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Investors put £100m behind new proton beam cancer centres

Proton Partners International has received investment commitments of nearly £100 million to back the building of three proton-beam cancer treatment centres in the UK.  

The company is led by prominent biotech investor Sir Chris Evans, while another notable life science investor, Neil Woodford, is also supporting the scheme.

Proton beam therapy hit the news in 2014 when five-year-old Ashya King was removed from a UK hospital by his parents against medical advice to receive the treatment in Prague. King’s parents say their son is now cancer free.

The treatment is considered revolutionary because it potentially causes less damage to tissue surrounding the cancer cells than the radiotherapy technique commonly used by UK hospitals.  

Proton Partners International will build the three centres in Cardiff, London and Newcastle, with the facilities due to open in 2017.

Evans said: “I love the NHS. It is a fantastic British institution, but there is a limit to what it can do. They are going to end up with a lot of patients who will want proton-beam therapy and they will not be able to meet demand through their own centres.”

The investor estimated that demand for proton-beam therapy on the NHS could reach 1,500 patients a year over the next two years. The cost of sending patients overseas to receive the treatment could reach over £170 million.

Dr Karol Sikora (pictured), chief medical officer at Cancer Partners UK and former head of the World Health Organisation cancer programme, will be chief medical adviser to Proton Partners. Gordon McVie, senior consultant at the European Institute of Oncology will be chairman.

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Posted on: 13/04/2015

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