Developing a smaller, more affordable proton beam therapy system called LIGHT
Gearing up for commercialisation
First patient set to be treated at Harley Street building next year
Technology-based on work by ADAM, a spin-off of CERN
What Advanced Oncotherapy do:
The technology is based on work by ADAM, which AVO bought in 2013 from CERN – the world’s largest particle physics lab that built the Hadron collider.
The major plus point of proton therapy is that it can pinpoint tumours more precisely, which means less damage to surrounding healthy tissues.
Proton therapy facilities have traditionally been pricey and large, requiring a space the size of a football pitch to run.
But AVO thinks it has solved that problem, and LIGHT is being built to fit in the basement of a townhouse in Harley Street, central London.
Its modular design, lighter weight and better proton efficiency also help to keep costs down, which should open proton therapy up to many more patients.
How it’s doing
Building work at the Harley Street facility is expected to finish later this year, with the first patient on track to be treated at the facility in the second half of 2020.
AVO has managed to strike a deal with the freeholder of the building, the Howard de Walden Estate, which is covering the cost of all the construction work.
As the company moves nearer to treating the first patient, it has started to gear up its commercial infrastructure with the appointment of an experienced chief commercial officer.
Moataz Karmalawy is a “veteran in the commercialisation of PBT technology”, according to research house Hardman & Co, given his previous jobs at Varian and Philips Medical.
Financially, Advanced Onco £2.9mln in July at 40p per share to follow £18.4mln raised in July through debt and a share subscription.
On February 11, AVO said it had selected The London Clinic to staff and run a second proton beam facility.
The two companies have signed an outline deal called a memorandum of understanding under which AVO will lease part of The London Clinic's premises to install the treatment room.
A profit-sharing agreement has been put in place, although full commercial details were not revealed.
What bosses are saying: Nicholas Serandour, chief executive
"Because our LIGHT system has been designed to significantly reduce the treatment cost of patient and it can be installed in small to mid-size health care centres throughout the country, every patient ought to benefit from a proton therapy centre in their vicinity which is expected to drive patients’ demand for this treatment."
What analysts are saying
“Demand for PBT is increasing worldwide, and the need for a small, flexible, affordable and close-to-patient system is desirable,” said Hardman & Co in a recent note to clients.
“With LIGHT, AVO is aiming to provide customers with a fully integrated PBT solution.
“AVO’s market capitalisation of £90mln equates only to the amount of money invested into LIGHT to date, which does not reflect either the enormous technical challenges that have been overcome or the large market potential.”
Speaking about the appointment of new CCO Moataz Karmalawy, Hardman added: “The appointment of such an experienced executive from a major competitor is a major coup for the company and should provide the market with greater confidence in LIGHTS’s commercial prospects.”
- Construction of the first centre in Harley Street is completed
- Treatment of the first patient in 2020
- AVO predicts 9,000 additional treatment rooms will be needed by 2040