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Cambridge medtech founded by husband-wife duo picks £1M to monitor cancer chemotherapy risks


52 North Health, a medtech startup which has developed a device that allows patients to monitor themselves for potentially life-threatening side effects of chemotherapy, has recently picked £1 million in its first round of funding.

The financing round was led by Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge, with participation from Crista Galli Ventures, King’s Health Partners MedTech Innovations, Meltwind, Milltrust Ventures and a number of angels.

The Cambridge-based medtech will deploy the fresh funds to take the NeutroCheck device through clinical trials in the UK. Also, it will focus on strategic partnerships with key partners, including the UK Sepsis Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support, to define a new clinical pathway for treating suspected neutropenic sepsis, and to ensure people living with disease continue to be at the heart of the product life cycle.

Umaima Ahmad, CEO and co-founder of 52 North Health, commented: “We are delighted to have the support of excellent investors who are aligned with our values. With the advent of personalised medicine and an increasingly decentralised healthcare system – a need accelerated by the pandemic – many existing care pathways are no longer fit-for-purpose. In addition, the digitisation of healthcare can often exacerbate health inequality.”

Dr Nicole Weckman, Technology Advisor and co-founder, added: “The level of care that people can access is impacted by many factors including where they live, their ethnicity, gender and level of education. This simply should not be the case and health inequality is recognised as one of the key issues in the NHS Long-Term Plan. We are proud to be keeping this at the heart of our solutions, combining technology with patient and clinician input and key human values, to improve health outcomes, because this is the future of healthcare.”

Dr Amanda Wooding, Investment Director (Life Sciences), Cambridge Enterprise, commented: “We are pleased and proud to continue our successful relationship with 52 North Health. This investment is a significant milestone in the journey of the NeutroCheck technology from laboratory concept, through our Chris Abell Postdoc Business Plan in 2018, SBRI Healthcare grant award, and onwards now into commercialisation.”

Dr Fiona Pathiraja, Managing Partner of Crista Galli Ventures, commented: “Funding and innovation in oncology often focuses at the level of the cell. 52 North is disrupting cancer tech by innovating at the level of the patient. By building a software and hardware enabled solution, “NeutroCheck”, 52 North aims to reduce the numbers of patients being admitted to hospital with life-threatening neutropenic sepsis.”

Daniel Dickens, Co-Managing Partner at KHP MedTech Innovations added: “We’re thrilled to be supporting 52 North Health. Together our joint venture partners represent one of the largest teaching hospital systems in the UK and Europe and serve a diverse local population in South London. We’re proud to be working closely with the founding team on their plans to continue validation and testing of NeutroCheck and ultimately to bring to market a product which we believe could make a transformative improvement to patient outcomes and experience of care.”

NeutroCheck: All you need to know

52 North Health was founded in 2018 by husband-wife team Dr. Saif Ahmad and Umaima Ahmad in Cambridge. The medtech startup is on a mission to reinvent the healthcare journey by creating affordable and patient-centred solutions

It is developing NeutroCheck, a fully-integrated clinical, AI and medical device-based system for people living with cancer. NeutroCheck is a point-of-care medical device which can be used by patients outside of the hospital to monitor their risk of neutropenic sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication of chemotherapy.

With at-home monitoring, the device enables significant improvements in health outcomes, quality of life and safety. As a low-cost device, it is designed to be accessible to improve health equality at a time when cancer patients from lower socio-economic backgrounds are affected due to hospitalisation.

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