UK-based molecular diagnostics firm Sense Biodetection has raised £12.3m for the development and manufacture of a range of instrument-free, point-of-care molecular diagnostic products.

The company has raised £10.5m through a Series A funding round, which was co-led by Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) and Earlybird.

Jonathan Milner and seed round investor Mercia Asset Management also took part in the funding round.

Along with the investment, Sense secured a grant of £1.8m from Innovate UK.

Sense Biodetection CEO Harry Lamble said: “We are delighted to secure the funding necessary to conduct the formal development of our first products. With the support of an exceptional new investment syndicate, Sense is positioned to become first-in-class and best-in-class in the exciting field of instrument-free molecular diagnostics and to realise our vision to transform healthcare through decentralisation.”

CIC’s Mike Anstey said: “We’re delighted to co-lead Sense’s Series A financing, enabling this ambitious company to develop its pipeline of transformational products. CIC’s investment strategy is to build high-growth companies with differentiated, innovative technology within the Cambridge ecosystem, and Sense is a great example of this.”

The company uses rapid molecular amplification technology in its range of molecular diagnostics tests to target infectious disease applications such as influenza (flu).

According to the company, the field of molecular diagnostics is dominated by machine-based tests, but the systems and procedures needed to operate and maintain machines pose challenges at the point of care.

Sense Biodetection claim that its instrument-free molecular diagnostics could serve as a flexible test format given that it can be used by a wide range of potential users and in any setting.

The products can carry out rapid tests for viral and bacterial pathogens, such as those causing respiratory infections, within a short period.