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ProAxsis' ProteaseTag™ technology shown to effectively monitor patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

ProAxsis' ProteaseTag™ technology shown to effectively monitor patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

London, UK – 3 December 2015 – Further to the announcement on 30 November 2015, NetScientific plc’s (AIM: NSCI, “NetScientific” or the “Group”) portfolio company, ProAxsis, a medical diagnostics spin-out from Queen’s University Belfast, will present new data today which validates the use of ProAxsis’ ProteaseTag™ Active Neutrophil Elastase (NE) Immunoassay in the monitoring of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for the first time.

The results will be presented at the British Thoracic Society Winter meeting in London at 2pm today and the full data can be found on the ProAxsis website (

The data shows that ProAxsis’ immunoassay can effectively measure the level of active NE in sputum in COPD patients. A direct correlation between high levels of active NE and exacerbations was also identified. Previous work in the field has suggested that NE levels start to rise two weeks before the clinical symptoms of an exacerbation are apparent.

Key findings of the data include:

  • The study focused on a group of 10 COPD patients. The mean level of active NE in sputum was measured at 217ng/ml when the patient was experiencing an exacerbation. This was more than double the mean level of 92ng/ml, in the same patients, when they were in a stable phase of their disease.
  • In all cases, ProAxsis’ immunoassay was effective in measuring the level and changes in the levels of active NE prior to and during exacerbations. The NE levels measured also correlated appropriately with a number of other clinical markers of inflammation.

The ProteaseTag™ technology traps active protease biomarkers of diseases within a complex biological sample and provides a visual readout of their presence. The ProteaseTag™ Active NE Immunoassay measures only active NE, by selective capture coupled with specific immunodetection. NE is an important drug target and leading indicator of infection and inflammation in patients with chronic respiratory diseases such as COPD and Cystic Fibrosis.

Dr David Ribeiro, CEO of ProAxsis, said: “Exacerbations in chronic progressive respiratory diseases such as COPD can be very damaging to a patient’s long-term health and well-being as well as creating a significant financial burden on the health service. COPD exacerbations are a common cause of medical hospital admission in the UK. They account for around one in eight hospital admissions which costs the UK’s National Health System over £250 million a year.

“These promising results demonstrate the potential our assay has to be developed as an early warning system for an impending exacerbation. This would allow treatment to be taken earlier and represents a significant step forward in the management of these diseases.”

NetScientific’s Group CEO, Francois Martelet, M.D. commented: “Millions of people have COPD but it is often not actively managed, causing many health problems further down the line. These results validate the use of ProAxsis’ technology in the management of COPD and represent a significant milestone for the company. ProAxsis continues to make strong progress and will continue to work with pharmaceutical and academic research groups focused on respiratory diseases to further assess the immunoassay. We look forward to working with ProAxsis to accelerate the development of this exciting technology that has the potential to improve the active monitoring of COPD and thus the lives of people all over the world.”

About NetScientific
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.
For more information, please visit the website at

About ProAxsis
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:

Issued for and on behalf of NetScientific by Instinctif Partners.

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Melanie Toyne-SewellManaging Partner