Mercia EIS Funds

Portfolio company continues fight against COVID-19

1st April, 2020

Sense Accelerates Instrument-Free Molecular Diagnostic Test for COVID-19

Sense Biodetection Limited (Sense), which received investment from the Mercia EIS Funds, has today announced an accelerated programme to launch the world’s first instrument-free, point-of-care molecular diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sense is partnering closely with Phillips-Medisize, a Molex company and leading global medical device innovator, developer and manufacturer, to scale-up production of its test in order to meet the growing demand for rapid diagnostics.

Sense’s VerosTM SARS-CoV-2 is a simple disposable test that uses a nasal swab sample to give an ultra-rapid result without the need for any instrumentation. As a molecular test its performance is equivalent to Gold Standard laboratory tests but it is easy to use in any setting and results are available in under 10 minutes.  The test is fully self-contained and can be widely distributed to wherever it is needed, overcoming the logistical and contamination problems associated with machine-based testing.

Harry Lamble, chief executive officer at Sense, commented:

“Our VerosTM COVID-19 test product can allow infected patients to be isolated sooner whilst providing reassurance to uninfected individuals including healthcare workers that they can return to work without infecting others.  Due to its flexibility, speed and accuracy, the test can be deployed for rapid patient triage within hospitals as well as primary care practices, pharmacies and community centres and even distributed for use by individuals in isolation who suspect they may have COVID-19.”

Sense’s VerosTM SARS-CoV-2 exploits proprietary chemistry and device technologies developed by Sense over the last six years for other infectious disease applications including influenza (flu).  In 2019, the company announced a £12.3m Series A investment round co-led by Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) and Earlybird. It has since rapidly scaled its operations and is in a strong position to impact the current pandemic. The COVID-19 product will be one of the first tests to be marketed by the company under its VerosTM brand.

Mike Anstey, investment partner at CIC, commented:

“Sense is developing a product that will be hugely important to the global effort to contain COVID-19 in the coming months and potentially years. CIC and co-investors Earlybird, Mercia, and Jonathan Milner are working closely with Sense to ensure it has all the resources it needs as it accelerates towards launch of the first disposable nucleic acid test for COVID-19.”

 

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