Direct Investments

Native Antigen breaks new ground in fight against Zika

The Native Antigen Company ,a life sciences company which is backed by Mercia Technologies PLC, has launched a new range of tests for the Zika virus which represent a major step forward in the fight against the disease.

The company’s new non-crossreactive Zika Virus immunoassays are not only more sensitive and accurate than current tests, but can also distinguish between Zika and similar viruses such as Dengue, which is vital in tracking the spread of infection. They offer researchers, health authorities and drug discovery teams more effective tools to control the disease and help develop a vaccine.

The new product range comes as the Oxford-based company reports a third consecutive year of growth, with turnover for the 12 months to the end of September 2018 up by 25% year on year. In response to increased demand, the 30-strong team has also taken over two additional units next to the existing headquarters, bringing its total laboratory and office space to 7,500 sq ft.

The Native Antigen Company was founded in 2010 as a spin-out from an existing Mercia-backed company, Psioxus. It is now one of the world’s leading suppliers of infectious disease reagents, supplying pharmaceutical vaccine manufacturers, diagnostic companies and academic groups internationally.

Dr Nick Roesen, COO of The Native Antigen Company, said: “The Zika virus poses a significant global risk and there is currently no vaccine or specific treatment available. Sensitive and specific assays are crucial to mapping the spread of Zika, developing new vaccines and ultimately to finding a way to stop the birth defects associated with the virus.”

Peter Dines, COO and Head of Life Sciences and Biosciences at Mercia, said: The Native Antigen Company provides products that help overcome the challenges presented by existing and emerging infectious diseases. The specialist team are leading the way in tackling the Zika virus and the launch of these new tests represents a major step forward in the fight against the disease.”