Progressing skin and oral cancer treatment with CPI

CPI is collaborating with LightOx on a photonics project to progress the development of next generation skin and oral cancer treatment using phototherapeutic methods.

LightOx is now in a position where it can begin to look at attracting further investment and move through the pre-clinical pathway towards the clinical phase.


CPI provided us with guidance on the healthcare regulation landscape, and this knowledge provided has been essential to help us develop our company strategy moving forward.”

Dr Carrie Ambler, CSO


LightOx Limited, a spin-out of Durham University, is working on light-based treatments to target removal of skin and oral cancer cells.

LightOx is developing a range of molecular tools for use in imaging, therapeutics and assay development, with its unique probes smaller than any other commercially available fluorescent product, for this application.

Its small molecules enable cell imaging, detection, tracking and tagging of bioactive molecules, with these tags imaged using fluorescence and Raman spectroscopy.

The small size of these probes mean they bypass traditional problems associated with fluorescent probes and provide facile delivery into the cell and minimal disruption to cell activity, fundamentally changing the way in which these therapies can be delivered to patients.

Its technology is also able to target therapeutic action to particular body sites, using a simple delivery system that enables instant treatment and cell death of selected cells and tissues without damage to healthy cells, minimising side-effects for patients.

The Objectives

Provide a developmental pathway for the progression of LightOx’s molecular technology

Deliver photophysical analysis of LightOx’s fluorescent drugs to allow for greater understanding and product development

Build and deliver a controllable, calibrated, light delivery system to allow for compound screening of LightOx’s technology

Provide regulatory and healthcare industry governance support

The collaboration between CPI and LightOx forms part of the Spotlight programme, which itself is a partnership between CPI and Durham University, funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Providing support to SMEs in the County Durham area, Spotlight helps ambitious businesses with early stage proof of concept research and the scaling-up of photonics technologies to accelerate commercialisation.

Working closely with LightOx, CPI has built LightOx Boxes to enable compound screening of LightOx’s molecules to better understand its range and progress the drug development cascade.

The personal support of CPI’s expert healthcare photonics team has accelerated research and allowed LightOx to gain valuable understanding around the delivery of the project and the project’s overall development.

By developing specialist equipment for LightOx to screen its compounds, CPI has enabled the company to move forward along the manufacturing pathway.

LightOx is now able to screen its compounds with greater analytical ability, strengthening areas such as the energy needed to accelerate its compounds and overall compound selection to move forward the process of delivering reproducible, robust assays.

In the wider context, this work has given LightOx a greater insight into accessing manufacturing needs and support for future designing of devices needed to further develop its range.

LightOx’s probes represent a unique method for the delivery of fluorescent probes into cells, with their unique properties, from simple staining to targeted delivery, enabling a multitude of cell staining capabilities.

By working with CPI, through the Spotlight programme, LightOx has been able to benefit from the expertise of CPI staff to accelerate research in an important healthcare area.

The company has moved forward its analysis work and is now in a position where it can begin to look at attracting further investment and move through the pre-clinical pathway towards the clinical phase, ultimately leading to the availability of these therapeutic treatments for patients.

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