Nanotech company Ferronova secures $3.5m Series A funding led by Uniseed
25 MAY 2020: Australian biotechnology company Ferronova Pty Ltd today closed a $3.5 million Series A financing round to fund clinical trials of its cancer tracing nanoparticle designed to find secondary cancer cells more accurately during cancer surgery.
The round was led by venture capital firm Uniseed, with participation from existing and new investors including Artesian Venture Partners and the South Australian Venture Capital Fund (SAVCF). The University of Sydney has also become a shareholder as part of a licensing agreement with the company.
Ferronova Chief Executive Officer Stewart Bartlett said the technology has the potential to transform care for early stage cancer patients in complex cancers such as colorectal cancer.
“Our nanoparticle technology is designed to track the metastatic path of cancer and will enable surgeons to more accurately retrieve tissue samples and lymph nodes to guide more detailed pathology assessment”, Mr Bartlett said.
“Currently, up to 27 per cent of colorectal cancer patients have undetected micro tumours or isolated cancer cells in lymph nodes which leads to higher mortality rates. This results in 20 per cent of those patients having cancer recurrence within five years. Ferronova’s mission is to provide the tools to solve this problem”.
Uniseed Chief Executive Officer Dr Peter Devine said Ferronova has the potential to move the dial in treatment for early stage cancer patients and improving patient outcomes.
“We were attracted to this opportunity due to the strong intellectual property developed at the University of Sydney and the way it is being applied in a novel way to solve a problem that will impact healthcare,” Dr Devine said.
“The management team have significant medical device startup experience here and overseas, and we are looking forward to working with them to progress the product through clinical trials”.
The South Australian Minister for Innovation and Skills, David Pisoni said It’s pleasing to see the SAVCF support this significant Series A investment into Ferronova, a spinout company out of the University of South Australia.
“Ferronova is an exciting early stage South Australian biotech company developing a unique cancer diagnostic and I look forward to seeing their continued progress.”
Luke Fay, Managing Partner of Artesian Ventures said the investment by the SAVCF comes within just two months of Artesian Ventures being appointed to manage the fund.
“Artesian made 10 VC investments across their network in the month of April and has a history of successfully investing in early stage Australian innovation including backing a number of successful university and incubator spin-outs. We’re excited to be launching our management of the SAVCF with an exciting investment in world class Australian medical technology that has big potential to improve outcomes for cancer patients”.
Research and development is located in Australia, with the investment supporting a new office in Houston, Texas, next to the world renowned MD Anderson Cancer Centre where some of the clinical trial program will be conducted.
Uniseed is Australia’s longest running early stage commercialisation fund that makes investments in research emanating from five of Australia’s leading research organisations – The University of Queensland, The University of Sydney, The University of New South Wales, The University of Melbourne and the CSIRO. Uniseed is a mutual fund, owned by research organisations, for research organisations. The fund facilitates the commercialisation of its research partners’ most promising intellectual property and secures targeted investment in resulting products and technologies. For more information, visit: https://uniseed.com/
A spin out from the University of South Australia and Victoria University of New Zealand, Ferronova was established in Adelaide in 2016 with seed funding from Powerhouse Ventures. Grant assistance has been provided by the SA Government since 2016. Block co-polymer intellectual property developed at the University of Sydney over the last 20 years has recently been licensed and assigned to the Company. The technology has been designed to address in-vivo stability issues inherent in prior magnetic nanoparticle technologies. For more information go to: www.ferronova.com.au
For media inquiries contact:
Stewart Bartlett, Chief Executive Officer