IBEX Innovations – the Sedgefield company which is a pioneer in X-ray imaging technology – has raised £535,000 to commercialise its new software to help detect breast cancer.
The latest funding has come from existing backers the North East Venture Fund (NEVF), supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Mercia, along with IP Group and private investors.
IBEX’s Trueview® technology not only improves the quality of X-ray images but also reduces the dose of radiation the patient receives. The software, which incorporates advanced physics and artificial intelligence, can be used with conventional X-ray machines and allows medics to interpret images more accurately.
After five years in research and development, IBEX has recently made its first sales to Curvebeam, a US company specialising in 3D imaging of arms and legs and to Planmed, a leading manufacturer based in Finland which supplies to over 70 countries.
The latest Trueview software is designed for use in mammography and has been shown to aid diagnosis by increasing image contrast while reducing radiation exposure by up to 50%. It could also help reduce breast compression to minimise discomfort and encourage more women to have screening. The latest funding, which brings the total IBEX has raised to date to almost £6m, will be used for ongoing product development and to secure new international customers.
Neil Loxley, CEO of IBEX, said: “We are grateful for the continued support of investors in this latest funding round, which will enable us to complete development of our latest product and maintain our technical lead in the $15bn medical X-ray imaging market. 2020 will be an important year for IBEX as we secure new deals with leading global medical imaging companies.”
Ian Wilson, who leads Mercia’s team in the North East, added: “IBEX is the only one in the market that can achieve this quality of images. The company continues to make progress in both developing new products and new commercial relationships. Mercia is delighted to support IBEX once again and help roll out this new system which will be an important step forward in breast cancer detection.”
Oliver Rickett from Womble Bond Dickinson provided legal advice to Mercia.
NEVF can invest up to £1.0million in any one round for firms in Northumberland, Durham and Tyne & Wear, particularly those which are engaged in innovation or developing disruptive business models. Funding is available to all companies with high growth potential and also pre-start enterprises.