- Grant to develop automated, rapid point-of-need diagnostic to provide a sustainable and resilient revolution in detection and diagnosis of Porcine Respiratory Disease Complex (PRDC)
- Working in collaboration with Imperial College, farmers and industry experts to help address the global issue of rising antibiotic resistance
LONDON, UK, September 28, 2022 / B3C newswire / -- ProtonDx Ltd, an Imperial College health technology spin-out company delivering cost-effective, ultra-rapid, accurate and portable molecular testing, has been awarded a £365,000 grant from Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme and UKRI’s Transforming Food Production Challenge (Innovate UK) to develop rapid, accurate, point-of-care tests for porcine lung diseases, in collaboration with Imperial College London.
Porcine lung infections, including Porcine Respiratory Disease Complex (PRDC), are caused by bacteria, viruses, or a combination of both. Currently such infections are controlled by a combination of antibiotics, vaccinations, and good animal husbandry and other livestock management practices. However, many infections are becoming increasingly resistant to available antibiotics, and there is a lack of effective vaccines for most pathogens.
Professor Pantelis Georgiou, Founder and CEO of ProtonDx and Head of the Bio-inspired Metabolic and Infection Technology Laboratory in the Centre for Bio-inspired Technology, Imperial College, commented: “This grant will support the adaption of our proprietary ‘lab-on-a-chip’ technology, which is able to identify bacterial and viral pathogens directly with minimal sample handling. Our multidisciplinary team are thrilled to have the opportunity to co-create an automated diagnostic solution that will be able to test the eight major bacterial and viral pathogens seen in PRDC, at once. Our goal is to create an easy-to-use, rapid and affordable diagnostic tool that provides a sustainable and resilient revolution in detection and diagnosis of porcine lung diseases on farms worldwide.”
Working closely with livestock farmers, the UK’s Animal Plant Health Agency and industry experts, the development team at ProtonDx will be using the automated diagnostic platform to enable the detection of major porcine bacterial and viral lung pathogens. The work will be carried out in collaboration with Imperial College London’s Oliver Stringer, Research Postgraduate and Professor Paul Langford, Professor of Paediatric Infectious Diseases. The industry experts and animal health specialists will be providing samples, resources, and time.
ProtonDx’s automated ‘lab-on-a-chip’ diagnostic platform has been designed to automate pathogen detection and differentiate multiple pathogens simultaneously with confidence. From a simple swab with minimal handling, high quality nucleic acids are automatically extracted and analysed using proprietary LAMP-based technology. This molecular diagnostic platform validates that the sample has been taken and tested correctly and results are automatically uploaded to the cloud to facilitate track-and-trace.
Robert Enck, Chairman and President of ProtonDx, added: “We are excited to have the opportunity to extend the capability of our automated molecular diagnostic platform. It is hoped that the use of point-of-need diagnostics ‘in the field’ will provide rapid accurate pathogen detection. This will enable fast remedial action on farms, including support of correct dosing of appropriate antibiotics, thereby helping to address the rising issue of antibiotic resistance in the global pig farming industry.”
The goal of developing these tests is to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases amongst livestock, specifically pigs, across the global farming and food community. In 2021 the number of pigs in China, EU, US and Brazil exceeded 675 million and this number is growing substantially year on year. This is an area of high unmet need with significant clinical and economic impact. The grant is part of £8 million UK-based fund aimed at assessing new farming concepts announced 9 June 2022 as part of Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme.
ProtonDx Ltd was founded in 2020 by Professor Pantelis Georgiou (CEO), Assistant Professor Jesus Rodriguez-Manzano (CSO), and Dr Nicolas Moser (CTO), of Imperial College London to deliver ultra-rapid, extremely precise, molecular testing for everyone at the point-of-need to facilitate identification of infectious pathogens worldwide.
Its core technology builds on a decade of innovative research in diagnostics and collaboration between engineering, medicine and molecular biology carried out at Imperial College London by a dedicated multidisciplinary team. ProtonDx team’s ambition is to ensure tests can be conducted quickly, accurately and cost-effectively, wherever and whenever they are needed.
About Innovate UK
Innovate UK is the UK’s national innovation agency and is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). It supports business-led innovation in all sectors, technologies and UK regions. It helps businesses grow through the development and commercialisation of new products, processes, and services, supported by an outstanding innovation ecosystem that is agile, inclusive, and easy to navigate.
Dr Lynne Trowbridge / Dr Priya Kalia
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Keywords: Swine; Animals; Livestock; Lung Diseases; Respiratory Tract Infections; Lung; Point-of-Care Systems; Point-of-Care Testing; Farmers; Lab-On-A-Chip Devices; Pathology, Molecular; Bacteria; Animal Husbandry; Molecular Diagnostic Techniques; Biomedical Technology; Delivery of Health Care; Technology; United Kingdom
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