Research

£2.75 million spinout deal offers dialysis hope

An Edinburgh spinout whose innovative products could save kidney patients’ lives has raised £2.75m in a new funding deal.

Dialysis technology company Invizius has secured funding from a consortium of investors including Mercia Asset Management and the University’s own venture investment fund, Old College Capital.

Invizius stems from years of research by Dr Andy Herbert and his team in the University’s School of Chemistry. In May 2018 he co-founded Invizius and became the Chief Technology Officer at the company.

Reducing risk

The researchers believe they have found a way to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease among patients undergoing long-term dialysis.

Dialysis is a procedure to remove waste products and excess fluid from the blood, when the kidneys have stopped working properly. It commonly involves diverting blood through a man-made filter to be cleansed of toxins.

The problem is that the patient’s immune system sees the dialysis filter as a foreign body, creating inflammation that damages the cardiovascular system over time.

Invizius has developed H-Guard, a so-called ‘invisibility cloak’ for the filter, effectively hiding it from the immune system.

The latest investment will support Invizius as it conducts further testing, as well as preparing for the next stage, including pre-clinical trials.

Dialysis treatment

Despite improvements in dialysis therapy, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death for dialysis patients.

Almost half of all dialysis patients die from cardiovascular complications, and life expectancy on dialysis is just one-third of that for the general population.

Immune response

Invizius’s H-Guard product is a powerful anti-inflammatory used during the normal priming procedure to coat the filter surface. Upon contact with the patient’s blood, it makes the surface seem less foreign to the patient’s immune system.

Unlike some other proposed solutions, H-Guard does not shut down the immune system but instead effectively ‘hides’ the device from it to prevent an immune response.

There is potential to use the technology with other devices such as heart and lung machines, stents and grafts or in organ and cell transplants.

Exciting partnership

The University signed a partnership agreement with Mercia in November 2017, which included hosting Mercia staff on campus and Mercia earmarking funding for investment in opportunities developed by the University.

Mercia made an initial investment in Invizius of £50,000 in April 2018. The latest investment consortium includes Downing Ventures, the Scottish Investment Bank and the University’s Old College Captial.

This investment allows us to take a big step towards our goal to bring much needed improvement to the lives of three million dialysis patients and we are delighted to have won the backing of a consortium of smart, well-funded investors.

Dr Andy HerbertCo-Founder and CTO of Invizius

Industry engagement

The Invizius team is supported by Edinburgh Innovations, the University’s commercialisation service. Edinburgh Innovations has also helped develop the partnership between Mercia and the University, and manages Old College Capital.

Staff, students, businesses and other organisations can contact Edinburgh Innovations to help link the University's work with industry’s and society’s needs.

This substantial investment reflects the great promise we’ve seen in Invizius from the initial identification of novel science. Old College Capital is pleased to be part of the consortium backing this technology, which holds so much potential for so many people, and Edinburgh Innovations looks forward to continuing to support the Invizius team.

Dr George BaxterChief Executive Officer, Edinburgh Innovations

Related links

Edinburgh Innovations

Invizius

Mercia