Manchester, United Kingdom
Manchester, United Kingdom

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Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.0-1 | Award Amount: 8.03M | Year: 2013

Point-of-care (PoC) medical devices have the potential to revolutionise clinical practice. SMEs within our Consortium (Epistem & Biosurfit) have developed genetic and protein PoC devices to deliver on this promise. Results from these enabling technologies will be integrated using novel bioinformatics tools and algorithms (Qlucore) allowing for bed-side analysis. This integrated genetic-protein approach will exploit recent biomarker discoveries from the FP7 project SPHINX, to improve the management of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infected patients. We will focus on two public health problems: (i) addressing the need to predict, pre-treatment, individuals in resource poor countries (e.g. Egypt) who will benefit from conventional treatment; and (ii) helping to limit treatment costs globally, where new therapies for HCV are anticipated to significantly increase health care expenditures. The predicitve biomarkers are ready for immediate implementation and will greatly improve HCV patient management issues such as decision to treat, selection of therapy, and response-guided monitoring. The predictive power of the SPHINX biomarkers are reliant upon the combination of genetic and protein data. Highlighting the innovative aspect of our proposed work, no clinical algorithms have taken advantage of such a combined genetic / protein biomarker approach for diagnostic tests. To realise this vision, Qlucore will establish patient population-based algorithms that integrate the PoC data on a mobile application, thus facilitating immediate interpretation by physicians. Together, our Consortium will boost prior FP7 discoveries and deliver an integrated platform for predictive and prognostic applications. The associated SMEs will expand their portfolio, but more importantly, our consortium will forge a lasting partnership, formalised by the creation of a new corporation that will have the freedom to market and exploit our collective results.


Patent
Epistem Ltd | Date: 2012-01-06

A method for analysing genetic mutations, and in particular single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and/or somatic mutations, is described, as well as methods for preferentially amplifying one allelic form compared with another form. The methods use an oligonucleotide probe which hybridises to a first allele with a lower melting temperature (Tm) than that with which it hybridises to a second allele, together with amplification primers which flank the oligonucleotide probe binding site and which bind to the sample with a higher Tm than that of the probe and the first allele. An amplification reaction may be carried out at a temperature such that the probe is preferentially hybridised to the second allele, thereby amplifying the first allele. The amplified sequences may be detected using the same probe as acted as the blocking probe during amplification.


Patent
Epistem Ltd | Date: 2013-05-20

A method and device for extracting nucleic acids from a biological sample is described. The device includes a substrate, such as a cellulose filter, functionalised with a biocidal agent having multiple functional groups including a binding moiety, which is involved in binding the agent to the substrate; a hydrophobic moiety; and a charged moiety. The various functional groups serve to bind the agent to the substrate, weaken or lyse the cell wall or membrane of the sample, and retain nucleic acids on the substrate. A preferred biocidal agent is a silylated quaternary ammonium compound (SiQAC), for example 3-(trimethoxysilyl) propyldimethyloctadecyl ammonium chloride.


Patent
EPISTEM Ltd | Date: 2013-08-07

We describe a quantitative PCR (qPCR) instrument for combined qPCR and melt curve (dissociation and/or association curve) analysis. The instrument has at least one optical channel; a fluorescence excitation source; a fluorescence detector; an electronic analogue signal amplifier having an input coupled to an output of the fluorescence detector; and an analogue-to-digital converter (ADC) having analogue input coupled to an output of the analogue signal amplifier. The instrument further comprises a quantified automatic gain control (AGC) loop coupled between the signal output of the fluorescence detector and the analogue input of the ADC. The AGC loop is configured to apply a determined, numerical gain value to a fluorescence signal for the analogue input of the ADC. The instrument also includes a system to scale a digital output of the ADC responsive to the numerical gain value and to provide a digital fluorescence level signal from the scaled digital output.


Probes and methods are described for detecting polymorphisms, including short tandem repeats, in a target nucleotide sequence. The probes include first and second regions separated by a linker sequence, with the first and second regions having discrete melting temperatures with their respective target sequences. In a first embodiment, the first and second regions are both reporter sequences; in a second embodiment, one region is an anchor sequence while the other is a reporter sequence.


Patent
EPISTEM Ltd | Date: 2014-02-11

A sample preparation cartridge is described having a lower portion having four integrally-formed leaf springs, and a raised lower base part which is slightly below the level of the leaf springs. An upper portion of the cartridge engages with the lower portion, via four paired pins and holes formed in the lower and upper portions. The upper portion includes three well-shaped openings formed in the central region of the upper portion. Between the upper and lower portions is placed a sheet of sample preparation paper, resting on the leaf springs, which raise the lower face of the paper away from the raised lower base part, leaving a small air gap between the base and the paper. The upper face of the paper is in contact with the well-shaped openings of the upper portion. The user loads a liquid sample into the openings, and the paper wicks the liquid sample away from the loading location, leaving cellular debris in the place of application. Applying pressure to the upper portion of the cartridge urges the paper into contact with the raised base portion, so providing a firm base which allows the user to remove sections of the paper, using for example a biopsy needle, for further processing.


Patent
Epistem Ltd | Date: 2014-09-30

A method and an oligonucleotide probe are described for determining the presence or absence of mutant alleles in a genomic locus. The probe binds to different alleles of a target sequence with different melting temperatures (Tm). The method determines the Tm of the probe when it is hybridized to the target sequence to establish whether a variant nucleic acid such as a mutant allele is present or absent in the target sequence. There may be variants in a target sequence that are not of interest, for example phenotypically silent mutations. To ensure that these variants do not influence the Tm of the probe, the probe contains universal base sites where such variants of no interest occur.


Patent
Epistem Ltd | Date: 2012-09-25

An assay for mutations in JAK2 is described. The assay uses selective amplification of mutant alleles with a blocker probe which preferentially hybridises to wild type alleles. The same probe is then used to detect presence or absence of wild type sequences. It is not necessary to know the specific mutant sequence beforehand.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Feasibility Study | Award Amount: 143.85K | Year: 2013

Epistem, a UK company with expertise in delivering dermatological testing services and ScandiDerma, a Norwegian company with expertise in developing new dermatological ingredients from biomass, aims to develop a new in vitro human living skin equivalent model for testing inflammatory responses. This is a novel method that will add to the field of dermatological testing as a whole and help create more activity in extracting high value compounds from biomass.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Collaborative Research & Development | Award Amount: 814.52K | Year: 2015

Disease associated with White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) and Early Mortality Synrdome (EMS) together cause over $3bn annual losses to the global farmed shrimp industry. Current losses from these pathogens alone far exceed all shrimp products imported to the EU each year. Accurate detection and management of disease is central to poverty alleviation in producer nations and food security in net importing countries. A recent UKTI funded workshop on Disease in Aquaculture highlighted how so-called decentralised testing (i.e. on farm) and reporting of data via smartphones has potential to dramatically improve health status of aquatic farms in Asia. Here, we will validate and apply a cutting edge UK-based technology (Genedrive) and a novel smartphone app to collect and transmit disease data from remote farms to centralised reference laboratories. By bringing together UK experts in diagnosis, pathology and epidemiology of WSD, with industry specialists, the aim is to drastically improve detection and management of economically damaging diseases in global aquaculture. We will contribute to poverty alleviation and food security agendas using UK-based technologies and expertise.

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