Technology group awarded £2.5m for breast cancer screening research

Technology group Kromek has been awarded £2.5m from Innovate UK to support two research programmes into breast cancer screening solutions.

Kromek uses radiation and bio-detection technology solutions and is looking to further develop a low-dose molecular breast imaging (“MBI”) technology.

Dr Nerys Forester, consultant breast radiologist at Newcastle Hospitals, said: “In future, we hope this technology could help us to identify breast cancer in women with dense breasts at an earlier stage and save more lives.”

The first project is a feasibility study for using a single photon detector for ultra-low-dose MBI. This 18-month project, worth £0.5m, is to be carried out solely by Kromek.

The second project, worth £2.0m, is a three-year programme to obtain and deliver clinical data on a low-dose MBI system. It is being conducted in partnership with Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (“Newcastle Hospitals”), the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and University College London.

Arnab Basu, chief executive of Kromek Group, said: “Current routine breast screening does not meet everyone’s needs because of its shortcomings in detecting cancers in dense breast tissue, a particular concern for younger women.

“Low-dose molecular breast imaging, which solves this, has the capacity to save thousands more lives, detecting cancers earlier, before they have time to spread. This helps not only the patient, but also the public health authorities who can provide the right treatment earlier and, ultimately, more cost effectively.”

These two projects follow on from the successful outcome of a previous Innovate UK-funded project conducted by Kromek and Newcastle Hospitals to develop a faster, low-radiation dose MBI technology.

Separately, Kromek has reported a44% growth in first-half revenues, to £6.8m.

The group, which is listed on the Alternative Investment Market, said it is “on track for record revenue” in this financial year.

It made a £2.7m loss, as measured by adjusted EBITDA, in the six-month period, which is blamed on the impact of foreign exchange movements and inflation-related costs.

The group expects to be “EBITDA positive and broadly cashflow neutral” in the second half of its financial year.

Dr Basu added: “With the excellent revenue momentum and highest ever levels of customer engagement, we look to the future with confidence.”