University of Strathclyde spinout medtech, Microplate Dx Limited, has secured significant seed funding to scale-up development of what it claims is a ‘game-changing’ diagnostic test.

The test aims to detect antimicrobial resistance (AMR) by testing for the right antibiotic that should be prescribed to patients, in less than 40 minutes.

Globally, there were an estimated five million AMR-associated deaths in 2019, and by 2050, antimicrobial resistance could kill more than cancer and diabetes combined. Around 60% of women report at least one urinary tract infection (UTI) in their lifetime, and one in three will have at least one symptomatic UTI necessitating antibiotic treatment by the age of 24.

UTIs are also the cause of one in four life-shortening sepsis cases.

The Microplate Dx team has completed an initial seed funding round of more than half a million pounds, led by Deepbridge Capital LLP, and equity investment from the University of Strathclyde’s Strathclyde Inspire Entrepreneurs Fund (SIEF). Funding and support has also been supplemented by the Stephen Young Entrepreneurship Award, Scottish Enterprise, as well as competition winnings from Scottish EDGE, the Converge Challenge and CPI (Centre for Process Innovation).

Furthermore, 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.

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.”

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.”