Perth tech takes out Australian start-up competition to join international finals

December 3, 2018

Perth medical device company, OncoRes Medical, has won top honours at an internationally-recognised start-up event, which will see the company pitch to an international audience including the Duke of York, Prince Andrew.

OncoRes, which is developing an imaging tool to improve the outcome of breast cancer surgery, beat off stiff competition to win the Australian round of the international Pitch@Palace competition held at the State Library of Queensland last Friday in Brisbane.

OncoRes was joint Australian winner with Brisbane start-up PowerWells out of a field of 42 competitive finalists. The two winners will attend Pitch@Palace Global at St. James’s Palace, London on 12 December where the company will pitch to a room of influential investors, tech entrepreneurs and industry professionals.

While there is no cash prize associated with Pitch@Palace, it provides exposure to an influential global audience and comes with a guarantee that the winner will be actively promoted to the Pitch@Place network.

OncoRes Managing Director and CEO, Dr Katharine Giles, who had three minutes to pitch OncoRes to a crowd of hundreds at Pitch@Palace in Brisbane last week, says this is an incredible opportunity to get Australian-grown technology in front of international audience with influence.

“This is a major opportunity for us here at OncoRes. We have just finished our diagnostic accuracy study, and the results have been incredibly positive, with 95 percent accuracy in detecting cancerous tissue across a sample of 70 patients. Compared to similar studies and technologies, this is an extremely positive result.”

OncoRes is looking to raise $15 million in Series B financing early next year to help the company progress through FDA approval and pivotal clinical trials. To date the company has received $6m of venture capital investment from the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), Australia’s leading life science investment fund.

The OncoRes team is developing a handheld imaging probe and console to provide real-time intraoperative guidance to surgeons by delineating breast cancer tumour from healthy tissue, at a microscopic level. OncoRes Medical’s goal is to provide surgeons with an image identifying residual cancerous tissue remaining within the breast, so it can be removed during surgery, reducing the need for repeat surgery, which currently happens in 30 percent of cases.

Unnecessary surgeries cost the health care system over $2 billion annually in Europe and US and this figure does not take into account the physical, psychological and economic impact of these surgeries on patients and their families.

OncoRes Medical’s Chief Scientific Officer, Brendan Kennedy says, “It’s fantastic that the OncoRes team has received this recognition. Our clinical studies and technical development have gone really well this year and this is the icing on the cake. We’re looking forward to pushing on next year and moving closer to product launch.”

Leading breast cancer surgeon, Professor Christobel Saunders AO who leads the clinical development, says “As a surgeon, our problem is not being able to identify the extent of a cancer at operation and thus the risk of leaving cancerous cells behind. We believe this technology has the potential to overcome this, leading to more efficient and effective surgery for the many 100s of thousands of people who undergo cancer surgery globally each year”.

After breast cancer, the team plans to see the technology used in the fight against other cancers and to be used in robotic surgery.

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