The company is working on a point-of-care diagnostic platform that can quickly confirm the presence of bacteria and assist doctors in selecting the most effective antibiotics while avoiding ineffective ones.
This technology has the potential to enhance patient care and address antibiotic misuse in healthcare.
Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal & Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, says, “Microplate Dx is a hugely innovative University spinout that is on an incredibly exciting journey to develop cutting-edge technology that has the potential to transform diagnostic techniques and positively impact people’s health and well-being.”
“The University is delighted to make further investments in the company to support their progress with clinical trials and take further steps towards commercialisation. They are led by a great team and I am confident they will achieve their targeted success.”
Investors in this round
Ben Carter, Head of Life Sciences at Deepbridge Capital, says, “Microplate Dx is exactly the type of highly innovative and growth-focused company that the Enterprise Investment Scheme is designed to empower.”
“Working with partners at the University of Strathclyde, Scottish Enterprise, SIS Ventures and Thairm Bio highlights the positive impact of collaboration; supporting an ambitious organisation which is seeking to address one of the world’s most pressing scientific challenges.”
Kerry Sharp, Director of Entrepreneurship and Investment at Scottish Enterprise, adds, “Our investment in Microplate Dx typifies our support for early-stage, high-growth companies; having assisted with the development of the platform through our High Growth Spinout Programme and follow-on grant funding, contributing to this round alongside our co-investors will help commercialise the technology and potentially expand its reach into new infectious disease areas of significant clinical need.”
The global health threat of antimicrobial resistance
Microplate Dx has developed an advanced platform that combines hardware and proprietary data processing algorithms. The platform enables rapid antibiotic susceptibility testing, allowing clinicians to prescribe effective antibiotics within minutes, instead of traditional methods that take days.
This development addresses the global health threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which currently causes over 1.27 million annual deaths and could lead to 10 million deaths annually by 2050, surpassing cancer and diabetes combined.
According to Microplate Dx, the platform initially focuses on urinary tract infections (UTIs) and has successfully completed clinical studies. It involves placing a urine sample into a cartridge, which is then analysed by the device, providing results in approximately one hour.
UTIs affect millions of people globally, with the UK alone seeing UTIs responsible for 13.7 per cent of all antibiotics prescribed in community healthcare.
Creating diagnostics to combat antimicrobial resistance
Founded in 2022, Microplate Dx focuses on diagnostic technologies using microplates to address the global health threat of antimicrobial resistance.
Its solutions utilise sensitive biosensor electrodes with miniature hydrogel deposits containing antibiotics tailored to specific infection types.
Microplate Dx leadership includes Dr. Stuart Hannah as CEO, Professor Damion Corrigan as CTO, Professor Paul Hoskisson as CSO, and Dr. Poonam Malik as Chair.
The company recently conducted a clinical feasibility study in partnership with the NHS, demonstrating rapid antibiotic selection for infections in under an hour. Their current focus is on scaling up their initial product for treating difficult-to-treat urinary tract infections.
Furthermore, Microplate Dx aims to expand its platform’s capabilities to address other infectious diseases with significant clinical needs.
CEO Dr. Stuart Hannah says, “Our mission at Microplate Dx is to improve the quality of lives for patients by providing antimicrobial stewardship cost-effectively.”
“Any delay in identifying the correct antibiotic for treatment can put lives at risk and huge pressure on clinical decision-making, especially when the antibiotic sensitivity data that Microplate Dx can produce in an hour or less compared to the current approach that can take two days using existing techniques.”
“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 antimicrobial resistance on a global scale, and for serious infections, early intervention will save countless lives.”
“With the combined experience of our team and board, Microplate Dx has the right blend of commercial and technical expertise to maximise the chances of the right product-market fit and scaling up,” adds Hannah.
Microplate Dx says it will use the money to launch its product in European pharmacies and explore opportunities for market entry in the US.
At the prototype stage, the funding will enable the company to carry out clinical trials in 2024/25.
While Microplate Dx’s focus is currently on urinary tract infections (UTIs), its platform has the potential for broader applications.
In the future, the company plans to develop test cartridges to address other drug-resistant infections like respiratory tract infections, sepsis, meningitis, and fungal infections, based on market needs and opportunities.
The company, located at the University of Strathclyde, also plans to expand its 12-person workforce by 25 per cent in 2023.