A collaborative development programme between UK-based Avacta Group and Leeds University has been granted a fund by the Medical Research Council to develop rapid diagnostic tools for viral and bacterial infections.
The programme intends to develop the latest micro-fluidic biosensors using Avacta’s Affimer reagents to classify bacterial and viral infections and identify the bacterial strain responsible for the infection.
It assists in a quick administration of the appropriate antibiotic, eliminating the chances of wrongly prescribed treatments and reducing anti-microbial resistance (AMR).
Avacta Group chief executive Alastair Smith said: “There is a growing, global need for diagnostic tests that differentiate bacterial strains.
“Anti-microbial resistance is a huge issue for healthcare providers and one that is only going to get worse if the prescription of antibiotics is not targeted by accurate and rapid diagnostics.
“This programme fits perfectly with our near term commercial strategy to focus on developing Affimer reagents for rapid diagnostics.
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“It will deliver valuable Affimer reagents that are specific to key bacterial strains, which can be developed into a range of third party diagnostic platforms.”
Developed as an alternative to antibodies, the Affimer technology can detect bacterial or viral protein with specificity.
It can be used to create accurate diagnostic tests and laboratory assays and can be developed into new therapeutic candidates.
The recently awarded £3.8m grant will aid the development of the biosensors at Leeds University in the Groups of Professors Christoph Walti (Electronic Engineering) and Mike McPherson (Biochemistry) while Avacta will support the development of Affimer reagents.
Under the deal, Avacta will secure the first rights to commercialise the new Affimer reagents and new diagnostic tests developed under the programme.