Cytox has been given a £3.5 million cash injection to help secure its future in helping the detection of Alzheimer’s.

The firm, which has offices in Birmingham, Oxford and Manchester, develops the blood biomarker ADpredict for Alzheimer’s disease in early symptomatic patients.

The company struggled for finances last year and like many smaller biotech firms in the UK, live and die by the smallest of financial margins.

David Evans, chairman of Cytox, says: “I am pleased to announce that we have exceeded our expectations for the first round of funding for Cytox at such an exciting juncture. This investment round is expected to exceed £3.5 million with around 85% coming from new backers. They are as excited as we are by Cytox’s proposition at a time when an early biomarker for Alzheimer’s is so keenly needed.”

The firm is also unveiled the completion of a study sponsored by Roche on ADpredict. Cytox says the results further build their confidence that the assay – based on a totally novel paradigm for the disease-causing mechanism for AD – will become an important tool to assist pharma companies in their development of new therapies.

The results will be used to refine the next steps in assay validation and clinical development. ADpredict has now been tested in close to 300 subjects in three clinical studies; the new data from this has been submitted for publication.

Given its new funding boost, Cytox has also appointed an ex-GE Medical Diagnostics Global head of R&D, Richard Pither, as its new chief executive.

Richard has a background in molecular and cellular pathology and has been involved in the development of diagnostic and therapeutic pharmaceutical products for more than 20 years.

As well as Dr Nagy’s Birmingham lab, Cytox has opened a new HQ office on the Harwell Business Park near Oxford and a new research facility on the Manchester Science Park, adjacent to the University of Manchester.

David Evans added: “We have compelling early validation data supporting the use of the ADpredict blood test in predicting Alzheimer’s disease in the early stages, just when having such a simple research use biomarker has become critically important to the development of new therapies. It was vitally important for us that we got the right team in place to enable us to align our priorities amongst customers in both pharma and clinical markets and offer them the level of expertise they needed to progress their clinical studies.

“We will now push forward with our plans to complete the remaining steps in assay development, deliver near-term revenue opportunities and conduct prospective clinical studies.

“The immediate value in research is clear and, with over 35m people worldwide suffering from dementia and an estimated 75m experiencing some degree of cognitive impairment, the long-term potential for use in clinical trials and diagnostic products is staggering.”