A GLASGOW-based company developing a blood test aimed at detecting cancer at an early stage has raised £9.7 million through an investment round and grant funding.

The funding for Dxcover will support the development of its liquid biopsy platform for detection of early-stage cancers, including brain and colorectal cancers.

The platform, based on research by chief technical officer Matthew Baker at the University of Strathclyde, uses infra-red spectroscopy to analyse patient blood samples and artificial intelligence algorithms to detect the presence or absence of disease.

A £7.5m, Series A funding round was led by existing investors Eos Advisory LLP, Mercia Asset Management, Scottish Enterprise, the University of Strathclyde, SIS Ventures and Norcliffe Capital. They were joined by US-based life science investor Mark Bamforth, of Thairm Bio.

Dxcover, formed in 2019, also secured a £2.2m grant from the European Innovation Council.

Kerry Sharp, director of entrepreneurship and investment at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Dxcover’s rapid progress and exceptional clinical results have been exciting to witness as an investor and also a supporter of the company through our high growth spinout programme since its formation. The importance of its work can’t be exaggerated, and this latest round of funding underlines our recognition of that and our belief that Dxcover can be among the next big Scottish life sciences success stories.”

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Dxcover noted that, having proven its technology for detection of brain cancer, it had expanded its focus to eight cancers, with a 2022 study demonstrating its ability to detect multiple cancers at the earliest stage. It employs a 15-strong team.

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Chief executive Mark Hegarty said: “This is a very significant funding milestone in our mission to detect cancer early and improve survival and quality of life for patients. Having demonstrated our multi-cancer capability, we can now focus on building the pipeline of organ-specific tests, beginning with a multi-centre study to gain regulatory approval for the brain cancer test. We will also expand our data on colorectal cancer, one of the leading causes of death worldwide, and continue our work on collaborative projects.”

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Alongside Mr Baker and Mr Hegarty, the other co-founders are Holly Butler and David Palmer. The founders collectively now hold a minority stake in Dxcover.

A spokesman for Dxcover said: “Ownership remains with the founders and investors, including significant backing from Scottish Enterprise.”

Mr Hegarty said: “As founders, we don’t hold a majority shareholding now.”

Andrew McNeill, managing partner of Eos Advisory, said: “Dxcover fits perfectly with Eos’s focus on finding and scaling Scottish companies that address key global issues. Their ability to diagnose early-stage cancers could transform survival rates and patient outcomes, and this investment is testament to their quality of data and growth.”

Julian Dennard, at Mercia Asset Management, said: “Dxcover analyses tumour signals and non-tumour signals that genetic tests cannot detect. We are excited about the recent results which show its ability to detect multiple cancers at the earliest stage, when more lives can be saved. The investment will build on the traction created by that study and aims to make Dxcover a leader in the fast-growing market for cancer diagnostics.”