A Sedgefield company which is a pioneer in X-ray imaging technology has raised £535,000 to commercialise its new software to help detect breast cancer.

IBEX Innovations’ latest funding comes from existing backers the North East Venture Fund (NEVF), supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Mercia, along with IP Group and private investors.

Its Trueview tech improves the quality of X-ray images and reduces the dose of radiation the patient receives.

The software, which incorporates physics and AI, can be used with conventional X-ray machines and allows medics to interpret images more accurately.

After five years in research and development, IBEX made its first sales to Curvebeam, a US company specialising in 3D imaging of arms and legs and to Planmed, a Finland-based manufacturer.

Its Trueview software is designed for use in mammography and has been shown to aid diagnosis by increasing image contrast while reducing radiation exposure by up to 50%.

The technology could also help reduce breast compression to minimise discomfort and encourage more women to have screening, investor Mercia said.

The latest funding, which brings the total IBEX has raised to date to almost £6m, will be used for ongoing product development and to secure new international customers.

Neil Loxley, CEO of IBEX, said: “We are grateful for the continued support of investors in this latest funding round, which will enable us to complete development of our latest product and maintain our technical lead in the $15bn medical X-ray imaging market. 2020 will be an important year for IBEX as we secure new deals with leading global medical imaging companies.”

Ian Wilson, who leads Mercia’s team in the North East, added: “IBEX is the only one in the market that can achieve this quality of images. The company continues to make progress in both developing new products and new commercial relationships. Mercia is delighted to support IBEX once again and help roll out this new system which will be an important step forward in breast cancer detection.”