Novai, a London, UK-based biotechnology startup originating from University College London, secured £500k in seed funding.
The round was led by SFC Capital.
The company intends to use the funds to further develop AI-powered technology that enables standard medical imaging equipment to identify eye disease at a cellular level up to 18 months earlier than current gold-standard processes. Novai has also appointed Gordon Bethwaite as Acting CEO and added three new senior board members.
Founded by Professor Francesca Cordeiro from UCL and Imperial College London, Novai is a biotechnology startup, commercialising DARC technology, an exploratory retinal biomarker for use in Age-related macular degeneration & glaucoma clinical studies. DARC combines an innovative patented biologic with an AI algorithm and uses standard imaging equipment to identify cellular level disease activity. DARC has been developed by Professor Cordeiro at University College London through Wellcome Trust funding and is now approved as an exploratory biomarker by the FDA & MHRA. Following further analysis of Phase II data, several other indications may follow, including Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease.
Following the closing of seed funding, Novai recently appointed Gordon Bethwaite as Acting CEO. Mr. Bethwaite has worked in eyecare for over 20 years, having held senior management roles in both global market-leading organisations and early commercialisation-stage startups. Novai has also added Dr. Karl Keegan, Rob Thornhill, and Dr. Berwyn Clarke to its board, with Dr. Clarke joining as Chairman. Dr. Keegan and Mr. Thornhill bring experience of business development and big pharma.