London, UK – 30 November 2015 – NetScientific plc’s (“NetScientific” or the “Group”, AIM: NSCI) portfolio company, ProAxsis, a medical diagnostics spin-out from Queen’s University Belfast, will present new data that validates the use of its ProteaseTag™ Active Neutrophil Elastase (NE) Immunoassay in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients for the first time.
The results will be presented in the Best of Science Advances session at 2pm on the 3 December during the British Thoracic Society Winter meeting, taking place over 2-4 December in London.
ProAxsis’s rapid and easy-to-use ProteaseTags™ test uses smart molecules to trap active protease biomarkers of diseases within a complex biological sample and enable a visual readout of its presence. This test measures Neutrophil Elastase, an important drug target and leading indicator of infection in patients with cystic fibrosis and COPD.
The technology provides a unique tool to identify and quantify active protease biomarkers to assist in the clinical validation of new therapeutics.
ProAxsis has previously presented data on the use of its immunoassay in both adult and paediatric cystic fibrosis patients, but this is the first time that the immunoassay has been validated for use with COPD patients. The COPD market for NE testing is substantially larger than that for cystic fibrosis. Currently, there are around 3 million people in the UK with COPD and approximately 2 million are undiagnosed, this has created a need for better diagnostic tests to help diagnose COPD and ensure patients are identified and treated promptly.
Dr James Chalmers from the Department of Respiratory Medicine at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, who co-authored the work, said: “This study shows that the ProteaseTag™ Active NE Immunoassay can be used as a specific tool to measure NE activity in COPD samples. The results clearly highlighted the elevated levels of NE seen in sputum samples from COPD patients suffering from an exacerbation.”
Dr David Ribeiro, CEO of ProAxsis, said: “These results are important as they demonstrate the potential value of our ProteaseTag™ Active NE Immunoassay within COPD. The test is already commercially available for researchers in the respiratory field, and this validation further broadens the number of areas that researchers can use it for.”
NetScientific is a biomedical and healthcare technology group that funds and develops technologies that offer transformative benefits to people's lives and society through improved diagnosis, prognosis and treatment.
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ProAxsis is developing a range of products for the capture, detection and measurement of active protease biomarkers of diseases. The rapid and easy-to-use tests incorporate patented ProteaseTags™; smart molecules which trap an active protease within a complex biological sample and enable a visual readout of its presence. ProAxsis also offers customers a highly experienced team that can provide clinical research services in regard to the specific measurement of active proteases within clinical samples as well as target validation.
The company was named one of Northern Ireland's most promising companies in 2013. It is the only company in Northern Ireland, and one of only a few in the UK, to have secured a prestigious Horizon 2020 SME Instrument Award. ProAxsis has also been highlighted as a success story in Medical Research Council’s 2014/15 Outputs, Outcomes and Impact research report.
ProAxsis is part of the NetScientific group and is one of the group’s core portfolio companies. The company is also supported by QUBIS, the commercialisation arm of Queens University. For more information, please visit: www.proaxsis.com.
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Melanie Toyne-SewellManaging Partner