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26 September, 2017 - 11:59 By Tony Quested

Japanese nanotech spin-off in Cambridge cancer venture

Mursla Victor Serdio

A nanosensor spin-off from Tokyo Institute of Technology has set up a base in Cambridge to foster a cancer diagnostic collaboration with the university.

Operating from ideaSpace West in Cambridge, Mursla is developing a diagnostic device that leverages proprietary nanostructures to significantly improve cancer detection. It says its technology has the potential to simplify the whole cycle of cancer management through utilising a novel, non-invasive procedure called liquid biopsy.

Mursla believes it provides a competitive and differentiated proposal with much larger predictive power than deep gene sequencing technologies as it relies on large panels of approved protein biomarkers. It is collaborating with the University of Cambridge to develop an integrated prototype device.

Co-founder and CEO Pierre Arsène said the platform technology was initially created for the semiconductor industry to keep doubling chip computing capacity at the same price every two years. But silicon-based materials have now reached their limits and need to be replaced by components that can maintain their critical semi-conducting properties below 10-15nm, he says.

“Our breakthrough technology enables the mass fabrication of novel devices designed to find the next generation of those materials. 

“Instead of incorporating nanostructures to test their semiconducting properties, we decided to integrate the smallest biomolecules (such as proteins) so that we can analyse, detect and differentiate them for medical diagnostics purposes via their unique resistance/capacitance.”

Mursla’s management is high profile. Arsène had 10 years of investment banking experience in the healthcare & consumer retail industries, mainly at J.P. Morgan in London and Tokyo.

He has advised dozens of multinational companies on mergers & acquisitions, financing, deal executions, strategic considerations and contract negotiations and was nominated by eFinancialCareers as one of the “most impressive Vice Presidents” in London.

Fellow founder and chief scientific officer Victor Serdio (pictured above) was recognised as ‘2015 Innovator of the Year’ by the MIT Technology Review and has been a postdoctoral fellow in the Materials and Structures Laboratory in the Tokyo Institute of Technology since 2014.

Mursla’s scientific board comprises distinguished professors and members of the University of Cambridge and the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

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