Glasgow, Scotland – 12 February 2019 – SAW Diagnostics Limited (SAW Dx), an emerging biological sample analysis and point-of-care diagnostic company, announced today that Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation Agency, has awarded the company a £1.5M grant in support of the company’s low-cost sample preparation system, for use in infectious disease detection and other applications.
The new non-dilutive award follows the recent successful completion of work under a £1M award from the UK Government’s Biomedical Catalyst fund, directed towards development of the company’s detection technology for infectious disease diagnostics, and paves the way for the Company to secure its next venture round to drive commercialisation of its platform and first product.
The Innovate UK programme, which requires industry matched funding, will finance development of the Company’s integrated sample processing technology platform over the next two years. The platform is designed to enable molecular detection directly from a range of complex clinical sample types in a range of ‘near-patient’ and research settings.
SAW Dx is built on unique acoustic-flow technology developed at the University of Glasgow’s School of Engineering. Samples of patients’ blood, swabs or urine are placed on a disposable chip. The interaction between the sound waves and the chip enables the release of DNA and its amplification, potentially enabling test results in as little as 15 minutes.
“Automated extraction of nucleic acid from diverse complex sample types is a major bottleneck in clinical testing today, often requiring that samples are sent to remote laboratories for expert analysis,” said Dr Iain Miller, CEO of SAW Dx.
“Our technology reduces the complexity and cost of the workflow, thereby truly enabling testing in diverse clinical settings that do not require laboratory expertise, such as doctors’ offices, in-pharmacy or other near-patient environments. This new award, together with equity financing which the company is currently raising, will help the company secure its foothold in the growing point-of-care sample preparation and diagnostic market, whilst also opening up other potential research applications.”
The new Innovate UK funding is timely, coming on the back of the updated antimicrobial resistance (AMR) strategy, outlining the UK Government’s plan to tackle AMR over the next 5 and 20 years – in which the development of, and access to, effective diagnostics were key objectives.
SAW Dx is targeting several markets for its initial product, which it plans to serve in collaboration with major corporate partners. These markets include sexual health screening, respiratory health management and hospital acquired infections. Point-of-care testing provides near-immediate results which allows the clinician to optimise treatment decisions while the patient is still in the clinic, rather than prescribing unnecessary antibiotics, which is often the case today.
Professor Jon Cooper, Director and academic founder of SAW Dx, added: “There is high competition for Innovate UK awards, and our successful bid underlines the potential seen in our innovation. Initial clinical tests of early prototypes of SAW Dx with NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde have already produced excellent results. We’re particularly encouraged to have invented a technology with the potential to transform infectious disease care, whilst contributing to enhanced antimicrobial stewardship. For example, we note that recent publications in the sexual health field suggest the potential for point-of-care testing to reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions by an order of magnitude.”
There are over 200M Sexually Transmitted Infections annually in major markets, and recent analyses demonstrate the potential for point-of-care testing to reduce time to cure from 4 to 2 days. In the Respiratory Health context, SAW is developing rapid test solutions for flu, RSV and Strep A, which collectively affect 750M people/year in developed markets and are associated with expensive in-patient isolation for vulnerable patients (flu) and/or severe over-prescription of antibiotics (Strep A). In the Hospital Acquired Infections context, SAW Dx technology has the potential to better direct antibiotic resources, thereby reducing the emergence of drug-resistant strains which kill 700,000 patients/year in developed markets. The SAW Dx point-of-care platform will compete in a broader global molecular diagnostic market context estimated to reach $12.5 Billion by 2024.
SAW Dx closed a seed investment round in 2017 with IP Group plc, a leading investor in intellectual property-based businesses, and the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise. The company is currently seeking additional investment in the form of a follow-on advanced seed round.
SAW DX acoustic-flow technology platform for near-to-patient diagnostics. Copyright SAW Dx
About SAW Diagnostics
SAW Dx is an emerging biological sample analysis and point-of-care diagnostic company focused on exploiting Acoustic-Flow technology based on the use of surface acoustic waves technology developed in the laboratory of Professor Jon Cooper, University of Glasgow.
The Acoustic-Flow technology utilises the interaction of Surface Acoustic Waves (SAW) with a patient sample to drive a diagnostic test. The interactions are controlled by microstructures patterned on the surface of disposable chips, to shape sound in particular ways in a frequency dependant manner. Functions possible include fluid movement, mixing, particle patterning, enrichment, opening cells to release DNA and temperature cycling of a sample. Acoustic-Flow technology means that samples can be processed on-chip (no pre-processing required) and complex microfluidics are avoided.
The SAW Dx business model is based on partnering to bring its innovative suite of sample preparation and molecular diagnostic detection technologies to market, via a combination of technology field-specific licenses.
For more information on SAW Dx, please visit: www.sawdx.com
Issued for and on behalf of SAW Diagnostics by Instinctif Partners.
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Sue CharlesManaging Partner