North East Venture Fund

X-ray tech firm set to improve detection of breast cancer

A County Durham business which has developed a better and safer X-ray technology has secured a further £1m of funding to help it develop a new product for use in detecting breast cancer.

It is the second funding round in six months for IBEX Innovations and comes from existing investors IP Group plc and the North East Venture Fund (NEVF), supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Mercia Fund Managers.

The latest investment, which brings the total raised by the company to over £5m, will create eight new jobs. It will help the company to commercialise its existing technology and to develop new hardware for use in mammography tests, following its recent success in winning a £700,000 grant from Innovate UK for the project.

IBEX’s systems fit to existing X-ray machines and can improve the quality of images while reducing the dose of radiation which the patient receives. The technology has been proven in tests with major multinational X-ray companies and in trials at Newcastle‑upon‑Tyne Hospitals and South Tees NHS Trusts.

Neil Loxley, the company’s CEO, said:2019 is set to be an exciting year for IBEX as we move from the research and development phase to the full commercialisation of our Trueview medical imaging product. We are grateful for the continued support of IP Group and the North East Venture Fund in the latest funding round. We expect that patients will begin to see the benefits of the improved X-ray image quality delivered by Trueview as early as 2020.”

Ian Wilson, who leads Mercia’s team in the North East, added: “IBEX’s technology is ideal for mammography tests as fatty deposits in the body can compromise the image quality of X-rays. The new investment will allow it to develop a new mammography application, and support the wider commercialisation of Trueview to secure adoption by major medical imaging companies.”

Jason Hobbs, CEO of the North East Fund, said: “Ibex is a great example of an organisation with huge potential, and one that the North East Fund is very pleased to support. The technologies which they are developing will benefit many people and the investment secured will now enable the company to drive forward growth, create new jobs and achieve continued success here in the region.”

The NEVF can invest up to £1.0million for firms in Northumberland, Durham and Tyne & Wear, particularly those which are engaged in innovation or developing disruptive business models. Funding is available to all companies with high growth potential and also pre-start enterprises.