ProteinLogic, a biomarker discovery company, and its collaborator, Biosensia, an in vitro diagnostic company have been awarded a grant by the European Union Horizon 2020 SME programme to develop a rapid point-of-care test for the diagnosis of Active Tuberculosis (TB).
Almost 9m new cases of TB occur annually and there are over 1.4m deaths every year despite most cases being curable. More than 3m people contracting TB each year go undiagnosed and untreated according to the World Health Organisation. WHO is now calling for accelerated uptake of new tools and strategies for better diagnosis, treatment and prevention of all forms of TB. The ProteinLogic TB test will enable the rapid diagnosis of the active form of TB using a simple blood sample that can be taken and analysed at the point-of-care.
The three year €3.58million project will integrate ProteinLogic’s unique panel of biomarker proteins with Biosensia’s RapiPlex rapid diagnosis platform which can rapidly determine levels of multiple proteins in blood within 15-20 minutes and is suitable for use in a local community healthcare setting. The EU funding, under the dedicated instrument “Clinical research for the validation of biomarkers and/or diagnostic medical devices”, will be used to create a prototype device for rapid, point-of-care human TB diagnostics.
Infectious diseases (e.g. HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria), are a global concern, accounting for 41% of the 1.5 billion disability adjusted life years worldwide, with 8% of these in Europe.
The program is enhanced by the expertise of several global academic TB Groups who are currently working in the field to help eradicate the disease and who understand, first hand, what is needed for a rapid TB diagnostic. These include Imperial College London, University College London, the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa and the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND). Prof. Ajit Lalvani is Chair of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Health Research Senior Investigator and Wellcome Senior Clinical Research Fellow at Imperial College London. Dr Marc Lipman is Senior Lecturer & Honorary Consultant Physician in Respiratory & HIV Medicine at the Royal Free Hospital, London and also Deputy Director of UCL-TB Centre. Prof Keertan Dheda is Professor of Respiratory Medicine and Head of the Lung Infection and Immunity Unit at University of Cape Town. FIND is a not-for-profit foundation whose aim is to provide innovative and affordable diagnostic products for all levels of the health care system in developing countries.
ProteinLogic’s Chairman Mahesh Shah said: “We are thrilled that the European Commission is funding this exciting collaboration, especially in light of the very high level of entries. The EU received 580 project proposals involving 785 SMEs and we are particularly pleased to have been selected after evaluation by independent experts. We are looking forward to working with our partners to develop a prototype device and accelerate the development of this innovation for the benefit of patients.”
ProteinLogic is a biomarker discovery and exploitation company developing a novel diagnostic platform and diagnostic products that address key unmet medical needs in infection and inflammatory diseases. The Company has developed a proprietary biomarker technology (ImmiPrint®) with potential to diagnose and predict early onset of diseases, and to provide information as to how a disease is likely to develop and respond to particular drug treatments. The technology is based upon the profiling of a discrete subset of immune system proteins found in the blood and other body fluids.
In addition to the TB diagnostic test there are a number of potential follow-on products in the Company’s pipeline.
Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument of the European Union, implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe’s global competitiveness. Horizon 2020 is the biggest ever EU research and innovation program. Through the SME Instrument, the European Union wants to finance the most innovative small companies with a high growth potential. The program promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.
By coupling research and innovation, Horizon 2020 is helping to drive economic growth with its emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.
Selected SMEs, showing a strong ambition to develop, grow and internationalise, shall be supported across Horizon 2020 with a dedicated instrument to provide staged and seamless support covering the whole innovation cycle.
For more information please visit http://cordis.europa.eu/programme/rcn/664237_en.html