Hear the story behind the company developing a breathalyzer for disease



The remarkable story of Owlstone, the company developing early cancer detection technology that aims to save 100,000 lives and $1.5bn in health care costs, will be told next week when its co-founder, Billy Boyle, presents the next Cambridge Network Business Lecture. The event, on Tuesday May 23rd, takes place at Mundipharma's HQ on Cambridge Science Park.


Billy Boyle and fellow researchers abandoned their PhDs to develop a revolutionary sensor and in 2004 the plan was to develop a business idea for a dime-sized device that could be programmed to detect a wide range of chemical agents.  The agents may be present in extremely small quantities, but the team was successful in making products that have sold well to partners in the detection industry, whether in defence or food and beverages.

Today Owlstone Medical is applying the technology to the greatest health challenges, devising a simple breath test indicating cancer, inflammatory and infectious disease. And it has attracted a huge amount of interest and investment: just last month an investment from Aviva Ventures, the venture capital arm of Aviva plc, took the company's total funding to £19.3 million GBP ($23.5 million USD).

Using leading-edge micro- and nano- fabrication techniques, Owlstone has created a complete chemical detection system that is one hundred times smaller and one thousand times cheaper than existing technologies. The company has won widespread commercial and academic recognition for its work and its new office on the Science Park was opened last month by Tony Blair.

About Billy Boyle: Since co-founding Owlstone, Billy has been overseeing the development and implementation of the detection technology with nanotechnology foundry partners. He is also active in business development, demonstrating how the Owlstone technology can used to realise a paradigm shift in detection applications and deployment scenarios. Billy is heavily involved in the creation and realisation of new technologies and IP.  Prior to forming Owlstone, Billy was a Research Associate in the Microsystems and Nanotech group at Cambridge University. In an academic / industry consortium he designed and developed silicon-opto hybrid devices for next generation telecoms systems.

Billy is an engaging and knowledgeable speaker and this talk should appeal to academics and post-docs, start-ups and scale-ups, to established businesses and anyone interested in science, technology and business strategy or the Cambridge Phenomenon.

Registration opens for the talk at 6pm and it will be followed by networking until around 8:30pm. The venue is Mundipharma, 196 Cambridge Science Park, CB4 0AB.

Find out more and sign up here.


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