Northern Gritstone invests in X-ray firm Silveray

Northern Gritstone, the investment business focused on university spinouts and technology-enabled businesses in the North of England, has announced an investment in Silveray, a developer of an ultra-efficient X-ray detector technology.

Northern Gritstone was founded by the Universities of Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield.

Originally founded at the University of Surrey in 2018 by Professor Ravi Silva, Silveray relocated to Greater Manchester in 2022 to gain access to the North of England’s talent pool and resources.

In particular, the company has worked closely with X-ray specialists at the University of Manchester to develop its innovative direct conversion detectors.

The company is led by Dan Cathie, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the technology and  semiconductor sector, five of which were spent as CEO of image sensor developer vivaMOS Ltd, which he guided through its full start-up lifecycle from a spinout until it was acquired by Nordson Corporation in 2020.

At Silveray, Cathie is supported by an experienced team including co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer Professor Ravi Silva and Chief Technology Officer Dr. Stephen Whitelegg.

“Silveray is commercialising a new type of highly sensitive direct X-ray conversion material with a wide range of applications from industry to healthcare,” said Northern Gritstone.

“Invented in the UK, the new nanoparticle-doped semiconductor material is significantly more efficient at picking up X-rays than the conventional alternatives, so fewer X-rays are needed to deliver the same image quality.

“This means imaging can be done more quickly for industrial applications and with lower radiation exposure for healthcare patients.

“The funding will enable Silveray to continue expanding its team, establish its technology into dedicated premises in Stockport and initiate product development.

“Silveray’s initial product development focus will be detecting undesirable inclusions within steel tubes using high-energy X-rays, working in collaboration with Tata Steel UK Ltd.

“The collaboration is partially funded by Innovate UK, a public body that supports business-led innovation.

Cathie said: “Northern Gritstone’s investment will help us to build on the momentum of last year’s seed funding round, adding the insight and support of another high-quality investor.

“We are looking forward to accelerating the development of our technology and hope to have our first demonstrator products available to leading customers by end of the year.”

Northern Gritstone CEO Duncan Johnson said: “Silveray appeals to us not only because it has the potential to modernise the X-ray imaging market, but because it has chosen to do so by relocating to the North of England so that it can harness the world-leading resources that the region offers.

“The company’s decision highlights the appeal of the North of England’s thriving innovation to early-stage businesses and we look forward to seeing Silveray contribute to this as it brings its first products to the market.”