Proton Partners International set for £320m float

Proton Partners International is gearing up for a £320m float

Cancer care specialist Proton Partners International (PPI) is poised for a £320m flotation on London’s NEX Exchange.

The company, which was launched in 2015 by Mike Moran and international cancer experts, including Professor Karol Sikora, is looking to raise £50m via the listing on NEX’s Growth Market and is expected to submit its application within the next month.

A spokesman for PPI confirmed it was planning to list on the junior market as part of its long-term growth and development strategy.

‘We see NEX as the ideal stepping stone for our company in taking it from a burgeoning private enterprise into a more structured public market environment. This has the support of our diverse range of shareholders and will enable the company to continue its progression as well as widen the shareholder base,’ he said.

Institutional and private investors have committed to almost £143m equity finance in the company since its launch in 2015. Significant shareholders include Woodford Investment Management, IBA, which make the proton beam systems, Swedish radiotherapy business Elekta, health technology firm Royal Philips and the Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund. Earlier this month, Royal Philips said it had increased its investment in the business as it rolled out its Rutherford Cancer Centres across the UK.

The first Centre opened in Newport, Wales in 2017 and has treated 30 patients with ‘high energy’ proton beam technology since last April. Its centres in Reading and Bomarsund in Northumberland are currently offering conventional cancer treatments and plan to start treating the first patients with proton beam therapy later this year.  A fourth centre in Liverpool, Merseyside, is being built with further sites ‘under consideration’.

‘In only four years we have built and opened three of the most advanced cancer centres in the UK offering proton beam therapy. A fourth Rutherford Cancer Centre is under construction. We were extremely proud to treat the first patient in the UK to receive high energy proton beam therapy in April last year at our centre in Newport and have continued to treat a range of patients with PBT and conventional cancer treatments,’ said the company.

Proton beam therapy hit the headlines in 2014 when Ashya King was taken by his parents from a UK hospital to Prague to receive treatment for a brain tumour. Following his recovery, then Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced plans to open two high energy proton beam centres in England. The first at Manchester’s Christie Hospital began treating patients in December and a second at UCLH in London is due to open in 2020. Private company Advanced Oncotherapy is currently building its ‘next generation’ proton beam therapy centre in London’s Harley Street Medical District and is due to begin treating patients in 2020.

However, despite the newly available UK capacity, NHS patients are still being sent abroad for treatment and demand is expected to grow, with some estimates suggesting that around 10% of the 90,000 patients in the UK receiving radical radiotherapy each year could be treated with proton beam technology.