Pneumacare £2m round triggers global roll-out
A global roll-out of cutting-edge Cambridge technology that fights respiratory illness has been triggered by PneumaCare’s £2m funding round.
The company’s PneumaScan™ device spells new hope for youngsters under the age of six who develop problems like cystic fibrosis and asthma or lung conditions like COPD. Earlier diagnosis means earlier treatment.
New backer Sud Investments led the latest round with a group of existing investors including Cambridge Enterprise, Cambridge Capital Group and members of the Cambridge Angels group.
Clinical and commercial use of PneumaScan are underway in the UK at Papworth and Addenbrooke’s Hospitals in Cambridge, the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford and Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
Chairman Dr Bill Mason said the cash would enable PneumaCare to fast-track commercialisation of PneumaScan in Europe and achieve regulatory approval in the US and elsewhere in the world.
He said: “The revolutionary and disruptive technology offered by PneumaCare will enable clinicians worldwide to assess a much wider group of patients with breathing difficulties and also explore potential applications in critical care and home monitoring.”
PneumaCare has worked closely with another of its investors, Plextek Ltd, to transform 3D motion capture technology, originally developed for the computer game and film industries, into PneumaScan.
The device uses light to measure and monitor how deeply and how quickly a patient is breathing, and what muscle groups are being used. It achieves the same results as the traditional spirometer but has several advantages, the crucial one being that no physical contact is necessary.
With the patient lying, sitting or standing, a small video projector casts a checkerboard pattern onto their chest and abdomen. As they breathe in and out, their chest rises and falls and the projected pattern changes shape.
Cameras record the changing images and feed them to a computer, where they combine to give a 3D reconstruction of the chest. PneumaScan’s algorithms analyse the visual reference points of the checkerboard pattern, and show changes in the volume of the patient’s chest.
Dr Richard Iles, the company’s founder and chief medical officer said: “This non-invasive technology, which has been validated against clinical spirometry, has great potential for a range of specialties, including critical care, anaesthetics and the emergency department.
“But it will be particularly valuable in the clinic for patients under the age of six with problems like cystic fibrosis and asthma, and non-compliant patients who cannot use a spirometer.
“In addition, many adult lung conditions like COPD may begin in early childhood, so if PneumaScan makes it possible for us to identify them earlier, we will be able to start treatment earlier.”• Photograph shows: PneumaCare CMO Dr Richard Iles (left) and CEO, Dr Ward Hills with PneumaScan