomes. Australia has a strong track record in developing ground-breaking medical solutions and I believe Ferronova has the capability to be a game changer in this field.
“We are delighted to welcome Renew Pharmaceuticals as a shareholder. They are a world leader in the provision of dye-based contrast agents for image guided cancer surgery, and this collaboration will help us to progress our trial program and ultimately deliver our products to the 80+ countries that Renew’s distribution network supports.”
Ferronova CEO Stewart Bartlett said raising capital in a challenging environment and winning a CRC-P grant was a credit to the strength of Ferronova’s technology. “Surgery continues to be the only curative therapy for most solid tumor cancers, with the best outcomes when they are confined to a primary tumor and nearby lymph nodes. However, even in these early-stage patients, identifying and removing high-risk lymph nodes is a challenge, especially in upper gastrointestinal cancers which have high rates of cancer recurrence and poor survival.
“Ferronova’s proprietary iron-oxide nanoparticle platform and Renew’s Verdye (Indocyanine Green) infrared dye were successfully tested in first human trials at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Australia. The new funding will be applied to expanding the trial program to brain and gastric-esophageal cancers, which have among the poorest outcomes of all solid tumors.”
Declan Cassells, Managing Director at Renew, said Ferronova’s novel approach to address the most challenging gastrointestinal and brain cancers was one of the elements that attracted Renew to invest in Ferronova. “Ferronova and Renew have a common mission to improve patient outcomes through image guided surgery. We believe that through this investment we will accelerate the clinical programs and approvals of Renew’s fluorescence dye combined with Ferronova’s magnetic nanoparticles for surgical use in the treatment of cancers which have some of the worst survival rates, so that we can make this unique solution available to patients through our global distribution network.”
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