QuantuMDx wins NE innovation award for handheld DNA sequencer

10 October 2013

Newcastle-based diagnostics company QuantuMDx has been awarded the Insider's 'Made in the North East' Life Sciences trophy in recognition of its ground-breaking handheld DNA sequencer.

The sequencer will be able to rapidly diagnose diseases in minutes and for a fraction of the price of traditional lab-based diagnostics, making it suitable for applications in both developed and developing countries.

Chief Operating Officer Dr Sam Whitehouse and Research Manager Dr Jonathan Salmon were presented with the Medical & Life Sciences Award in recognition of the impact this medical device will have on global medicine at its commercial launch anticipated in 2015.

QuantuMDx's low cost handheld device, the Q-POC, carries out DNA analysis on any body sample, such as blood, spit or even tumour tissue, and provides disease diagnosis in under 15 minutes by a patient's side. The device uses the company's unique technology, a nanowire biosensor chip, to detect DNA sequences and convert the results into computer code. Tests are currently in development for cancer, malaria, TB, a panel of common STIs and correct warfarin dosing.

The handheld device should provide the same quality of result as a referral laboratory, at a fraction of the time and cost. Each device could cost about the price of a smart phone initially, but may be issued for free in developing countries. A single-test cartridge will be around £10 initially, but the aim is to reduce this cost to ensure affordability in resource-limited settings. A desktop version, the Q-SEQ is also being developed using the same sensor technology.

QuantuMDx is currently working with some of the most influential academic, industrial and charitable organisations across the world to introduce the device into resource scarce settings in Africa, India and the BRICS nations as well as into the NHS and hospitals and clinics in developed countries.

Dr Whitehouse said "To see our achievements rewarded by Insider and the North East community is a testament to not only to our cutting edge technology but to our dedicated team, working hard to make our vision of democratizing global healthcare a reality. Many fellow North East businesses were astounded to learn that something so advanced could be made by a small company right here in Newcastle upon Tyne. It was wonderful to see the variety and quality of manufacturing expertise in the area, and we're proud to be recognized as a jewel in the crown of this vibrant community."

As a regional winner QuantuMDx Group will now be shortlisted for the 2014 International Festival of Business awards due to take place in Liverpool next year.



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