Crescent Diagnostics Secures Euro 1.5 Million (US2.2 million) for its Predictive test for Osteoporotic Fracture
22 June, 2011 – DUBLIN, Ireland: Crescent Diagnostics Ltd, (“Crescent”) , a developer of novel tests for predicting osteoporotic fracture risk, today announced that it has raised Euro 1.5 million ($2.2 million) in Series A funding to support the development of BQT®, a predictive test for the disease.
Crescent’s novel test, developed at the University of Limerick, will enable physicians to diagnose the risk of osteoporosis-related fracture both quickly and easily, using a small nail clipping. The BQT® analyser uses Raman spectroscopy to examine the chemical bonds in the toenail. Crescent’s research has shown that the structure and quantity of the chemical bonds in the human toenail is indicative of future hip fracture risk and is independent of bone mineral density (BMD), the standard test today. When BQT® test development is complete, a physician will be able to send a nail clipping to a laboratory for analysis, with results made available to the patient within a matter of days.
More than 300,000 people in Ireland have osteoporosis and one in two women over 50 are at-risk of a fragility fracture which can cost up to €12,600 to treat. The current gold standard screening method, Dual X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA), is costly, time consuming for patients and only assesses BMD, which is just one of many risk factors contributing to bone fractures. Many patients with acceptable DXA values still suffer fractures and more accurate tests for fracture risk are therefore required.
The funding round was a syndicated deal between AIB Seed Capital Fund co-managed by Enterprise Equity Venture Capital, Bank of Ireland Seed Fund managed by Kernel Capital, and existing venture investor Seroba BioVentures. The funds will be used to run additional clinical trials and to advance BQT® to regulatory approval in both the US and EU.
Ernie Poku, CEO of Crescent, commented: “There is a massive unmet need for more convenient, accurate and affordable bone fracture testing. The BQT® test is a novel solution with the potential to significantly enhance osteoporosis diagnosis by measuring completely different risk factors to tests like DXA. This funding will allow us to complete additional clinical trials and bring BQT® to market.”
This latest funding round will see Enterprise Equity partner Eric Reed joining the company’s board of directors. “Crescent is an excellent example of a highly innovative early stage company that has significant growth potential” said Reed.
Commenting on the announcement, Orla Rimmington, Operations Director, Kernel Capital said: “Kernel Capital through the Bank of Ireland Seed Fund are delighted to support dynamic Irish companies like Crescent. On average every 3 seconds someone in the world suffers a fracture as a result of osteoporosis, Crescent’s technology developed at the University of Limerick has significant commercial potential in helping to identify patients at risk of bone fracture earlier and reduce associated health-care costs.”
Alan O’Connell, Partner at Seroba said “We’re delighted to continue to support Ernie and the team as Crescent moves into commercialization. We believe BQT will offer significant advantages in the market over existing diagnostic offerings.”
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