15 June 2017, Oxford & Alderley Park, UK. Cytox, an emerging precision medicine leader providing genetic testing for Alzheimer’s disease, has announced that it has raised £2.6m (approx $3.3m) to fund the commercial launch and international roll out of its comprehensive testing service. The funding round was led by the GM&C Life Sciences Fund, managed by Catapult Ventures, alongside existing and new investors, including Perivoli Innovations, The Rainbow Seed Fund, The University of Oxford and private investors.
Cytox has developed a genetic prognostic research test to predict with a very high degree of accuracy the risk of someone developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) many years before the first signs. Developed in collaboration with Thermo Fisher Scientific, Cytox’s breakthrough approach interrogates over 130,000 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) biomarkers found on the research use variaTECT™ array used in combination with analysis by its proprietary SNPfitR™ interpretive software for polygenic risk scoring (PRS) for assessing AD onset risk, including those with negative ApoE4 genotypes. The test is available globally as a service for all pharma, biotech and research labs working in this area to stratify samples obtained from subjects who are pre-symptomatic or showing mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and are at risk of developing AD. Cytox recently presented data on two further PRS algorithms optimised for identifying true amyloid positivity and true amyloid negativity, thus offering the potential to match performance to the specific needs of a clinical research study.
The investment will enable the company to launch its genetic testing platform and services to those pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies developing the next generation of dementia drugs. The investment will also be used to validate and launch Cytox’s AD test as a service within a CLIA approved laboratory and to expand the approach to include differential diagnosis and prognosis of dementia.
In addition to the investment, Dr David Whitcombe, a Venture Partner with Catapult Ventures, will join the board of Cytox as a non-executive director. David co-founded DxS Diagnostics in 2000 to expand upon technology he developed at AstraZeneca, and sold the company to QIAGEN in 2009 for more than £100m.
Dr Richard Pither, CEO Cytox, said “I’m extremely pleased to welcome Catapult Ventures as a new investor in Cytox and David to the board. David’s expertise in genetics, diagnostics and developing strong commercial partnerships will be extremely valuable to Cytox as we seek to commercialize our services for testing for Alzheimer’s disease and grow Cytox as a leader in this area.”
Dr David Whitcombe, Venture Partner with Catapult Ventures, added “Cytox is a very exciting company with a compelling offering in the assessment of individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Their genetic tests have demonstrated compelling results on the accuracy of prediction of developing the disease. I look forward to working with Richard and the team to fulfill the potential of their prognostic tests to better understand the disease and play a role in developing much needed therapeutics.”