£30m facility secured by Proton Partners International

06 January 2016

Shawbrook Asset Finance, part of specialist lending and savings bank Shawbrook Bank Limited, has agreed a £30 million loan facility with Proton Partners International Ltd.

The asset-backed loan facility has been provided to Proton Partners International which is building the first proton beam therapy centres in the UK. The three centres will also offer traditional radiotherapy.

Highlights

  • £30m asset-backed loan to establish three new UK proton beam therapy and radiation therapy centres
  • Newport centre is expected to treat patients, initially requiring traditional radiotherapy, in 2016
  • The London and Northumberland centres are due to open in 2016 and 2017 respectively
  • Highly experienced management team, including some of the UK’s leading oncologists
  • Significant scope for market growth

The first centre will be in Newport and is expected to treat traditional radiotherapy patients in 2016 and proton beam therapy patients in 2017. A centre in London is due to open in 2017 and will treat radiation and proton beam therapy patients by 2018, and a centre will also be opened in Northumberland which is expected to deliver radiotherapy by 2017 and proton beam therapy by 2018. Each centre will have an Ion Beam Applications (IBA) proton beam therapy machine, Elekta radiotherapy equipment and Philips imaging equipment. Patients will be introduced via NHS referrals, private medical insurance referrals and self-pay.

Proton Partners International has a highly experienced management team, led by Mike Moran (Chief Executive Officer), Professor Karol Sikora (Chief Medical Officer), Paul Tuson (Chief Financial Officer) and Professor Gordon McVie (Non-Executive Chairman).

Shawbrook has a long established business relationship with Professor Sikora, a preeminent oncologist and the founder of and, until recently, Medical Director of Cancer Partners (CP), the UK’s leading provider of private cancer treatment. Proton Partners International have already raised in excess of £63m of equity via the Welsh Life Sciences Fund and other funds managed by Woodford Investment Management.

Andy James, Managing Director, Healthcare Finance of Shawbrook commented: “This is an exciting opportunity for Shawbrook. We understand the healthcare sector and we know the Proton Partners International team very well. 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.”

Mike Moran, Chief Executive Officer of Proton Partners International, commented: “Proton Partners International 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.

“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. As a result, they have tailored the financing specifically to meet our development requirements. This financing has been approved in a very short period of time with collaboration from Shawbrook, Proton Partners, our advisors and, in particular, PSource Capital Limited who acted as lead financial advisors.”

Proton beam therapy market

Proton beam therapy was first used just after WWII as a treatment for cancer. It is particularly useful for cancers where it is essential to avoid damaging healthy tissue around the tumour. Around 100,000 patients have now been treated using proton beam therapy worldwide and there is considerable evidence of its success. The NHS have estimated there will be 1,487 patients requiring proton beam therapy in the UK in 2017/18 alone.

There are a range of tumours approved for proton beam therapy by the NHS, which consist mainly of paediatric cases, in addition to certain head, neck, brain and central nervous system tumours. However, many other types of tumours are being treated successfully in other parts of the world, including lung, liver, prostate, pancreatic and breast tumours, with a significant number of clinical trials underway.

There are currently 56 operational facilities worldwide 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, however it is a low energy system that only treats rare eye cancers.

Proton Partners International will be offering treatment for tumours that are currently being treated in the UK and other parts of the world. The centres will be available for NHS patients from England, Scotland and Wales, medically-insured private patients and self-paying patients.

Radiation therapy market

Radiation therapy is an extremely common treatment for cancer. Proton therapy uses a beam of protons to irradiate a tumour by killing cancerous cells. The protons are generated by a particle accelerator or “cyclotron” which is similar in concept to the particle collider technology used for research at CERN in Switzerland. The IBA Proteus One Compact was launched five years ago and incorporates many significant developments from earlier proton beam therapy systems. It is a single-room solution making it comparatively small and significantly cheaper than competing multi-room systems.