Ceryx Medical, a Cardiff-based healthtech start-up developing bioelectronic technology that can mimic nerve centres to control a range of autonomic or rhythmical processes in the human body, has raised £3.8m in seed funding.
The new funding, involving Icehouse Ventures, The Development Bank of Wales, Parkwalk Advisors, Business Growth Fund and a consortium of Angel investors, will be used to commercialise its unique cardiology technology and commence the first-in-human clinical study of Ceryx’s innovative cardiac rhythm management device, Cysoni, later this year.
Cysoni is a bionic device that paces the heart with real-time respiratory modulation. It replicates the natural interaction between heart rate and breathing, prompting the heart to beat as its user breathes, as opposed to the strict ‘metronomic’ beat generated by traditional pacemakers. Cysoni’s ability to listen and respond to the body in this way is a real step forward in the treatment of patients with serious heart conditions.
Dr Stuart Plant, CEO of Ceryx said, “Our studies have found that Cysoni’s way of pacing the heart increased cardiac output by 20%, when compared with monotonic pacing. The benefits of this for cardiology patients are potentially life-changing and life-extending, because as well as enabling the heart to work more efficiently, Cysoni also repairs the structure of single heart cells. It’s a huge scientific breakthrough.”
Of the 26 million heart failure patients worldwide, around 50% die within five years of diagnosis. It’s a statistic Stuart and his team aim to change, with global use of Cysoni their target over the next five to ten years.
“All the signs point to Cysoni being capable of not only making daily life better for those with heart problems, but also of improving the prognosis for even the most seriously ill cardiology patients,” said Stuart. “This latest round of funding will enable us to develop our technology for human use and embark on the next phase of rigorous testing.”
The Ceryx team, alongside scientists from the Universities of Auckland, Bath and Bristol, aims to begin in-human trials in the UK and New Zealand in the final quarter of 2022.
Stuart explained, “Cysoni will eventually be an implantable device, but for the purpose of the in-human trials we’ll use an external pacemaker device, loaded with Cysoni technology, to pace the hearts of patients with heart failure who have undergone a coronary artery bypass. Normally these patients receive pacing for a few hours after surgery and pacing is then removed. We will pace post-surgery for the whole time they remain in hospital, so we’ll build a really good picture of what Cysoni can do. If patients respond in the same way as our preclinical models, we should see significant improvements in their cardiac performance, which we’re confident will translate to improved outcomes.”
The investment comes at a critical time for Ceryx as it seeks to capitalise on advancements it has made over the last two years in particular. Following backing by Development Bank of Wales, ParkWalk and Angels in 2020, the company was able to accelerate preclinical evaluation of its technology, culminating in the results being published in a leading cardiology journal and positioning the company for progression into a first-in-human study. Now with the added support of new investors, progress is gathering yet more pace.
Robbie Paul, CEO of Icehouse Ventures, who led the investment said, “We’re delighted to back Stuart and his world-class team. The Ceryx Medical technology is nothing short of cutting-edge and the team have achieved impressive results from their trials to date. We look forward to supporting the company as it embarks on first-in-human trials across the United Kingdom and New Zealand for its breakthrough medical device.”
Dr Richard Thompson, Senior Investment Executive at the Development Bank of Wales, said: “We’re hugely impressed with the progress made by Ceryx Medical. The lifesaving potential of Cysoni and related developments can’t be overstated and we're eager to see how Ceryx’s technology performs as trials continue for this pioneering Welsh medtech company. We’re pleased to have supported them with our equity investment, and to have co-invested alongside such a strong syndicate."
Alun Williams, Investment Director at Parkwalk said, “Ceryx is an excellent example of how science originally created within the UK’s universities can be the basis of a potentially world-leading technology business. We were delighted to be part of the company’s first fundraising round through our University of Bristol Enterprise Fund, and now our main Opportunities EIS Fund is part of this syndicate at a point of huge significance for the business. We are really excited to see where Stuart and the team take this technology next.”