University of Oxford spin out OxDX has raised £2.6m ($3.5m) in pre-seed funding for its AI-powered diagnostic technology, which the company says can recognise and identify specific species and strains of viruses, bacteria and other pathogens within a sample in seconds. Initial funding is co-led by IQ Capital and Ahren Innovation Capital, and will be used to expand the team and validate the technology with partners.
The technology uses novel universal labelling technology in combination with machine learning analysis in a neural network to identify the pathogens causing infection in seconds. The team has reportedly demonstrated the ability to identify respiratory viruses in clinical samples and, in the case of COVID-19 and influenza viruses, directly identify the strain. It also aims to develop an analysis platform capable of rapidly scaling to many diseases via simple software updates improving the cost and access to infectious disease diagnostics worldwide.
Alex Batchelor, CEO of OxDX, said: “Our ability to take a sample from someone with an unknown infection and answer the open question ‘what do they have?’ within a minute is a gamechanger for infection diagnosis and treatment. We’ll start with respiratory viruses and expand from there. In parallel, we’ll be simplifying the workflow to move the test from the lab to point of care, which will represent a step change in the availability and cost of infectious disease diagnostics worldwide.”
Ed Stacey, Managing Partner at IQ Capital Partners, added: “The potential of OxDX’s technology to identify diseases ‘while you wait,' and roll out tests for new pathogens with just a software update is going to revolutionise diagnostics and patient treatment. This incredible team have already achieved an enormous amount and I’m looking forward to seeing the impact they have on the field of infectious disease diagnostics.”