The UK government-backed Biomedical Catalyst has awarded funding to support OJ-Bio's £1m project for the further development of its hand-held flu diagnosis device.
The device, which features bio-sensor materials with advanced electronics, is used at the patient's bed side or other point of care such as a GP surgery or pharmacy for the detection of flu and other respiratory conditions.
OJ-Bio, a joint venture between Orla Protein Technologies and the Japan Radio company, will use the funds to develop lab-based prototypes into pilot devices capable of carrying out large-scale clinical trials.
OJ-Bio chief executive Dale Athey said the award will enable the company to accelerate the development of its flu detection device, which it believes has significant market potential.
"Flu viruses cause misery for millions of people each year and early diagnosis is vital," Athey said.
"Drugs are only effective in the first few days after symptoms appear and current tests which involve laboratory analysis of samples simply aren't fast enough.
"Our new device provides a low-cost test that dramatically improves the speed of diagnosis and treatment that should hit the disease at source and limit its ability to spread."
Previously, OJ-Bio worked in collaboration with the UK's Health Protection Agency to develop and test the new biosensor device.
The test demonstrated the device's ability in detecting three potent respiratory viruses including Influenza A and B viruses, common flu strains previously linked to some major epidemics, and Respiratory Synctyial Virus, a major cause of coughs and chest infections.
The work on developing an effective flu diagnosis device also has the potential to be adapted for other infectious diseases, according to the company.
Image: The hand-held flu diagnosis device detects Influenza A and B viruses, common flu strains and Respiratory Synctyial Virus, a major cause of coughs and chest infections. Photo: Courtesy of OJ-Bio.