Advanced Oncotherapy (AVO), the developer of next-generation proton therapy systems for cancer treatment, announces that it has signed a joint venture agreement with CircleHealth to operate the Company’s proton beam cancer therapy centre in Harley Street.
Circle, owned by AIM-listed Circle Holdings plc (CIRC) which is an employee co-owned company, runs hospitals and healthcare across the UK. It has nearly 2,000 partners, working across four UK sites.
Under the terms of the agreement, Advanced Oncotherapy and Circle will jointly own a newly formed company into which funding of £6 million will be provided in equal portions by the parties and will cover, inter alia, pre-opening costs and working capital. The arrangement, together with further definitive agreements to be finalised in the coming months, would combine Circle’s clinician-led operating model with Advanced Oncotherapy’s next-generation proton therapy systems for cancer treatment. Once the centre commences operation the equity in the operating company will be owned as to 50.1% by Circle and the remaining 49.9% by Advanced Oncotherapy.
The Harley Street facility will house the UK’s first high energy proton beam cancer therapy centre. Circle Health will take responsibility for all operational and clinical matters at the facility as well as the additional procurement, fit-out and facility testing requirements needed for full commissioning and beyond the testing required during the technical development of the system. Circle Health will also take responsibility for insurance provision for the centre. Advanced Oncotherapy will take responsibility for all technical matters. A number of proposals from international financial institutions concerning the provision of vendor finance for the LIGHT technology in Harley Street are being considered.
The LIGHT (short for Linac Image Guided Hadron Technology) system, is a proprietary proton accelerator that will offer healthcare providers affordable proton therapy systems to treat cancer using a technology that in many instances can produce better health outcomes and lower treatment related side effects. The LIGHT system achieves the required energy levels found in legacy proton therapy machines but in a unit that is a fraction of the size and significantly lower in cost. The compact configuration of the LIGHT system lends itself perfectly to the installation of this technology in such central city locations, and the Harley Street site will house London’s first ever proton therapy unit.
The Company is also in discussions with Circle surrounding an agreement to supply its LIGHT system alongside CircleHealth’s planned new-build independent hospital in Edgbaston, Birmingham.
Steve Melton, Chief Executive of CircleHealth, said: “This is great news for patients, for Circle and for Advanced Oncotherapy. Advanced Oncotherapy is creating a genuinely revolutionary technology, at the cutting edge of cancer treatment. We’re delighted to be working with them. When completed this deal means the expansion of Circle into London – giving us a presence in one of the world’s greatest medical centres – and into cancer care, where there is huge potential for new technologies and exciting new treatments. For Circle, this is a clear signal of our intention to grow and expand, by combining our experience in operations with other organisations’ specialist skills.”
Commenting, Sanjeev Pandya, CEO of Advanced Oncotherapy, said: “Circle Health has a great record for providing innovative healthcare delivery and are the ideal candidate to operate our flagship Harley Street site. Whilst we expect our ongoing business model to focus on Advanced Oncotherapy as a manufacturer of cutting edge proton therapy systems, we felt it was crucial, given the strategic importance of our first site in Harley Street, to have a vested interest in the ongoing operational success of our facility. Working alongside Circle Health, we expect it to transform the UK’s approach to cancer radiotherapy treatment.”
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