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Risk funding for radical new blood test


NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) announces today an investment round worth £500,000 to commercialise an innovative new monitoring device which samples blood while it is still within the patient’s body.

Blood analysis is costly and labour-intensive. It relies almost exclusively on blood withdrawal and off-line analysis, requiring extensive input from professional health staff – which inevitably leads to delays and can result in errors.

The new funding for Bedford-based Probe Scientific is from NESTA and the co-investors are Acorn Services Group and private investors.

Many hospital patients already have an intravenous catheter, usually in the back of the hand or lower arm. This catheter enables medical staff to give fluids and take blood samples simultaneously. But for much of the time, the catheters are capped, awaiting use.

Probe Scientific has developed MicroEYE, which is designed to sit inside the catheter and sample the patient’s blood, without removing it from the body.

It relies on a semi-permeable membrane being in contact with a patient’s biological fluid and, by dialysis, extracting certain key indicator molecules from the fluid for continuous analysis at the bedside.

Mark White, Director of Invention & Innovation at NESTA, said:

"Probe Scientific is a great example of the kind of UK innovation our early stage seed funding is designed to support. Through investing in its innovative MicroEYE technology we are looking to ensure that this idea has every opportunity of being fully commercialised, benefiting patients and the UK economy."

The investment coincides with the appointment of Neil Smith as CEO, joining founder Dr Mark O’Connell from the University of Cambridge. The board of Probe Scientific has also been further strengthened by the appointment of Paul Jenkinson as CFO and Mike Sundler as non-executive director.

Joseph Meaney | alfa
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