Funding deal

Diagnosis firm Microplate Dx raises £500k for test

Prof Damion Corrigan (CTO), Prof Paul Hoskisson (CSO), Dr Stuart Hannah (CEO) and Dr Poonam Malik (chair).

Spinout company, Microplate Dx chaired by life sciences academic and businesswoman Poonam Malik, has secured more than £500,000 in seed funding to scale-up development of its “game-changing” diagnostic test.

The funding round was led by Deepbridge Capital with equity investment from the University of Strathclyde’s Strathclyde Inspire Entrepreneurs Fund (SIEF).

This is supplemented by the Stephen Young Entrepreneurship Award for investment into early stage Emerging Entrepreneurs, which is funded by a donation to the University by the Charles Huang Foundation.

This equity investment has been bolstered by non-dilutive funding support from Scottish Enterprise in the form of a £161,000 R&D grant, and from competition winnings including: Scottish EDGE, the Converge Challenge and CPI (Centre for Process Innovation).

The company was selected to join Scottish Enterprise’s High Growth Ventures (HGV) portfolio, which will provide a range of strategic support to help the company achieve its significant scale-up ambitions.

Prior to spinout, Microplate Dx was supported by £280,000 from Scottish Enterprise via its High Growth Spinout Programme (HGSP), and a Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowship worth £100,000.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor at Strathclyde said: “To accelerate our university’s mission of delivering global impact, we support and encourage entrepreneurship for all, empowering our staff and students to help them in their growth journey.

“The Stephen Young Entrepreneurship Awards support the University’s work in transforming lives, supporting the economy and the next generation of entrepreneurs who are tackling some of the biggest challenges we face as a society.

“We are delighted to have backed Microplate Dx technology from start-up concept to spin-out and look forward to supporting as it seeks to address the global challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance.”

Leah Pape, Head of High Growth Services at Scottish Enterprise, said: ‘We’ve worked with Microplate Dx since its pre-spinout days at the University of Strathclyde and its huge potential was always very clear.

“Antibiotic resistance is a major global health risk and the company’s innovative testing technology has the potential to be both life-saving and world-changing.”

Ben Carter, Investment Manager within the Life Sciences team at Deepbridge Capital, said: “Microplate Dx is a great example of the type of innovative life sciences company Deepbridge supports; potentially impacting the lives of many people for the good.”

Dr Stuart Hannah, Microplate Dx CEO, said: “Rapid diagnosis of the appropriate antibiotic treatment avoids lengthy delays in antibiotic prescribing, meaning patients suffering a life-threatening infection can be treated straightaway when the infection first presents, and start to recover much more quickly than with conventional methods.

“We call this ‘personal prescribing’, and for serious infections early intervention can save lives.

This hard-won funding will enable the team to scale up development of their UTI system, accelerating timelines towards regulatory approval, clinical deployment and eventual sales.

“As a Strathclyde spin-out, we are especially proud to be among the first recipients of the Stephen Young entrepreneurship award.”

Professor Andy Porter said:Microplate Dx have exciting plans for their technology platform that can produce results in less than an hour and at the patient’s bedside, compared to days in hospital laboratories.

“For serious, systemic infections “best-guess” prescribing can see some patients deteriorate rapidly and even succumb to disease.

“I feel certain that the new Microplate Dx platform will save lives whilst increasing the useful lifespan of the precious antibiotic arsenal available to doctors.”

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