A spinout out from Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Universities has been awarded £75,000 at the Scottish EDGE Awards for its technology that screens for prostate cancer.
IntelliPalp Dx won the second-largest prize of the awards as one of 33 Scottish companies vying for investment money from a £1 million pot.
The firm has developed a device which provides more accurate early-stage testing for prostate cancer and aims to deliver improvements in diagnosis techniques.
Initial trials have indicated that the technology provides a more accurate diagnosis for patients faster. This can address several issues inherent in typical prostate exams such as a doctor’s subjective assessment, anxiety over the procedure or pain for the patient.
Results obtained through IntelliPalp’s technology are more objective, referring only those patients who are likely to have cancer for an MRI scan and biopsy.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer amongst men in the UK. As many as one in eight could develop the disease during their lifetime, and the ProstaPalp tech could help to catch the disease earlier and save lives.
Commenting on the award, Femi Johnson, Heriot-Watt Research Associate and co-founder of IntelliPalp Dx, said: “The funding from Scottish EDGE is a gamechanger, helping us to accelerate the development of the ProstaPalp device.
“The technology presents an incredible opportunity to improve prostate cancer screening for both doctors and patients.
“Our work combines the sensitivity of human touch with the precision of a mechanical device. This is a complex engineering challenge but one which will offer immeasurable benefits to patients globally.”
IntelliPalp Dx is working with NHS Lothian on the project and partnering with CENSIS on further development and manufacture of the ProstaPalp device. Optimising sensor development will allow the company to accelerate the progression of the device into clinical practice.
As well as this, the firm is also gaining extra support from GRID at Heriot-Watt University, which helps staff and students to build businesses out of their research while scaling companies through the early stages.
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Paul Devlin, head of commercialisation at Heriot-Watt University, said: “Supporting transformative companies like IntelliPalp is exactly what GRID was set up to do.
“This company is a prime example of how Scotland’s scientific community continues to address leading global challenges. As Scotland strives to recover economically from the pandemic, companies like IntelliPalp will be essential as they continue to grow along their commercial journey.
“The recognition by Scottish EDGE underlines the significance of this work.”
The Scottish EDGE is Britain’s largest funding competition, recognising some of the most innovative entrepreneurial talents in Scotland, and offering funding as well as advice and support to nurture business growth.
Since its first outing, EDGE has supported almost 400 early-stage businesses with awards totalling over £15 million.