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52 North Health, a UK and US-based med-tech start-up, has raised £1 million in its first round of funding from leading UK and European specialist investors. The 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.
52 North is developing the NeutroCheck, a fully-integrated clinical, AI and medical device-based system for people living with cancer. The NeutroCheck is a point-of-care medical device which can be used by patients outside of hospital to monitor their risk of neutropenic sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication of chemotherapy.
By enabling at-home monitoring, the NeutroCheck allows significant improvements in health outcomes, quality of life, and safety. A low-cost device, it is designed to improve health equality, as cancer patients from lower socio-economic backgrounds are disproportionately affected by needing to attend hospital urgently.
52 North’s digital platform uses AI to better predict patient risk and outcomes and is intended to have a huge impact on the way healthcare professionals treat patients. “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,” said Fiona Pathiraja, Managing Partner of Crista Galli Ventures. “By building a software- and hardware-enabled solution, 52 North aims to reduce the numbers of patients being admitted to hospital with life-threatening neutropenic sepsis.”
Taking its name from the GPS coordinates of Cambridge, where it was founded in 2018, 52 North is on a mission to reinvent the healthcare journey by creating affordable and patient-centred solutions. The company, then called NeutroCheck, participated in the 2018 Postdoc Business Plan Competition, refining its proposition and ultimately winning second place along with a £10,000 investment.
The business is led by a team of multi-disciplinary sector experts, including former lawyer and business development professional Umaima Ahmad (CEO); consultant oncologist Dr Saif Ahmad (Chief Scientific and Medical Officer); data scientist and assistant professor at the University of Cambridge, Dr Mireia Crispin-Ortuzar (Chief Digital Officer); and Harvard University-based biosensor engineer Dr Nicole Weckman (Technology Advisor).
The investment will be used to take the NeutroCheck device through clinical trials in the UK, as well as to deliver on strategic partnerships, including those with the UK Sepsis Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support, in order 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.
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With the advent of personalised medicine and an increasingly decentralised healthcare system many existing care pathways are no longer fit-for-purpose. In addition, the digitisation of healthcare can often exacerbate health inequality. We are focused on reinventing the healthcare journey for all patients, keeping health equity and improved health outcomes at the heart of our work. We are doing this through building solutions that are affordable, cutting-edge, and built around people living with disease. We are grateful to the dozens of people living with disease who have volunteered their time to engage with our product life-cycle.Umaima Ahmad, CEO and co-founder, 52 North Health
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. 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 centre of our solutions, combining technology with patient and clinician input and key human values, to improve health outcomes. This is the future of healthcare.Nicole Weckman, Technology Advisor and co-founder, 52 North Health Health
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.Amanda Wooding, Investment Director (Life Sciences), Cambridge Enterprise