OxDX, a University of Oxford spin out building instant pathogen tests using super-resolution microscopy and machine learning,has raised £2.6m in pre-seed funding for its AI powered diagnostic technology that can recognise and identify specific species and strains of viruses1,2, bacteria and other pathogens within a sample in seconds. The initial funding is co-led by IQ Capital and Ahren Innovation Capital with participation from Science Creates Ventures, and will be used to expand the team and further validate the technology with development partners.
The OxDX technology uses novel universal labelling technology in combination with machine learning analysis in a neural network to identify the specific pathogens causing infection in just a few seconds. The team has demonstrated the ability to identify respiratory viruses in clinical samples and, in the case of COVID-19 and influenza viruses, directly identify the strain. The Company aims to develop an ultra-fast analysis platform capable of rapidly scaling to many diseases via simple software updates improving the cost and access to infectious disease diagnostics worldwide.
“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.”
Alex Batchelor, Chief Executive Officer of OxDX
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.”
“We look forward to working with the OxDX team to achieve the full potential of their technology, operating at the intersection of machine learning and microscopy, applied to diagnostics. This type of transformative technology can have a huge positive impact on the world."
Dr Joanna Green, Principal at Ahren Innovation Capital
- ‘Virus detection and identification in minutes using single-particle imaging and deep learning’, medRxiv https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.10.13.20212035v3
- ‘Rapid functionalisation and detection of viruses via a novel Ca 2+-mediated virus-DNA interaction’, Scientific Reports Nature Research https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6838052/