Mercia Fund Management (MFM) a leading technology investor with a focus on the Midlands, North and Scotland, has made its first early stage investment into Manchester Imaging, a dental diagnostic software spinout from the University of Manchester. The investment supports Mercia’s recent commitment to expansion into the North of England, following its announcement of partnerships with the University of York, the University of Liverpool, and Liverpool John Moores University.
Founded by Hugh Devlin, Professor of Restorative Dentistry, and Dr Jim Graham, Reader in the Centre for Imaging Science at Manchester, and spun out of the University by UMIP (University of Manchester Intellectual Property), Manchester Imaging is an early stage spinout developing image analysis and diagnostic software for the dental industry.
Manchester Imaging currently has four brands under development: Cariesdent, Osteodent, Implant Advisor 1 and Implant Advisor 2. Each of these services is designed to spot tooth decay and other potential problems earlier, empowering patients to look after their teeth more effectively, and saving millions for insurance companies and governments in terms of critical dental repair.
The company uses Active Shape Models (ASM) and Active Appearance Modelling (AAM) which analyse models, shapes and faces and are widely used for a variety of medical purposes, including facial recognition. This is the first time that such technology has been adapted as a diagnostic tool for the dental industry.
Manchester Imaging has received an initial investment of £265,000 from a consortium of Mercia Growth Fund 4, a tax-efficient EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) & SEIS (Seed EIS) fund supporting early stage start-ups and spinouts within the MFM portfolio, and individual investors.
Investment Director and Head of Technology Transfer Dr Nicola Broughton said:
“We are delighted to provide investment to Manchester Imaging, which has already received significant interest from larger dental services providers. Although still an early stage company, Manchester Imaging has a credible team – including Tony Travers, former Global Director at AstraZeneca, who joined recently as CEO – with the potential to grow to be a substantial business with several successful brands.”
Tony Travers, CEO of Manchester Imaging Ltd, said:
“Mercia’s investment will allow Manchester Imaging to continue development of its core product portfolio, the services of which are a first for the dental care sector. We hope that, by empowering practitioners and patients to better identify potential problems, we will be able to save local services’ and insurers’ money, whilst ensuring that people have healthy teeth and gums right into old age.
“We especially look forward to working with Dr Nicola Broughton, who has a wealth of experience in supporting and advising university spinouts across the country.”
Dr Rich Ferrie, Operations Director at UMIP, a division of UMI3, said:
“I am delighted that Mercia has invested in Manchester Imaging, which is another very promising spinout from our portfolio. I believe the combination of highly innovative technology from our University, strong company management, and the investment support of Mercia Fund Management, is compelling and positions the company for significant growth and value creation for all shareholders.”