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Scottish Liquid Biopsy Startup BioCaptiva Raises £1M in Seed Funding

NEW YORK – Scottish startup BioCaptiva, a University of Edinburgh spinout, has raised £1 million ($1.4 million) in a seed financing round.

The firm will use the funding to license the technology for its BioCollector liquid biopsy platform from the university and launch initial trials. 

The financing round was led by Edinburgh-based business angel investment syndicate Archangels, as well as Scottish Enterprise.

BioCaptiva's BioCollector device captures circulating free DNA (cfDNA) from a patient's blood sample, which the firm said works alongside a standard apheresis machine to filter out cfDNA.

"BioCaptiva has the potential to provide pharma companies and clinicians with high levels of cfDNA from individual patients that could revolutionize the way some cancers are detected," Sara Hardy, director and head of new investments at Archangels, said in a statement. "This has the potential to vastly increase the sensitivity and applicability of liquid biopsy for detection of cancerous tumor, which are often diagnosed too late to enable specific treatment option to improve outcomes.

BioCaptiva aims to draw interest from companies developing new cancer tests that are limited by current methods of extracting cfDNA. The firm plans to scale up its technology ahead of regulatory clinical trials, which it expects to complete in 2024.

"We are confident that this platform technology can make a significant impact in this important area and, ultimately, enable cancers to be detected more quickly and accurately, enabling patients to receive precision cancer treatment as early as possible," Jeremy Wheeler, CEO of BIoCaptiva, said in a statement.

BioCaptiva has also appointed Frank Armstrong as its non-executive chairman and Stephen Little as a non-executive director and investor director.

Armstrong previously led medical and development organizations at multiple major pharma companies and has served as CEO of several life science firms. He previously led medical science and innovation at Merck Serono, worldwide product development at Bayer, and the worldwide medical organization at Zeneca.

Little currently serves as vice chariman at Yourgene Health. He also served as CEO of DxS before it was acquired by Qiagen in 2009, and has served in leadership positions at Celltech and AstraZeneca.