Nanotech company Ferronova secures 'Series A funding'

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Australian biotechnology company Ferronova has closed a $3.5 million Series A financing round it will use to fund clinical trials of its cancer tracing nanoparticle.

The round was led by venture capital firm Uniseed with participation from existing and new investors including Artesian Venture Partners and the South Australian Venture Capital Fund (SAVCF). The University of Sydney has also become a shareholder as part of a licensing agreement with the company.

Ferronova CEO Stewart Bartlett said the technology has the potential to transform care for early-stage cancer patients in complex cancers such as colorectal cancer.

“Our nanoparticle technology is designed to track the metastatic path of cancer and will enable surgeons to more accurately retrieve tissue samples and lymph nodes to guide more detailed pathology assessment,” said Mr Bartlett.

“Currently, up to 27 per cent of colorectal cancer patients have undetected micro tumours or isolated cancer cells in lymph nodes which leads to higher mortality rates. This results in 20 per cent of those patients having cancer recurrence within five years. Ferronova’s mission is to provide the tools to solve this problem.”

Uniseed CEO Dr Peter Devine said Ferronova could "move the dial" in treatment for early-stage cancer patients and improving patient outcomes.

“We were attracted to this opportunity due to the strong intellectual property developed at the University of Sydney and the way it is being applied in a novel way to solve a problem that will impact healthcare,” said Dr Devine.

“The management team have significant medical device startup experience here and overseas, and we are looking forward to working with them to progress the product through clinical trials.”

The South Australian Minister for Innovation and Skills, David Pisoni, said he was plased to see the SAVCF support the investment into Ferronova, which is a company spun out of the University of South Australia.

“Ferronova is an exciting early-stage South Australian biotech company developing a unique cancer diagnostic and I look forward to seeing their continued progress.”

Luke Fay, managing partner of Artesian Ventures said the investment by the SAVCF comes within just two months of Artesian Ventures being appointed to manage the fund.

“Artesian made 10 VC investments across their network in the month of April and has a history of successfully investing in early-stage Australian innovation including backing a number of successful university and incubator spin-outs. We’re excited to be launching our management of the SAVCF with an exciting investment in world class Australian medical technology that has big potential to improve outcomes for cancer patients.”