Health technology business Microplate DX has been voted Best Start Up at the Barclays Entrepreneur Awards.

The Strathclyde diagnostics firm, which spun out from the University in 2022, received the accolade at a ceremony in London on November 29. The awards highlight and recognise UK entrepreneurs who are changing their industries, the economy and society in original and positive ways.

Rapid testing

The company has developed a platform for rapid antibiotic susceptibility testing, enabling the correct antibiotic to be prescribed by a clinician in minutes rather than days.

Antimicrobial resistance is a major threat to global public health responsible for more than 1.27 million global deaths each year, and according to the World Health Organisation could result in 10 million deaths annually by 2050, more than cancer and diabetes combined.

Microplate Dx Chief Executive Officer Dr Stuart Hannah, said:

We’re absolutely delighted to receive this UK-wide award which brings us huge recognition as a Scottish business tackling antimicrobial resistance. 

“I would like to say a personal thanks to Barclays, the judging committee, all of our supporters, advisors and investors, and of course, the brilliant Microplate Dx team.”

Clinical studies

Microplate Dx’s platform will initially be used to tackle urinary tract infections (UTIs), with the company having already completed several successful clinical studies. UTIs are among one of the most common bacterial infections, with research estimating there are at least 92 million people worldwide experiencing UTIs every year. In the UK alone, they were responsible for 13.7% of all antibiotics prescribed in community practice in the NHS.

The product is at prototype stage, with clinical trials continuing in 2024/25, with a view to launching commercially across European pharmacies and exploring entry into the US market.

Its potential as a platform means that in the future, test cartridges could be developed to support the treatment of other key drug-resistant infections such as sepsis and meningitis.

The company also won the ‘Innovation – Health Technology’ award at Scotland’s Life Sciences Awards this year.