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Scottish startup Microplate Dx secures £2.5M to reduce deaths caused by drug-resistant infections

Microplate Dx founders
Picture credits: Microplate Dx

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common bacterial infections, with research estimating there are at least 92 million people worldwide experiencing UTIs annually. In the UK alone, UTIs were responsible for 13.7% of all antibiotics prescribed in community practice in the NHS. Microplate Dx’s platform will help tackle UTIs and the company has already completed several successful clinical studies. 

Raises £2.5M for US expansion

Now, the Glasgow diagnostics spinout Microplate Dx has closed a £2.5 million seed funding round to develop its point-of-care diagnostic platform. The funding came from existing investors, including Deepbridge Capital LLP and the University of Strathclyde alongside new investors Scottish Enterprise (which backed BDD and SOLASTA Bio), impact investor SIS Ventures, and Boston-based life sciences investor Thairm Bio. 

The new funding will allow Microplate Dx to continue its clinical trials in 2024/25. The company also intends to launch its platform commercially across European pharmacies and enter into the US market. The company currently employs 12 staff with plans to increase headcount by 25% over the coming year.

Ben Carter, Head of Life Sciences at Deepbridge Capital, commented: “Microplate Dx is exactly the type of highly innovative and growth-focused Company that the Enterprise Investment Scheme is designed to empower. Working with partners at the University of Strathclyde, Scottish Enterprise, SIS Ventures and Thairm Bio highlights the positive impact of collaboration; supporting an ambitious organisation which is seeking to address one of the world’s most pressing scientific challenges. Dr Hannah and the team have made remarkable progress to date and we are delighted that our funding, provided by the Deepbridge Life Sciences EIS, can assist Microplate Dx’s exciting future progress.”

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal & Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, said: “Microplate Dx is a hugely innovative University spinout that is on an incredibly exciting journey to develop cutting edge technology that has the potential to transform diagnostic techniques and positively impact people’s health and well-being. The University is delighted to make further investments in the company to support their progress with clinical trials and take further steps towards commercialisation. They are led by a great team and I am confident they will achieve their targeted success.”

Kerry Sharp, Director of Entrepreneurship and Investment at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Our investment in Microplate Dx typifies our support for early-stage, high-growth companies; having assisted with the development of the platform through our High Growth Spinout Programme and follow-on grant funding, contributing to this round alongside our co-investors will help commercialise the technology and potentially expand its reach into new infectious disease areas of significant clinical need.”

Arran Dewar, Executive Director, SIS Ventures added: “Microplate Dx aligns perfectly with SIS Ventures’ goal of investing in impact-led enterprises to help address society’s greatest challenges and needs. Through its mission of improving patient quality of life, impact is at the very core of the company’s DNA. We’re looking forward to helping Stuart and his team continue embedding this impact, alongside ESG, as the business grows.”

Rapid test for antibiotic resistance 

Microplate Dx is a spin-out from the University of Strathclyde in 2022. It was founded by Dr Stuart Hannah alongside co-founders Professor Damion Corrigan, Professor Paul Hoskisson and Dr Poonam Malik.

Combining novel hardware with proprietary data processing algorithms, Microplate Dx has developed a platform for rapid antibiotic susceptibility testing, enabling the optimum antibiotic to be prescribed by a clinician in minutes rather than days. The platform confirms the presence of bacteria and guides a patient’s doctor to effective treatment by rapidly identifying effective antibiotics to use and which ones to avoid. Also, it helps reduce the number of deaths from drug-resistant infections.

Dr Stuart Hannah, Microplate Dx CEO, said: “Our mission at Microplate Dx is to improve the quality of lives for patients by providing antimicrobial stewardship cost-effectively. Any delay in identifying the correct antibiotic for treatment can put lives at risk and huge pressure on clinical decision-making, especially when the antibiotic sensitivity data that Microplate Dx can produce in an hour or less compared to the current approach that can take two days using existing techniques.”

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