Oxford University spin-out company OxDX has raised £2.6m in pre-seed funding for the development of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered rapid diagnostic technology.

Ahren Innovation Capital and IQ Capital co-led the initial funding, which also saw participation from Science Creates Ventures.

OxDX intends to use the funds to expand its team and work with development partners to further validate the technology.

The company’s rapid diagnostic technology can detect and recognise specific species and strains of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens in a sample.

It combines new universal labelling technology and machine learning analysis in a neural network to identify the specific pathogens that cause infection in only a few seconds.

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By GlobalData

The company stated that the technology aims to improve the cost, speed and accuracy of infectious disease diagnosis.

OxDX CEO Alex Batchelor said: “Our ability to take a sample from someone with an unknown infection and answer the open question ‘what do they have?’ within a minute is a gamechanger for infection diagnosis and treatment.

“We’ll start with respiratory viruses and expand from there. In parallel, we’ll be simplifying the workflow to move the test from the lab to point of care, which will represent a step-change in the availability and cost of infectious disease diagnostics worldwide.”

The company has said that the technology can detect respiratory viruses in clinical samples, as well as directly identify the strain in the case of Covid-19 and influenza viruses.

OxDX aims to develop a new analysis platform that can quickly scale many diseases through software updates.