Finance Yorkshire leads investment to fund lung cancer diagnostic technology

John Lucas, CEO of Cizzle Biotech with Heather Roxborough, Investment Manager at Finance Yorkshire

A company working to develop a lung cancer diagnostic has raised more than half a million pounds of funding from a group of investors in the Yorkshire region.

York-based Cizzle Biotech is developing a blood test that has the potential to detect lung cancer in its early stages using technology developed within the University of York.

The Company is founded around the work of Chief Scientific Officer Dr Dawn Coverley on a marker called Ciz1 and is led by CEO, John Lucas. It secured £546,000 investment including £325,000 from Finance Yorkshire’s Seedcorn Fund. The Company’s existing investors Yorkshire Cancer Research and White Rose Technology Seedcorn Fund also continued to support the company, investing £150,000 and £50,000 respectively.

Commenting on the Company’s business and the new financing, Dr Lucas said “Lung cancer is responsible for more deaths of cancer patients than breast, colorectal and cervical tumours combined and, unlike these other forms of cancer, there is no screening program in place to identify patients when lung cancer is at an early stage. As a result, patients are often diagnosed late and prognosis is poor. We are developing a new test that has the potential to detect early stage lung cancer simply and quickly using a small blood sample.

We plan to work with leading cancer institutions across the globe to further demonstrate the clinical benefits of our technology. We are hoping to develop the product to a stage where we will be able to partner with a leading player in the diagnostic industry who will be able to take the test through the required clinical and regulatory processes and to the market place.

“To achieve these goals, this new investment is critical.

‘’Finance Yorkshire have been very supportive throughout the fund raising process and Investment Manager Heather Roxborough gave us a lot of guidance. We are delighted to have Finance Yorkshire as our new lead investor and also that Yorkshire Cancer Research and White Rose remain supportive of our work.”

Dawn Coverley, founder and CSO of Cizzle said: “There is so much good scientific research in British universities that could, with the right investment, be translated into a clinically useful commercial product. Sadly, most don’t receive the necessary support to make this transition. This investment is very important to Cizzle and will allow us to develop a technology that could have a big impact on the lives of cancer patients”.

Heather Roxborough, Finance Yorkshire Investment Manager, said: “John and Dawn have worked hard to develop the technology to its current stage and needed the extra finance to take it forward. We are very pleased to have closed this investment and look forward to working with Yorkshire Cancer Research, White Rose and the Cizzle team during 2012.

“We believe Cizzle is developing an exciting technology, which holds real commercial promise and has the potential to save many lives.’’

Morgan Williams, Commercial Development Officer for Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “Translating research into commercial applications is a huge challenge. There is a significant lack of funding for very early stage technologies and so support of developments like this, by ourselves and others, is extremely important in the fight against cancer.

“Despite causing the highest number of cancer-related deaths in the UK and being the second most common cancer in the country, lung cancer currently receives just 5.3% of national funding. Yorkshire Cancer Research is helping to bridge that gap by committing 20% of its research spending to cancers of the lung and airways. We are not only committed to funding research into lung cancer, but also developing key findings for the benefit of patients.”

Finance Yorkshire provides seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2m to help a range of small and medium sized businesses to meet their funding requirements for growth and development.

The project is supported financially by the European Union. It has attracted £30million investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme, £15million from Yorkshire Forward’s Single Programme, and £45million match funding from the European Investment Bank.

For more information about Finance Yorkshire, please visit or ring 0845 649 0000.

For more information about Cizzle Biotech, please visit

Note: this news article is from Finance Yorkshire’s previous fund. Read more about Finance Yorkshire