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AMLo Biosciences: Making waves in the prognosis of skin cancers

AMLo Biosciences: Making waves in the prognosis of skin cancers

AMLo Biosciences is a spin-out company from the University of Newcastle which develops a suite of tests to help improve the management of patients with skin cancers. AMLo’s first product, AMBLor, is a prognostic test for early-stage cutaneous melanoma, which can identify patients at true risk of disease progression. The test is set to transform the current melanoma care pathway, stratifying patients to the most appropriate treatments and follow up, reducing the psychological burden of patients, as well as saving health authorities millions of pounds in unnecessary patient surveillance.

AMLo Biosciences: Making waves in the prognosis of skin cancers

FACT FILE

Start date: 2017

Website: Visit website

Location: Newcastle

Employees: 15

Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe)

Funding: Grants: £440k; Equity: £5m

KEY MILESTONES

January 2017

Started on ICURe programme

October 2017

Company incorporated

October 2017

£218k Innovate UK funding

January 2018

Won £15k NICE Advise Me prize

January 2018

ESIF Northern Accelorator award £15,500

August 2018

Seed funding investment of £890k

October 2018

IIIP-NE PhD Studentship £105,297

October 2019

Shortlisted for Bright Ideas in Health Awards

October 2020

MRC DiMENS PhD studentship case award

November 2020

£1.5m seed funding round closed

November 2020

£25k COVID recovery grant recieved

April 2022

£2.5m investment secured

May 2022

NICE Medtech information briefing on AMBLor published

November 2022

Received Northeast Ambition in kind funding for staff training

August 2022

Grew the team to 15 employees

January 2023

Received ISO 1345 accreditation

February 2023

Grant from Northern Accelerator £45k

February 2023

Signed license agreement for AMBLor launch in USA

May 2023

Looking to raise £3.5m in next investment round

Dr Ashleigh McConnell undertook the ICURe training as the Early Career researcher and subsequently became Research and Development Manager for AMLo Biosciences. Ashleigh says:

“AMLo Biosciences was created as a direct result of my time spent learning the ropes of research commercialisation during the ICURe programme. We believed we had discovered a new diagnostic test that could benefit patients, but we didn’t know if it could be commercially viable or how to take it to market.”

“The ICURe programme guided me through in-depth market research and competitor analysis giving us a wealth of evidence for the real need for the test. We were advised to spin the company out and start applying for grants and investment. That advice gave us the confidence and support we needed to take that first step, and shortly after, we had secured our first investment from Innovate UK of £218k. This was crucial to advance our first AMBLor prognostic test.”

Dr Marie Labus was the Business Advisor on the ICURE project and took up the role of CEO after AMLo Biosciences was formed. Marie says:

“ICURe helped us refine where to place our product in the market by understanding what the clinical community needed. Even after 6 years – we still look back at the conclusions that came out of ICURe. We also made so many key contacts with opinion leaders in the US and we have developed those relationships, they are advocates for the uptake of the product, and that would have been difficult and expensive to do without the ICURe programme.”

“Since ICURe we have made great strides towards our goal of being able to offer diagnostic tests to all patients. In November 2020 we closed out Series A funding round for £1.5m, enabling us to complete our clinical studies and fund the launch of AMBLor in the UK with NICE support.”

“In April 2020 we secured a further £2.5m investment, and we have grown the team to 15 employees. We have onboarded some key hires to manage our regulatory approval in the UK, a biostatistician and a project manager for R&D. We also have a sales and marketing consultancy team based in the US for the launch of the product over there. In January 2023 we received our ISO 1345 accreditation, which is a great milestone.”

“We have now signed a licence agreement with a lab in the US called Avero Diagnostics, and they launched AMBLor in February 2023, so we’re starting to see sales in the US.”

“We are working on three other products which are in the late R&D Stage. The first is a line extension for AMBLor which looks at atypical lesions, to see whether they’re benign or malignant. The second is a complementary product to AMBLor for high risk melanoma, again, using immunohistochemistry, this one is in the late stages of validation. The third is for a second skin cancer called cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, also at the validation stage.”

“Looking ahead we will really focus on the US. It makes up 50% of the total market for our products. Now we’ve done our soft launch in a partnership with Avero Diagnostics. We are now working on raising £2.5 -£3m in the next investment round to set up our own lab in the US to do the testing ourselves rather than partnering with others.”

Dr Marie Labus

Dr Marie Labus, CEO
AMLo Biosciences Ltd

Updated May 2023

 

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