Advanced Oncotherapy Plc (LON:AVO), the developer of next-generation proton therapy systems for cancer treatment, announced today that is has signed a lease with the UK Government’s Science and Technology Facilities Council to establish a UK testing and assembly site for its next generation proton accelerator, “LIGHT”, at the STFC Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire, home to the UK’s Accelerator Science and Technology Centre.
The STFC facility will become the testing and assembly site of the Company’s first fully operational LIGHT system. Building work will now begin to prepare the site to receive the LIGHT system components from June 2018 onwards. This site will then be used to assemble the first LIGHT system capable of accelerating protons to the full 230 MeV required for effective proton therapy treatment of deep seated tumours. The site will be used to complete the verification and validation of the LIGHT system ahead of its submission for regulatory approval, before it is relocated and installed at the first commercial site in Harley Street. As outlined to investors in March 2017, the Company is targeting first patient treatment at Harley Street for H2 2020.
The Company will maintain its testing facility at CERN, Geneva where it continues to advance its LIGHT system technological development.
Advantages of the STFC Daresbury facility
The agreement with STFC provides access to an established and certified facility supported by a strong reputation for the research, development and operation of future particle accelerators. The use of an existing high-tech site will provide advantages in both cost and timescale, but also provides additional risk diversification with an additional production facility option.
STFC was an active partner in the initial installation of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, and further upgrades thereof. The Daresbury Laboratory is home to the Accelerator Science and Technology Centre (ASTeC) and Cockcroft Institute of Accelerator Science and Technology. It houses teams of scientists from STFC and the Universities of Lancaster, Liverpool, Manchester and Strathclyde carrying out research in accelerator science with applications across a range of disciplines.
Production manufacturing options
The Company is aiming at further streamlining the LIGHT system production process. AVO and Thales are in discussion to assess their options for a future collaboration on the industrialization of the machine and supply chain strategy. Also, the opportunity exists to scale up the manufacturing infrastructure through the set-up of additional production sites.
Commenting, Nicolas Serandour, CEO of Advanced Oncotherapy Plc, said: “Our agreement with the Science and Technology Facilities Council is an important step towards the construction of our first fully operational LIGHT system, to be constructed within the UK’s accelerator research and innovation hub. Having a facility with established infrastructure, a certified site and a huge wealth of shared knowledge in the area of accelerators allows us to quickly move forward the construction of the first commercial LIGHT system in a cost-effective way.
“Our Geneva testing facility will see the acceleration of protons to energies capable of treating superficial tumours by the end of Q3 this year and, using the detailed results from that process, we will construct our first fully operational system at the STFC Daresbury Laboratory. I am particularly pleased that a technology that will be available first in the very heart of London’s renowned Harley Street medical district will be constructed in the heart of the UK’s foremost centre for advanced particle acceleration innovation.”
Professor Susan Smith, Head of STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, said: “Working with Advanced Oncotherapy in the construction of their first fully operational proton therapy test centre for the UK here at STFC is fantastically exciting, and a true recognition of our world-leading skills and experience in this area. At STFC we are committed to developing accelerator technology and expertise to address the world’s key challenges, as well as to helping businesses innovate to the benefit of our society and our economy. The opportunity to work with Advanced Oncotherapy is a shining example of how the public sector can work with industry towards game-changing technologies that will have a huge impact on people’s lives. It also demonstrates the potential and value to the UK industry of the UK’s membership into major international research facilities, including CERN.”