18 Nov 2010   |   News

Vivacta raises £4M for point of care diagnostics


Vivacta Ltd, a medical diagnostics company, which is applying piezoelectric technology to point-of-care testing, has announced the closing of a £4 million financing round in which all the current shareholders, HBM BioVentures, IDInvest Partners (formerly AGF Private Equity), Spark Ventures and Viking followed on.

Vivacta’s platform technology exploits the piezoelectric effect by which thermal perturbations on a piezofilm surface cause an electric charge to be produced. The measurement of this electric charge enables monitoring of chemical activity – or rate of binding between antibody and analyte – in an assay.

The company has built on this to develop a range of near-patient diagnostic products that achieve high sensitivity and a wide dynamic range, which it says is equivalent to laboratory testing. The test utilises whole blood samples and requires only a finger prick sample, providing results within ten minutes.

Vivacta has successfully developed a diagnostic test for thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), one of the most widely prescribed laboratory tests and the industry gold standard for immunoassays by which major diagnostic companies measure the performance of competing platforms. Vivacta’s TSH product demonstrates the high sensitivity, wide dynamic range, precision and speed.

The company is also developing a multiple analyte cardiovascular diagnostic test for use in the emergency room and acute care settings, where there is a need for rapid diagnosis of possible heart attacks and related time-critical medical conditions.

Tim Carter, Chief Executive Officer of Vivacta and co-inventor of the piezofilm platform technology, said, “Our technology has the potential to revolutionise point of care diagnosis. This fundraising enables us to continue to maximise the potential of our platform and demonstrates the commitment of our investors in the company.”

Vivacta’s technology has been used to measure both small and large molecules and the goal ultimately is to measure nucleic acids. Target applications include diagnosis of infections, sepsis and stroke, companion diagnostics, therapeutic drug monitoring, vaccination status and therapeutic effectiveness monitoring such as the detection of anti-drug antibodies, as well as personalised medicine applications.

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