26 May 2010   |   News

Biofortuna raises £1.1M for genotyping tests


Funding

Biofortuna Limited has raised £1.1 million for the further development of its genotyping tests. The funding, from EV Tech, with co-investor Catapult Venture Managers, will be used to launch the company’s first diagnostic genotyping products, and to allow it to continue development of its future product pipeline.

The company designs and develops genotyping and antibody screening tests for use in organ transplantation and management, blood banking, disease identification, microbiology and pharmacogenomics.

Biofortuna was formed in 2008 with a research and development grant from the Northwest Development Agency and funding from the Liverpool Seed Fund. In 2009 the company signed sales and distribution agreements for European and North African markets and received regulatory approvals on its first product range.

CEO Mike Bunce said, “Biofortuna is very pleased to be working with two new successful investment firms, EV and Catapult, who join our existing investor, Liverpool Seed Fund. This investment will ensure that the strong progress we have made in the last year will accelerate [...]. It will also help us to strengthen our team and expand our research and manufacturing capabilities as we look forward to launching more products throughout 2010 and beyond”.

Julian Viggars, EV’s Head of Technology, said Biofortuna is positioned to benefit from the adoption of genotyping products in the management of organ transplants, to identify potential adverse drug reactions, and to check the efficacy of drugs.

Transplantation of bone marrow and solid organs carries a risk of rejection and to minimise this risk, patients and donors undergo DNA typing for the major transplantation antigens, known as HLA antigens, and screening for the presence of antibodies that are directed at potential donor HLA antigens.

Various methods are available for carrying out these tests, but they are either difficult to perform, or they can be carried out relatively quickly but provide low specificity and resolution when trying to match a donor with a recipient.

Biofortuna has developed a range of products that provide speed and accuracy in genotyping and antibody screening. It is expected this will reduce the number of transplants that fail.

The first product, launched this month, is a dry PCR system for genotyping HLA.

Biofortuna says its technology platform can be adapted to provide genotyping products to identify potential adverse drug reactions or check the efficacy of drugs such as immunosupressants.

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