Breath Biopsy solutions provider Owlstone Medical has partnered with Actelion Pharmaceuticals to discover and validate a breath test for the early diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension (PH) and its subtypes.

Funded by Actelion, the alliance will involve collection of exhaled volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from breath samples of more than 1,000 patients across the US, UK and other European Union (EU) markets.

Owlstone Medical’s ReCIVA sampling device will be used to collect the VOCs. The company will analyse these VOCs to identify those that are associated with PH.

The identified compounds are expected to help develop biomarker signatures with potential to enable earlier detection of the disease.

PH is a progressive cardiopulmonary condition characterised by increased blood pressure in the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the lungs. The disease often causes heart failure.

Early diagnosis of the condition is considered extremely difficult, with a delay of years between the onset of symptoms and diagnosis and treatment.

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Owlstone Medical co-founder and CEO Billy Boyle said: “Owlstone Medical was founded with the objective of improving the early diagnosis of disease in order to save lives through the application of Breath Biopsy.

“This strategic collaboration with Actelion, which is focused on improving the lives of those suffering from PH and PAH, represents a tremendous opportunity to do just that.  This is particularly true in underdiagnosed areas such as PH, where early diagnosis is difficult and so screening has to be simple, reliable, and cost effective.”

“Owlstone Medical was founded with the objective of improving the early diagnosis of disease in order to save lives through the application of Breath Biopsy.”

Breath Biopsy involves examination of the breath’s chemical makeup via measurement of VOCs, which are end product of metabolic processes in the body.

As VOCs from all parts of the body are captured in breath, Breath Biopsy is expected to be applicable for a variety of diseases such as cancer, infectious disease, cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease, respiratory disease and inflammatory disease.

In January this year, The Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre initiated a clinical trial to assess Owlstone Medical’s breath test for the detection of various cancer types.