CanSense and Dravya Discovery

CanSense and Dravya Discovery

The Oxford AHSN Accelerator programme, in collaboration with BioCity and regional partners from the NHS, industry and research within the Thames Valley, offers a launchpad for entrepreneurs and their ventures to move from idea to market. CanSense and Dravya Discovery won a place on the intensive eight-week programme and pitched to investors on the final day of the Accelerator programme in November 2019.

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By CanSense and Dravya Discovery


CanSense is a diagnostic research company that has developed an accurate, fast, non-invasive diagnostic for the early detection of bowel cancer through a blood test combined with use of artificial intelligence (AI). The diagnostic tool can be used in primary care to stratify patients appropriately and rapidly in the clinical pathway, significantly reducing the need for invasive procedures, such as colonoscopy and speeding up the diagnosis of cancer.  

Dravya Discovery is a start-up offering a pre-clinical solution for drug discovery in the field of Ophthalmology. Ophthalmology is a branch of medicine dealing with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases of the eye and vision. Dravya Discovery help research and discovery teams identify new drugs, using their translational assays combined with digital tools to analyse, share and report data.  

CanSense and Dravya Discovery pitched to investors on the final day of the Accelerator programme in November 2019 and became the first two companies receiving an investment of £50,000 of in-kind support from BioCity through the Oxford AHSN Accelerator programme. 

How did the Innovation Exchange help?

During 2019, the Oxford AHSN together with delivery partner BioCity, ran the first Oxford AHSN Accelerator programme aimed at identifying and developing innovative and sustainable solutions to proven NHS needs1 and meeting the commercial ambitions of investors.  

CanSense want their test to empower GPs to be able to make a quick and accurate decision to better triage their patients, reducing the time to diagnosis of bowel cancer and provide better patient outcomes in line with the NHS Long Term Plan2. CanSense needed to refine their business plan to secure further investment to make this ambition a reality. 

Dravya Discovery want to help ophthalmology discovery teams identify new drugs using their translational assays combined with digital tools to analyse, share and report data. They want to improve the quality of life of patients with ocular diseases and needed to go on a journey of understanding the market better. 

The Oxford AHSN Accelerator programme is an intensive eight-week programme focused on developing start-ups, helping companies to build a robust, tested value proposition and identify their key stakeholders within the health care and life sciences environments.  

The programme required the cohort to spend one day a week going through a series of increasingly demanding and informative developments, to produce a fully viable business venture. They used tools, which included Strategyzer canvases, to assist with customer discovery, global and local market access and stakeholder engagement that are specifically tailored to the healthcare and life sciences industry. Innovators were required to meet their dedicated coach, attend regular learning sessions and were encouraged to go out and test their key assumptions on the canvases, as part of their customer discovery, by talking to key stakeholders and customers and obtaining structured feedback.   

Impact & Outcomes

The Oxford AHSN Accelerator programme has helped CanSense and Dravya Discovery to validate their assumptions about their customer base and refine their product offering to be more in line with clinical needs, by providing the business with access to NHS clinicians and mentors. This has given them a good understanding of how clinicians and stakeholders within the NHS can benefit from their offering.  

During the Accelerator programme, CanSense and Dravya Discovery were able to complete a value proposition canvas to understand the pains and needs of their customers and the impacts their products could have. The programme also helped them to refine their business model and explore partnerships within the NHS and commercial landscape.  

CanSense and Dravya Discovery pitched on the final day and were awarded £50,000 of investment each as in-kind support from BioCity investors.