Adaptive Diagnostics, the winners of the Social Impact Prize at the 2019 StartUp Sussex Awards, have announced the award of a cash grant by Innovate UK to develop a novel diagnostic test for the detection of Covid-19.

The grant was part of a £20million package for business-led innovation in response to global disruption’, aiming to support UK businesses in addressing the emerging or increasing needs of society and industries, during and following the pandemic.

The competition received 8,600 individual applications with 800 cutting-edge companies receiving grants, record numbers for an Innovate UK funded opportunity. Adaptive Diagnostics were one of the successful applicants with their novel biosensor technology. The company is planning to develop a test device that is more accurate, cheaper to manufacture and has a one-step biosafe design when compared to current Covid-19 antibody tests.

The test also adds value to what is currently available on the market as it will follow a ‘multiplex’ detection strategy, meaning that any mutated forms of Covid-19 will now be detectable.

Fergus Morris, CEO of Adaptive Diagnostics, said “As we have seen, a pandemic presents a rapidly changing situation that leads to widespread disruption and tragedy. As a society, we owe a debt to the frontline workers, especially those in healthcare, who have had to face this outbreak directly. We believe it is our responsibility to pivot our efforts towards developing a novel testing platform. The technology behind this test has the potential not only to rapidly screen for SARS-CoV-2 without equipment or training, but also be readily expandable to differentiate between viral pathogens.”

Work is already underway to develop a rapid screening test for Covid-19, but the project also has the potential for much greater future value. The technology being developed by Adaptive Diagnostics provides a platform to detect other deadly public health diseases that cause unimaginable suffering to communities here in the UK and around the world.

This project builds on Adaptive Diagnostic’s mission to combat infectious disease by increasing the global access to pathogen screening through universally adoptable medical devices and ultimately helping to create a future where everyone has access to testing.