© Ed Uthman
© Ed Uthman

Breast cancer test receives vital funding

OncoMark, a University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland, spin-out company focused on the development of novel cancer biomarkers, has secured €2.1m to advance its lead product OncoMasTR.

This novel prognostic test for early-stage breast cancer aims to reduce the number of breast cancer patients receiving unnecessary chemotherapy. The funding round included Kernel Capital (through the Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Venture Funds), the Irrus Investments syndicate, the Galway HBAN MedTech syndicate, private investors and Enterprise Ireland.

Previously awarded €2.7m under the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument, for clinical validation of the OncoMasTR test, the new funding round will allow translation of the test to regulatory approval and commercialisation.

OncoMark was co-founded by Professor William Gallagher and Steve Penney as a spin-out from UCD’s School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and currently has 14 employees.

Des O’Leary, CEO of OncoMark said: “In the absence of accurate tests, the majority of early-stage breast cancer patients are treated with chemotherapy despite many not benefitting from the treatment. This exposes individuals to severe side effects and results in significant costs to healthcare systems worldwide. Approximately 70% of patients do not require chemotherapy after initial surgery, but it has been difficult to identify these individuals.

“The OncoMasTR test is designed to enable a more personalised approach to patient care, helping clinicians to determine which patients should not receive chemotherapy, ultimately improving their quality of life.”

OncoMasTR is due to be launched in 2018.