SAW Diagnostics has announced that Innovate UK has awarded the company a £1.5 million grant in support of its low-cost sample preparation system, for use in infectious disease detection and other applications.

The Innovate UK programme, which requires industry matched funding, will finance development of the Company’s integrated sample processing technology platform over the next two years. The platform is designed to enable molecular detection directly from a range of complex clinical sample types in a range of ‘near-patient’ and research settings.

The funding comes on the back of the updated antimicrobial resistance (AMR) strategy, outlining the UK Government’s plan to tackle AMR over the next five and 20 years – in which the development of, and access to effective diagnostics were key objectives.

“Automated extraction of nucleic acid from diverse complex sample types is a major bottleneck in clinical testing today, often requiring that samples are sent to remote laboratories for expert analysis,” said Dr Iain Miller, CEO of SAW Dx. 

“Our technology reduces the complexity and cost of the workflow, thereby truly enabling testing in diverse clinical settings that do not require laboratory expertise, such as doctors’ offices, in-pharmacy or other near-patient environments. This new award, together with equity financing which the company is currently raising, will help the company secure its foothold in the growing point-of-care sample preparation and diagnostic market, whilst also opening up other potential research applications.”

Point-of-care testing provides nearly immediate results which allows the clinician to optimise treatment decisions while the patient is still in the clinic, rather than prescribing unnecessary antibiotics, which is often the case today.