N8 Research Partnership Supports Next Generation Diagnostic and Sequencing Technologies

19 October 2011

QuantuMDx Group Limited, a leading handheld diagnostics and sequencing devices company based in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK and supported by the N8 Research Partnership, has signed an exclusive license agreement with NanoSys Inc, an advanced materials architect. The deal includes several patents and patent applications related to the use of nanostructures for biosensors.

The N8 Research Partnership is a collaboration between the Universities of Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York, which focuses on the research strengths of the North of England. Centres have been established which focus on strengths such as molecular engineering (METRC) and regenerative medicine (Regener8), each working to create collaboration between industry and academia.

QuantuMDx Group is emerging as one of the most exciting diagnostics and sequencing companies to take the global stage and is set to develop the world’s first hand-held DNA Sequencer capable of supporting the rapid delivery of personalised medicine across both developed and developing nations.

METRC have been working closely with QuantuMDx to provide them with access to world leading research in the N8 universities, which, in turn, has enabled the company to advance their technology to such an extent as to attract significant funding and secure the exclusive worldwide licence with NanoSys. NanoSys owns an extensive IP portfolio around multiple aspects of nanotechnology including quantum dots and nanowires for diverse applications. QuantuMDx Group will use the exclusive access to these nanowire composition, synthesis and use patents, along with its proprietary molecular biology, chemistry and microfluidic technologies in a series of hand-held and portable devices for molecular diagnostics, DNA sequencing and proteomics.

Professor Tony Ryan, Pro Vice Chancellor for Science at University of Sheffield and METRC Academic Director explained: “QuantuMDx needed help to develop their idea for a hand-held medical diagnostic device into reality. They identified expertise needed within chemistry and biology, we then introduced them to suitable academics within the N8, at Newcastle University and Sheffield University. We part-funded two small projects with QuantuMDx, one at each university. These projects were very successful and we further supported the consortia (QuantuMDx and the two universities) to gain close to £2M of grant funding.”

N8 and METRC have also supported QuantuMDx to work more closely with Prof. Sir John Burn, Professor of Clinical Genetics at Newcastle University’s Institute of Genetic Medicine. Prof. Burn is an expert in genotyping and gene sequencing and one of the key academics within the N8 Partnership. He received his knighthood in June last year for services to healthcare including his pioneering work using aspirin in cancer prevention.

Speaking at the International Congress of Human Genetics in Montreal, Canada, recently, Prof Burn previewed QuantuMDx’s technology, invented by the company’s CSO Jonathan O’Halloran, that could eventually mature into the world’s first handheld DNA sequencer, a handheld point-of-care instrument that is dubbed Q-POC™, which Burn likened to “a big fat iPhone.”

Elaine Warburton, chief executive of QuantuMDx commented “We are working closely with Newcastle and Sheffield Universities and healthcare professionals within the region to develop and roll out our exciting and ground breaking technology, and look forward to building on established partnerships with other N8 universities as QuantuMDx continues to innovate, grow and hopefully become a major employer within the N8 region.”

The N8 are working together to support industry and give them access to the world class research base in the North, creating 60 jobs and working with 200 businesses in the past three years.

Find out more about accessing world leading research through the N8 Research Partnership

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