AVO’s goal is to deliver an affordable and novel proton therapy system (PT), based on state-of-the-art technology developed originally at the world-renowned CERN. Achievement of major technical milestones has boosted confidence greatly, and the group remains on track with its strategy. AVO has successfully integrated the four types of structures that constitute the LIGHT accelerator and has overcome technical challenges. The proton beam has been recorded at an energy of 52MeV, sufficient to treat superficial tumours. With the distribution agreement in place for SE Asia, partnerships with both RaySearch and the STFC, and strengthening of its financing structure, AVO is now on a much firmer footing.
AVO is developing a compact and modular PT system at an affordable price for the payor, financially attractive to the operator, and generating superior patient outcomes. AVO benefits from the technology know-how developed by ADAM, Geneva, and relies on a base of world-class suppliers.
The biggest technical challenge for the proton accelerator has now been overcome. Integration of all the four components at CERN’s testing facility in Geneva is, in our opinion, a major milestone that significantly de-risks the whole project. AVO now has an accelerator that has been powered-up, demonstrated its ability to perform as predicted, and accelerated a proton beam to an energy of 52MeV.
Investment in LIGHT during 2018 has been broadly in line with our forecasts. Moreover, to date in fiscal 2018, AVO has raised ca.£40m, which has left the balance sheet debt-free and with net cash of £3.3m, boosted subsequently by a Placing (£6.4m gross) and a tax credit of £2.9m, providing flexibility in future funding discussions.
With funding secured so far in 2018, AVO’s visibility and its ability to maintain the fast pace of its development plan have improved. Execution risk remains, but the more complex technical challenges have now been overcome, and integration of the remaining CCL units is a technically easy step towards getting a fully functional accelerator.
Demand for PT is increasing worldwide, and the need for a small, flexible, affordable and close-to-patient system is desirable. AVO has attracted strong partners, and discussions with potential customers are advancing. Progress at the flagship Harley Street site has been substantial and installation of the first LIGHT system is planned to start in mid-2019. The latest technical update has brought further assurance and boosted confidence.