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UK startup bags £1.2M to develop swallowable self-inflating capsule to tackle obesity

Image credits: Oxford Medical Products

Excess weight affects two-thirds of the US and UK population. And there is an urgent need for a safe and affordable solution to help weight loss. And this is where Oxford Medical Products (OMP) fills the gap. 

Based on Oxford, the company is developing a non-surgical weight loss technology Sirona, a self-expanding hydrogel capsule that expands in the stomach and occupies space once swallowed.

Raised £1.2M

Recently, the company has secured £1.2M in seed investment led by Ada Ventures with Selvedge Venture alongside several angel investors, including Dr. Nick Edwards, a founder of the company, and Dr. Jan Hruska, co-founder of Sophos.

The funding will be used to complete pre-clinical testing, upscale and outsource manufacturing and grow the team. 

Helping people with weight loss

Professor Jan Czenurska and Dr. Hutan Ashrafian founded Oxford Medical Products in 2017 in an attempt to help people with weight loss. Notably, Dr. Camilla Easter and Dr. Nick Edwards, two medically trained entrepreneurs, joined Oxford Medical Products to turn this vision into a reality.

Easy-to-take capsule

According to the company, Sirona is an easy-to-take capsule. Once in the stomach, it expands rapidly, filling the stomach and providing a feeling of satiety within fifteen minutes. This functions the same way as a gastric balloon but without the need for invasive surgery.

The capsules stay in the stomach for a prolonged period and last several weeks before breaking down gradually and passing naturally over time, ensuring safety, claims the company.

The UK company is currently conducting pre-clinical testing, with the first human studies scheduled for 2022, intending to launch a commercial product in 2024.

Dr. Camilla Easter, CEO of Oxford Medical Products, said, “Weight gain is preventable but, despite over a hundred years of attempts, no universally safe and effective non-surgical weight-loss solution has been found. All successful solutions involve surgery which is costly and invasive. Treatments that are low cost and widely available, historically have poor results, with little or no lasting weight loss for the average person. Oxford Medical Products is here to change this and to hand millions the power to achieve a healthy weight.”

Check Warner, Founding Partner of Ada Ventures commented, “At Ada Ventures we are looking to fund bold, ground-breaking ideas which could positively impact billions of people in big markets. Excessive weight is undoubtedly one of the biggest health challenges we face as a society and is accelerating rapidly. Current ‘treatments’ for obesity are short-term and ineffective or are not widely available and carry unnecessary risk. We are delighted to have led this fundraising round to bring Sirona to market and we look forward to supporting the company through the next phase of development.” 

Alasdair Thong, Founding Partner of Selvedge Venture said, “We’re thrilled to be part of the Oxford Medical Products’ journey and to help develop its unique hydrogel platform technology. At Selvedge Venture, we have a focus on investing to alleviate the vast burden caused by chronic diseases including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and fatty liver disease and we have a huge belief that the development and commercialisation of Sirona will be a key piece of this strategy.”