Check4Cancer wins Innovate UK Smart Grant Award

Check4Cancer has been awarded a Smart Grant Award from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, for its digital skin cancer diagnosis project. This award of £350,000 follows an Innovate UK grant award for £180,000 in April 2022, which has already funded a data scientist as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with the University of Essex. Check4Cancer were supported in all parts of the submission process by Vivolution, who provide a range of services to commercialise new technologies and innovations.

This additional Smart grant award for £350,000 will provide overarching funding for development of a Skin App to take high quality skin images, as well as an AI model for skin lesion reporting that will be built with Check4Cancer’s large bank of skin images, each labelled with a wealth of clinical information.

Professor Gordon Wishart, Check4Cancer’s Chief Medical Officer and Chief Medical Officer comments that, “The combined funding this year of £530,000, through Innovate UK’s KTP and Smart grant awards to Check4Cancer, is a gamechanger for our early cancer diagnosis company. This funding will help us progress our project plan to build a digital skin cancer diagnostic pathway that will support early skin cancer diagnosis for both private and NHS patients and expand our award-winning private skin cancer pathway both nationally and internationally to offer patients a digital solution to have their skin lesion checked”.

Professor Wishart also explained that “the digital skin pathway has the potential to reduce hospital visits in private and NHS sectors and speed up diagnosis by triaging patients in primary care. Early cancer diagnosis leads to improved survival and these are both key elements of the NHS Long term Plan (2019).

 About Innovate UK

Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential to turn new ideas into commercially successful products and services to drive business growth. Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, and their support is available to businesses across all economic sectors.

About skin cancer in the UK

Rates of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer have been rising significantly during the last three decades and, waiting times for assessment of a suspicious skin lesion are long in both NHS and private sectors in the UK and, these waiting times have been amplified during Covid. The incidence of melanoma in the UK is predicted to rise by 7% between 2014 and 2035 and therefore, more streamlined pathways for skin cancer diagnosis are required, including digital solutions where appropriate.