Cancer healthcare company Endomag has won an Innovate UK SME Innovation Award for innovation leading to productivity improvement.
The House of Commons event awarded Endomag’s nanoscale magnetic tracer system, Sentimag® and Sienna+®, that locates lymph nodes as part of a sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) procedure.
By avoiding the need for traditional radioactive isotopes in SLNB, Sentimag® and Sienna+® improve workflow and lower costs, enhance patient comfort and quality of life, and provide a better standard of care available to everyone, everywhere.
CEO Dr Eric Mayes said: “We have successfully treated more than 10,000 patients using Sentimag® and companion tracer Sienna+® across Europe, the Middle East and Australia.”
The SME Innovation Awards were set up to recognise great innovation among projects co-funded by Innovate UK and to inspire other budding innovators.
In 2009 Endomag received a grant of £275,000 from Innovate UK towards total project costs of £800,000 for a collaborative R&D project to develop a safe and convenient alternative to traditional cancer treatment.
With further funding from venture capitalists, the team set out to establish the magnetic localisation of lymph nodes to determine the spread of cancer, removing the need for radioisotopes. It means that clinicians can avoid the concerns around the safety, workflow and availability of ionising radiation.
After a couple of years’ development and testing, Endomag secured its CE mark for its Sentimag® instrument at the end of 2010.
Dr Mayes said: “Through Innovate UK we were invited on a Future Health Mission in 2011 to California. We went with other small companies from Britain involved in everything from artificial bone regeneration, to fluids that keep transplant organs safe, and digital patient record systems. During that Mission, we were able to develop a relationship with the University of California, San Francisco that now leads our pivotal US trial.”
The news follows Endomag’s shortlisting as a finalist of the prestigious MacRobert Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering earlier this summer.
The underlying technology is now being applied to develop laparoscopic and endoscopic probes for other types of cancer including melanoma, prostate, bladder, thyroid, colon and cervical.