Handheld device pioneer QuantuMDx Group has closed an $8.42m (£5m) funding round it syndicated with private investors and Newcastle University following the success of its Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.
The biotech firm, based at Newcastle’s Centre for Life where it employs around 35 staff, said the funds will be used to optimise and trial Q-POC, its handheld device which can take any sample and use DNA analysis to diagnose disease in under 15 minutes. It will also extend the company’s assay pipeline, expand its research teams and appoint an advisory board.
Elaine Warburton, chief executive and co-founder, said: “2014 will be an immensely exciting year for QuantuMDx as we demonstrate, in real-time, our ability to undertake 15 minute sample-to-result analysis for complex molecular diagnostics.
“Later this year when we formally unveil our prototype, we anticipate much interest from life science and pharma companies.
“Furthermore, we’re now looking to appoint a number of high quality, commercially minded but fun people onto our research team and also a number of key opinion leaders onto our Advisory Board.”
Jonathan O’Halloran, chief science officer, inventor and co-founder, added: “Most of the basic research was completed last year and we moved into an engineering phase to integrate these technologies and chemistries at the beginning of this year. We are now moving into the testing phase of our alpha prototype.
“Excitingly, we envisage these devices to be readily distributed globally due to their low cost, fast turn-around times and referral standard testing. With networked devices all over the world we will have a platform to monitor emerging pathogens and drug resistance hotspots in real-time; a concept we like to call the Internet of Life.”
Field trials will commence early 2015 for Q-POC’s first assays in malaria speciation/drug resistance, in partnership with NGOs and hospitals in several African countries, and a companion diagnostic for warfarin within the UK’s National Health Service, in anticipation of a commercial launch later in 2015.