Rainbow Seed Fund Invests in AgPlus Diagnostics

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AgPlus’ handheld electrochemical reader to deliver the next generation of rapid diagnostics

AgPlus Diagnostics

AgPlus Diagnostics handheld device

AgPlus Diagnostic's platform technology has the potential to make rapid, accurate, cost-effective diagnostic testing – without the need for laboratory facilities – a reality.

Rainbow Seed Fund, an early-stage venture capital fund focused on promising technologies developed at the UK’s largest publicly-funded research facilities and campuses, today announces its investment into AgPlus Diagnostics, a technology platform developed by scientists at the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL).

AgPlus’ diagnostic platform technology has the potential to make rapid, accurate, cost-effective diagnostic testing – without the need for laboratory facilities – a reality in the areas of human and animal health, sports medicine and environmental testing. The platform is based on research conducted at Rainbow partner NPL, the UK’s National Measurement Institute, a world-leading centre in developing and applying the most accurate measurement standards available.

The AgPlus analytical platform utilises electrochemical immunoassay technology in a patented microfluidic cartridge format. The unique electrochemical signalling and measurement system allows extremely sensitive, accurate and quantifiable results to be obtained from a very small sample volume (50µl) in under 10 minutes.

This capability, demonstrated with a range of commercial partners, brings users the functionality, accuracy and precision of a laboratory analyser, into the palm of their hand. AgPlus’ technology platform can be used near-patient or in-field, critically where faster results give users the ability to make decisions with confidence – in minutes, not hours or days. The system gives rapid, laboratory-grade sensitivity and specificity, within a handheld device on a range of sample types.

AstraZeneca Prototype
On 21st September 2016, AgPlus announced that they have signed a contract with global biopharmaceuticals leader AstraZeneca to develop a point-of-care (PoC) test. The agreement covers AgPlus Diagnostics development of a diagnostic assay for potential use as part of a personalised approach to treating respiratory disease.

If successful, it is expected that AgPlus’ prototype device will be developed into a commercial product to accompany AstraZeneca’s respiratory product portfolio, which aims to match patients with the right treatment using their individual biomarker profiles.

“Rainbow Seed Fund’s investment combined with a great new collaboration with AstraZeneca recognizes the strength of the AgPlus technology and the strength of healthcare development in the UK,” commented Keith Page, CEO of AgPlus Diagnostics. “AgPlus sees itself as a leading innovator in new technology for diagnostics and is proud to be making such strides in the global market.”

Dr Andrew Muir, Investment Director for the Rainbow Seed Fund, said " Fast, accurate and affordable measurement is critical to getting it right in the point-of-care market, so AgPlus’ National Physical Laboratory origins are the perfect pedigree. Testament to this are the company’s successful feasibility projects in a wide range of applications and the ongoing commercial engagement.”

Dr Muir, who has a PhD in electrochemistry and worked in senior roles in materials and medical device companies prior to becoming an investor, has joined the board of the company. In addition to capital from Rainbow Seed Fund, AgPlus has raised private investment including the company’s chairman Christopher Getley.

About AgPlus Diagnostics Ltd.
AgPlus was established in 2011 to commercialise patented technology for an ultra sensitive, quantitative, electrochemical immunoassay platform originally developed within the UK Government’s National Physical Laboratory.

This novel platform has significant potential to improve and enhance diagnostic tests currently used in point-of-care and other resource-limited settings. It is targeted at satisfying market demands for diagnostic testing in human, veterinary and industrial sectors. AgPlus Diagnostics is based at Colworth Science Park in Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire. For more information, visit http://www.agplusdiagnostics.com.

About Rainbow Seed Fund
The Rainbow Seed Fund is an early-stage venture capital fund dedicated to kick-starting technology companies from great science. We focus on companies based on research conducted in publicly-funded laboratories, located on the Research Councils’ science and technology campuses or working in fields of strategic interest to the UK (such as synthetic biology). The Fund is backed by nine UK publicly-funded research organisations including STFC, BBSRC, Dstl and NERC and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). The Fund, whose portfolio comprises more than 30 companies, holds investments in some of the UK’s most innovative companies in areas as diverse as novel antibiotics, research into Alzheimer’s disease, “green” chemicals and airport security. The Fund has leveraged more than £190 million of private investment from just under £9 million of its own investment and helped create many high-value technology jobs.

The Rainbow Seed Fund is managed by Midven, an established venture capital firm with a successful track record of investing in small and medium-sized enterprises. For more information, please visit http://www.rainbowseedfund.com.

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