British MedTech firm OrganOx has announced a £4.6m investment from UK and Ireland business investor BGF.

The investment will fund the commercial expansion of its first product, the metra, in the US, building on commercial traction in Europe, Canada, and Australia.

The firm's automated system is designed to keep a human donor liver functioning for up to 24 hours outside the body, an alternative to ice.

The device mimics the environment of the human body with warm, oxygenated blood and nutrients supplied to the donor liver in the crucial time between donation and transplantation.

Through developing the metra, OrganOx has enabled transplant teams to objectively assess the function of a donor's liver before a transplant.

It reports that more than 600 patients have received a liver preserved with the OrganOx metro, which is commercially available in Europe and has been used clinically in North America and Australia.

The underpinning technology was developed at the University of Oxford and OrganOx Ltd was spun out from the University in 2008 to develop and manufacture the OrganOx metra. In the US, the metra is currently operating under an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) from the FDA, before final FDA review in 2020.

Craig Marshall, CEO of OrganOx, said: “This investment is key for 2 reasons. First, the funding will be critical in allowing us to execute our commercial plans in the US. Secondly, having BGF at the board table will ensure we leverage its impressive track record of successfully guiding growing businesses to achieve their full potential. Ultimately this is great news for all our stakeholders including current investors, employees and patients requiring a lifesaving organ transplant.”

Alex Snodgrass, an investor at BGF, added: “We are excited to be investing in another thriving business in the UK’s life sciences sector and growing our presence here in Oxford, one of the country’s most dynamic and innovative business communities.

“As the first company to commercialise a fully automated liver preservation system, OrganOx has radically disrupted the transplant market and we believe that the potential of this ground-breaking technology on global mortality rates could be significant.

“We are delighted to be supporting Craig and the team as they scale up OrganOx and take advantage of the opportunities to expand their reach and bring this critical technology to even more patients around the world.”