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Microplate Dx secures £2.5m for rapid diagnostic technology development

The platform will be used to advance the effectiveness of antibiotics.

Glasgow diagnostics spinout, Microplate Dx, has secured £2.5m in seed funding to develop its point-of-care diagnostic platform to advance the effectiveness of antibiotics.

The platform, which confirms the presence of bacteria, guides a patient’s doctor to effective treatments by rapidly identifying which antibiotics to use and which ones to avoid.

The platform will initially be used to tackle urinary tract infections (UTIs) using urine samples inserted into the device, with results being returned within an hour.

UTIs are one of the most common bacterial infections, affecting at least 92 million people worldwide and responsible for 13.7% of all antibiotics prescribed in community practice in the UK’s NHS.

The Microplate Dx’s system enables antibiotics to be prescribed by a clinician in minutes, as opposed to days.

The platform also has the potential to support the treatment of other key drug-resistant infections, including respiratory tract infections, sepsis, meningitis and fungal infections.

Designated as a major threat to global public health by the World Health Organization, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is responsible for over 1.27 million deaths globally each year.

The platform development is funded by existing investors, including Deepbridge Capital and the University of Strathclyde and new investors, including Scottish Enterprise, SIS Ventures and Thairm Bio.

Currently, at the prototype stage, the funding will assist Microplate Dx to continue its clinical trials in 2024 and 2025, with the aim of launching commercially across European pharmacies as well as exploring entry into the US market.

Dr Stuart Hannah, chief executive officer at Microplate Dx, said: “Any delay in identifying the correct antibiotic for treatment can put lives at risk and huge pressure on clinical decision-making.”

He added: “Early clinical benchmark testing relating to urinary tract infections has been positive and the company now intends to target scale-up both commercially and technically. Early prescribing of appropriate antibiotics to patients, so-called ‘personalised prescribing’, is vital to combat AMR on a global scale, and for serious infections, early intervention will save countless lives.”