GBI Magazine spoke to Neciah Dorh, CEO of FluoretiQ, to find out a bit more about the development of innovative medical technology NANOPLEX™ and how investment from the Deepbridge Life Sciences EIS has helped them.
Neciah started by explaining that the vision behind the development of the NANOPLEX™ technology is to ensure everyone who goes to visit their GP can receive the optimal antibiotic treatment. The aim is to improve clinical practice through the creation of rapid bacterial infection diagnostics.
With GPs being incredibly busy, patients typically have between just 10 to 20 minutes at a consultation. As a result, there is often a mismatch between the need to confirm a bacterial infection and the commencement of antibiotic treatment. Using antibiotics inappropriately increases antimicrobial resistance, which means, as time progresses, these cures are no longer working.
NANOPLEX™ technology is a 15-minute test to identify and quantify bacteria directly from patient samples. It was developed to promote evidence based antibiotic prescribing which is key to the effective stewardship of antibiotics. NANOPLEX™ is simple and innovative. Bacteria recognise specific sugars in the body to establish an infection. This is extremely important, in the case of urinary tract infections (UTI), this helps bacteria to avoid the flushing nature that they will experience during peeing. Our technology exploits this behaviour; we have designed a library of probes to mimic the targets that bacteria use to bind to the walls of our urinary tract. The bacteria bind to our probes, like Velcro, so we can identify them and count them using automated microscopy and our proprietary image processing.
UTI’s are the first application for NANOPLEX™. They affect over 150 million people every year and can be life-threatening for the elderly; for whom there is currently no Public Health England recommended point of care test. With multiple patents filed and over 10,000 experiments done on NANOPLEX™ to date, the team has now set their sights on delivering their first product to tackle the gap in UTI diagnostics.
Award (Medilink SW), release a peer-reviewed article on NANOPLEX™, explore partnerships, attract new investment, onboard Chief Medical Officer, consultant urologist Kasra Saeb Parsy, experienced diagnostics expert Dana Marshall and build a formidable R&D team.
Neciah added that he is very proud of the team, as a lot of progress was achieved in the midst of the pandemic. None of this could have been done without the crucial funding from investors and grants, noting particularly, Deepbridge and the Deepbridge Life Sciences EIS. Fund raising in small companies in the life sciences space can be challenging, as there can be relatively long lead times from start up to first sales, and patient capital was essential to this. Neciah went further however and added that demonstrating consistent success built confidence among their investors which led to support through multiple funding rounds.
They have raised £2m in grant and equity funding, a great deal of which came from the Deepbridge Life Sciences EIS fund. But for the team it was Deepbridge’s hands-on approach which has helped shape and manage the company. Deepbridge offered tailored and unwavering support which is essential alongside the patient capital.
For Neciah, the team at Deepbridge will continue to have an important role to play in successful growth and development of FluoretiQ as a leader in effective antibiotic stewardship solutions.