A breath-taking collaboration at Navigation Park
Imspex Diagnostics and RedKnight Consultancy, two small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in South Wales, along with 3 other partners, have been awarded a grant of €2.37m from Horizon 2020, the European Commission’s Research and Innovation Programme. The other partners include Gesellschaft für analytische Sensorsysteme G.A.S. (Germany), StatisticaMedica (Ireland), and University of Warwick (UK).
The application was developed between Impsex and RedKnight, both of which are located at Tŷ Menter, Navigation Park in Abercynon. Imspex, the project coordinator, are focused on the continuous development of their GC-IMS analytical instrument platform and its application in lab quality sensitive analysis on the field. RedKnight are grants and funding specialists who provide expert bid-writing services for proposals to programmes such as Horizon 2020. RedKnight will also be providing project management support for the duration of the two-year project.
Centred around the “BreathSpecTM” device, the project proposes a viable solution to the global problem of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) through the final developmental stages of an existing diagnostic device, which will allow a rapid, binary decision to be made on the need for antibiotic treatment, and with suitable optimisation will allow further differentiation and stratification to take place. The project includes technical developments to optimise its function, data acquisition for the development of the decision making analytical function and clinical validation.
Prof Peter Quantick, Director of RedKnight Consultancy Ltd, said:
“We established RedKnight in 2015 to address the growing need for expert bid-writers within the private sector, especially in Wales, where traditionally funding of this nature is accessed by the university sector. We identified the two main barriers for SMEs trying to access funding which were their lack of knowledge regarding what funding is available, as well as the time commitment it takes to develop a successful proposal. RedKnight help SMEs overcome these barriers and we’ll hopefully see more successes like the BreathSpecTM project in the near future.”
The world faces a growing epidemic of antibiotic resistance, however only two new classes of antibiotics have been brought to the market in the last 30 years. The discovery and development of new antibiotics is essential to maintain medical advances, but poses significant scientific, clinical, and financial challenges, particularly for antibiotics active against Gram-negative bacteria (such as E.coli). Such bacteria have effective barriers against drugs, making treatment difficult, resistance likely and development costs and risks high. In addition, any new antibiotics brought to the market would likely be used cautiously to delay the development of resistance, adding an additional financial challenge in recouping the development costs. The O’Neill Report on AMR identifies diagnostics as critical to the battle against antibiotic resistance.
Santi Dominguez, chief executive of IMSPEX Diagnostics Ltd, said:
“We are very excited by this funding, which will enable our organisation to collaborate with a first-class team and address the major social challenge of anti-microbial resistance with our new device. We have a vision of providing primary healthcare with a reliable, fast and simple solution for identifying bacterial or viral infection, optimising patient care and minimising antibiotic consumption. As a result of this project, we hope to be able to assist GPs and healthcare providers on a global scale. I congratulate the whole consortium on the success of this bid and would also like to thank the Welsh Government for its support with the bid preparation.”
“BreathSpecTM” addresses the above issues by producing reliable identification and quantification of key signature volatiles present in exhaled breath. It provides a non-invasive method for monitoring the volatile organic compounds (VOC) present in an individual’s exhaled breath (and subsequently the blood). It has long been recognised as having significant utility as a clinical test that can be used for early disease detection, monitoring, and potentially to diagnose specific bacterial infections for better, more targeted use of existing antibiotics.
To find out more about the BreathSpecTM project, please visit www.breathspec.com.