Wednesday 6 January 2016 4:20 pm

Neil Woodford-backed Proton Partners International receives £30m loan from Shawbrook bank to fund development of three proton therapy centres

Challenger bank Shawbrook has agreed a £30m loan for Proton Partners International, which is developing the UK’s first dedicated proton beam therapy centres.

Proton therapy is a treatment for cancers where it is essential to avoid damaging healthy tissue around the tumour.

The company, which has been backed by Neil Woodford, is planning to build three new therapy centres in London, Newport and Northumberland, which will open in 2016 and 2017. They will offer proton treatment and radiotherapy for NHS and private patients.

Andy James, managing director of healthcare finance at Shawbrook said: “This is an exciting opportunity for Shawbrook. As a leading specialist SME lender, we were keen to support them in setting up new proton beam cancer and radiation therapy treatment centres in the UK.”

There are currently 56 operational facilities worldwide, which have treated around 100,000 patients in total, with a further 53 sites in planning and development. The only operational proton beam therapy facility in the UK is The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in Merseyside, a low energy system that only treats rare eye cancers.

Mike Moran, chief executive of Proton Partners International, which was co-founded by Professor Karol Sikora, former head of the World Health Organisation’s cancer programme, said the company has “been extremely successful in fundraising for this innovative and exciting project that will transform cancer treatment in the UK. The equity funding has provided a very solid foundation on which the company can progress its plans for building the centres.”

He added: “The facility from Shawbrook is welcome as it underpins the financial strength of the company. We trust Shawbrook because they have a deep understanding of our market and of our business.”

Proton Partners has already raised in excess of £63m of equity from the Welsh Life Sciences Fund and other funds managed by Woodford Investment Management.