Cambridge Raman Imaging completes £250,000 funding round to commercialise novel medical microscope technology


Cambridge Raman Imaging Limited (the “Company”) has made significant progress to commercialise its innovative graphene-enabled scanning Raman microscope.

The Company, a spin out from the University of Cambridge is jointly developing the technology with its wholly-owned Italian subsidiary Cambridge Raman Imaging s.r.l., a spin out from the Politecnico di Milano in Italy. They have:   

  • raised £250,000 through an investment by external investors in return for 16.7 per cent of the Company
  • seen Cambridge Raman Imaging s.r.l  recognised as an official spin out from the Politecnico di Milano, opening up access to facilities and further funding opportunities
  • appointed ultrafast and medical lasers specialist Dr Matteo Negro as Chief Technology Officer.

The investment will support development of  the Company’s graphene-based ultrafast laser technology for use in  a medical microscope to diagnose and track tumours, and other detection applications.

It is the first external equity investment in the Company and values it at £1.5 million. Frontier IP’s equity holding is now 25.8  per cent. It follows a €140,000 grant awarded earlier this year by the EU Graphene Flagship to accelerate the technology’s development. The completion of the funding round does not materially impact the book value of Frontier IP’s portfolio.

The microscope will generate real-time digital images of fresh tissue samples using Raman spectroscopy to differentiate between healthy and diseased tissue to show the extent of tumours, their response to drug treatments and to allow surgeons to see if a cancer has been completely removed.

The technology uses graphene and other 2D materials in two fibre-based pico-second pulsing lasers that can be synchronised in time. This architecture is much lower cost than conventional solid-state systems, because it uses cheaper commercially available fibre-based lasers.

Formal recognition as an official Politecnico di Milano spin out means the Company is now able to use facilities provided by the university, including office space and laboratories.  This, in addition, will allow Cambridge Raman Imaging to be incubated by PoliHub, recently ranked as one of best five university incubators in the world, according to the 2019-2020 UBI Global World Rankings of Business Incubators and Accelerators, and apply for investment from its broad commercial arm.

Dr Negro’s previous role was as Laser R&D manager for Bios, an Italian company wholly owned by Lumenis, a global leader in medical lasers. He has a PhD in Physics, and more than 10 years’ experience in the laser field.

Cambridge Raman Imaging s.r.l, a joint spin-off of Politecnico di Milano and University of Cambridge, represents an ambitious technology transfer project for the translation of cancer diagnosis and monitoring research into concrete results. This new company represents a great opportunity for technological and socio-cultural growth and allows new markets opening thanks to the capability to combine high quality research results with their social utility and positive impact in real life.

Professor Davide Moscatelli, Delegate of the Dean of Politecnico di Milano for Research Valorisation and Technology

News like this is the proof that innovation finds fertile ground in academic realities and shows the ability of the Politecnico di Milano to transform business ideas into structured companies. The collaboration with the University of Cambridge is also an important signal of how startups can and should aim high, trying immediately to bring their ideas abroad, opening up to new skills and funding opportunities to reach an international market.

Professor Andrea Sianesi, President of PoliHub

The announcements we are making today – the collaboration, the investment, the appointment of Dr Negro and the official recognition from the Politecnico di Milano, are all important steps in their own right for Cambridge Raman Imaging. We look forward to now moving on at pace in bringing its technology to market. 

Paul Mantle, Director, Cambridge Raman Imaging

We are delighted with the very strong progress being made by Cambridge Raman Imaging with its industry, investment and academic partners. Such collaborations are vital to what we do at Frontier IP in bringing together partners from across the worlds of industry, research and finance.

Neil Crabb, Chief Executive Officer, Frontier IP Group plc