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7th November 2019

University of Birmingham spin-out secures £2m to develop medical diagnostic technology


Equity FinanceGBSLEPMidven Equity Finance West Midlands

Investment will enable the company to invest in technical resource and accelerate product development

Birmingham-based Linear Diagnostics Limited (LDL) has secured £2m of investment from MEIF and other investors to develop new platform technology for medical diagnostic testing.

Following extensive research, the spin-out from the University of Birmingham is to create a platform that is able to provide multiple diagnoses in a Point of Care environment.

The funding round was led by venture capital firm Midven, using equity finance from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF). The round also included investment from the UK Innovation Science and Seed Fund, the University of Birmingham, Abingdon Health and the company’s directors.

Linear Diagnostics’ platform uses the disruption of polarised light to measure changes in DNA sequences, offering a rapid and low cost method to identify key gene sequences.

The firm’s first test of the platform will see it target sexually transmitted diseases. The ability to detect drug resistant infections and rapidly identify the causal agent allows screening and treatment during a single patient visit. The World Health Organisation has recognised this is not yet capable of being achieved using alternative diagnostic approaches - Linear Diagnostics’ platform will eventually be able to diagnose multiple genetic targets from a single sample within a 15 minute timescale.

LDL was formed in 2011 by its founders Professor Tim Dafforn and Dr Matt Hicks, based on their patented research in the field of Linear Diachroism – using polarised light to identify changes at a molecular level.

Matt Hicks, CTO and Founder of Linear Diagnostics Limited, said: “We’re at a really exciting stage of our development and this round of investment is a fantastic opportunity for us take our explorations  and anaylsis to the next level. The funding will help us accelerate time to market of our initial product, through further investment in technical resource and beginning hardware development”.

Roger Wood, Director at Midven, said:Linear Diagnostics is an early stage business with huge potential, and is at an important and exciting juncture of its product development. It’s targeting a fast growing segment of the diagnostics market, and we are delighted to have led this significant funding round; this will enable the company to deliver on the next stage of its plans”.

Oliver Sexton, Investment Director of the UK Innovation Science and Seed Fund, said: “UKI2S backed the company to develop its molecular diagnostic capability. The platform’s rapid readout is unique, allowing diagnoses based on the presence or absence of key gene sequences with unparalleled accuracy.”

The MEIF project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

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