Rapid Biosensor is poised to attract significant licensing deals for its TB breathalyser technology having proven that its technology works extremely well at the point-of-care. The company’s Founders have had their sights firmly fixed on profitable growth from licensing revenues, initially from the TB Breathalyser. The Board is planning to create additional commercial impact from new developments that equally will address the need for other disposable biosensor devices that can detect diseases very rapidly. The management team, located at the Babraham Research Campus in Cambridge UK are attracting significant traction from Investors and big pharma alike.
Rapid Biosensor new development programmes are just as attractive as its breakthrough solution for screening TB. A rapid test for bacterial pneumonia and a clutch of other future products will enable the company to increase its value by following many growth opportunities all underpinned by a strong portfolio of patents.
RBS retains all its intellectual property rights to collaborate with organisations on a wide range of applications for the biosensor technology. The company has made considerable progress in adapting the technology to analyse liquid as well as aerosol samples, which will significantly broaden the potential applications for the solution. In particular, RBS has identified new market opportunities: sputum-based TB diagnostic testing, testing for bovine TB and testing for bacterial pneumonia.
Sputum-based TB diagnosis: RBS is applying its patented technology to provide a rapid, laboratory-based test to replace the sputum smear and culture test. RBS’s established USPs – ease of use, rapid availability of results, and low cost – will differentiate the RBS TB sputum test from current methods. At the time of writing, RBS has carried out early stage proof-of-principle tests which indicate that it will be possible to detect TB in sputum taken from actively infectious people, especially those in the early stages. The results should be available in minutes.
Rapid testing for bovine TB: Bovine tuberculosis (BTB) is highly contagious, reducing yields, especially of milk. Besides cattle, the disease is also found in other species, particularly deer and badgers. It was thought to have been largely eradicated in the UK by the 1970s, but it returned in the early 1980s and is now established in the Midlands, southwest and Wales. Around 2,000 cases are confirmed each year. RBS has completed proof-of-principle design for fluid/blood collector hardware and will shortly begin testing on animals.
Testing for pneumonia: Pneumonia is a common illness affecting approximately 450 million people a year and occurring in all parts of the world. It is a major cause of death among all age groups resulting in 4 million deaths per annum (7% of the world’s yearly total), of which 1.3 million infant deaths. Diagnosis is not straight forward, nor is it easy to distinguish between bacterial and viral forms of the disease (and hence the most appropriate treatment pathway.) Current testing is done using a number of indicative tests which do not detect for the bacilli themselves, ie using blood counts, sputum and X-ray screening; all of which are non-specific. In the Third World it is often diagnosed instead of TB, causing catastrophic problems with the TB cure rates (30% in Ethiopia.) Thus a definitive test for bacterial pneumonia is paramount.
We envisage a pneumonia test used in conjunction with a TB test for definitive differentiation and screening/diagnosis at POC, which will be especially valuable in the third world.