Personalised medicine designed to enhance people's chances of quitting smoking

The latest spin-out from the University of Oxford, G-Nostics, focuses on personalised medicine designed to enhance people's chances of quitting smoking.

Based on research carried out by Dr Rob Walton in the University's Department of Clinical Pharmacology, the company is the 40th to spin out of the University, aided by Isis Innovation, the University's technology transfer company.

Smoking has been identified as the principal avoidable cause of premature deaths in the UK. One in two smokers dies prematurely: of these, nearly one in four will die of lung cancer. G-Nostics plans to give people suffering from nicotine addiction a powerful new tool, which will give them greater control of their bodies than was previously possible.

Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been identified that have highly predictive associations with nicotine addiction and therefore tobacco consumption. These SNPs can provide insight to help individuals decide which specific smoking cessation methods would be effective, offering personalised treatment to the smoker which significantly increases their chances of quitting.

The discovery has allowed the development of a simple diagnostic test to assess the degree of dependence. By combining the results with qualitative information, a treatment programme can be tailored to an individual’s needs.

G-Nostics Ltd was formed to exploit this technology, with the Oxford Gateway Fund No.2 acting as the lead investor. Ted Mott, CEO of Oxford Capital Partners Ltd, who manage the fund, said: 'Personalised treatment is the future, and G-Nostics is pushing the frontiers of medicine. Smoking-related disease is the biggest cost to the NHS. As a science investor, Oxford Capital Partners is committed to supporting the success of G-Nostics.'

The company has appointed Mark Tucker as CEO, who said: 'We are focused on delivering one of the first, and most significant, products within the rapidly emerging field of 'Personalised Medicine' as soon as possible.' The company expects to launch their diagnostic service in late 2004.

Oxford University, Cancer Research Technology, Oxford Radcliffe Hospital Trust and the Management Team are all shareholders in the recently funded company alongside the Oxford Gateway Fund No.2.

Tom Hockaday, Isis Innovation's Executive Director, said: 'We are delighted to have been involved in the formation of G-Nostics, a company with strong plans for the future, and we wish them every success.'

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