Cambridgeshire-based Paragraf has announced plans to develop a new generation of graphene-based, in-vitro diagnostic products that will provide results in a few minutes.

The company is commencing a two-year programme to develop a proof-of-concept combined PCT (procalcitonin) and CRP (C-reactive protein) test that can differentiate between bacterial and other infections.

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For the project, Paragraf is partnering with the Universities of Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle, as well as the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) and Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Slated to be completed by the end of May 2024, the collaborative project will leverage a $659,472 (£550,000) Biomedical Catalyst grant obtained from Innovate UK, an innovation agency.

A clinical study of the combined PCT/CRP test is planned to be delivered in mid-2023 at MFT’s Diagnostics and Technology Accelerator (DiTA), which aims to address unmet needs, improve efficiency and transform patient care in the NHS with the quick conversion and adoption of new inventions.

Paragraf diagnostics business development director Malcolm Stewart said: “This graphene-based diagnostic test is expected to become the first test in the world to give clinicians the ability to identify patients who need an antibiotic treatment within the space of a regular 15-minute clinic appointment.

“It encourages antimicrobial stewardship by giving clinicians the insight into when not to prescribe antibiotics as the test result differentiates viral from bacterial infections.

“The ambition is to develop a comprehensive suite of tests that could be used in almost any environment or healthcare setting.”

In March, the company raised funds of $60m in a Series B financing round.