Alongside this year’s Silicon Gorge: Autumn Edition we’re publishing profiles of a few of the companies that have made it through to the heats. This week it’s Bristol-based biotech company FluoretiQ.

Here to answer our questions is FluoretiQ co-founder and CEO Neciah Dohr.

What does your company do?

FluoretiQ Limited (FQ), an early-stage UK company, was founded in March 2017, to solve the £1.1 Bn problem of using broad-spectrum antibiotics as an alternative to accurate diagnosis of infection. We have developed NANOPLEX™ technology to rapidly identify bacteria in 15 minutes. Our first product is a rapid point of care (POC) system for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) to enable Healthcare professionals to actively reduce broad-spectrum antibiotic use and hospitalisations within primary care.

What problem are you trying to solve?

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) are the second most common infection in primary care and currently relies on empirical antibiotic treatment, insensitive dipstick testing and confirmation of infection via the 3-day microbial culture. The ineffectiveness of this clinical pathway regularly leads to recurrent GP visits, long-term antibiotic use and hospitalisation.

Even with new antibiotics under development, the only way to safeguard the future is to develop faster diagnostics to support clinicians at the point of care.

What makes your solution unique?

Our solution uses NANOPLEX™ technology to rapidly identify bacterial infection within 15 minutes.

Epithelial cells are coated in glycans, simple sugars which are exploited by pathogens through binding to establish bacterial infections. By mimicking this interaction, we have engineered a proprietary library of probes capable of selectively binding to clinically relevant bacteria.

Our first product is a point of care device to address the top 5 species implicated in UTI.  It uses NANOPLEX™ probes, low-cost microscopic techniques, and automated image analysis to report bacterial ID and concentration within 15 minutes- over 200x faster than the gold standard of lab testing.

What are you most proud of so far?

I’m immensely proud of our team and their response during lockdown. Their efforts in keeping things going has been nothing short of amazing. We got so much done, including filing 2 patents and even picking up an award at the AMR conference hosted by BIOCOM in August. They’ve been working tremendously hard.

How much are you raising and what do you want to use investment for?

We are an early-stage, pre-revenue company and have raised a total of £1M in grant, VC and angel investment to date. We have been successful in raising grant funding and continue to use grant funding to finance our R&D programme and development of our intellectual property portfolio.

Our next funding round of £1.5 Million will enable us to focus on product development, clinical performance evaluations and regulatory approval.

What tools/people/services/organisations helped you most?

Over the course of our development we have received support and advice from numerous sources:

  • Angel/ VC investors (Deepbridge Capital/ Bristol Private Equity Club)
  • Local & International Networks (University of Bristol, University of the West of England, QTEC, Unit DX, Health Tech Hub, Bristol Robotics Lab, Clinical Innovation Cardiff, Impulse, Creative Destruction Lab)
  • NHS Support Networks (West of England Health Science Network, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Clinical Research Networks, North Bristol NHS Trust, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Gateshead)
  • National/ International Events (TEDxBristol, MEDICA, DxPx, IUK AMR Global Business Innovation Programme. OBN Awards, RSC Awards, BIOCOM 4th AMR Conference, Launch Great West Awards)

Where can we find out more about you?

Our website, on Twitter @fluoretiQ and LinkedIn