Attomarker: Transforming Diagnostic Technology with Innovative Breakthroughs

December 12, 2023

BY Alexander Kalis

Attomarker, a notable investment of the Milltrust British Innovation Fund II and a spinout from the University of Exeter, stands at the forefront of diagnostic technology. The company has developed a groundbreaking finger-prick blood test capable of detecting multiple biomarkers for a wide range of diseases, including Long Covid, Sepsis and, in the future pipeline, Alzheimer’s, in a remarkably short time. This innovative advancement not only exemplifies the Fund’s commitment to supporting cutting-edge scientific developments but also underscores Attomarker’s pivotal role in transforming medical diagnostics. This article delves into the scientific underpinnings, applications, and future potential of Attomarker’s technology, showcasing its impact in the realm of healthcare innovation.

The realm of diagnostic medicine has long sought rapid, efficient, and minimally invasive methods for disease detection. Attomarker’s development of a finger-prick, single sample, multiplex rapid blood test represents a significant leap in this direction. This innovative technology, soon to be available in a handheld, alongside the current benchtop instrument offers a new paradigm in medical diagnostics.

Technology Overview
Attomarker’s nanophotonic technology utilises gold nanoparticles printed on an array of sensor spots. Each nanoparticle is engineered to bind to specific proteins, allowing for the detection in minutes of up to 20 biomarkers from a sample as small as 0.01ml, and up to 0.05ml, depending on the test. It can be used at point of care, or in a laboratory setting. In contrast, if you require a number of traditional hospital blood tests, you could end up having about 30 ml of blood taken by venous draw, with all the associated challenges of sample handling and time taken.

Working Principle
The technology functions by illuminating the blood serum sample as it flows over the array. The nanoparticles scatter light in a pattern that changes with the mass of biomarker on the surface, indicating the quantity and quality of biomarkers present in the sample. This method provides rapid and precise results within seven to ten minutes.

Disease Diagnosis
The primary application of Attomarker’s technology is in the rapid diagnosis of various diseases. Its ability to detect biomarkers associated with long Covid, Sepsis and, soon, Alzheimer’s is particularly notable. The technology’s versatility extends to the detection of proteins related to female fertility, food allergy, diabetes, and more.

Antimicrobial Resistance
Attomarker’s technology also shows promise in combating antimicrobial resistance. By distinguishing between bacterial and viral infections, it aids in the appropriate prescription of antibiotics, thereby reducing the over-use that leads to resistance.

Alzheimer’s Disease
A specific assay is in development for detecting nine different biomarkers associated with Alzheimer’s disease. This includes variants of tau protein and beta amyloid protein, offering a new avenue for early detection and management of this condition.

Market and Commercialisation
Attomarker’s journey in the landscape of diagnostic technology is marked by strategic market entry and expansive commercialisation plans. Initially targeting private clinics, Attomarker aims to leverage the high-margin environment to refine and establish its technology. This focus on private healthcare sectors allows for intensive application and feedback, essential for honing their innovative diagnostic solutions.

The vision for Attomarker transcends the confines of private clinics. The company is set to expand into more extensive healthcare systems, notably national services such as the NHS. This expansion is propelled by the technology’s cost-effectiveness and efficiency, pivotal in rendering it a practical option for comprehensive clinical use. This step towards larger healthcare systems, and into animal as well as human health, represents Attomarker’s commitment to making advanced, rapid disease detection widely accessible.

Future Prospects and Global Reach
Attomarker’s forward-looking vision includes not only technological advancements and optimising the use of data analytics and AI in healthcare, but also geographical expansion. A key area of focus is the integration of its diagnostic technology with mobile devices. An upcoming handheld device, expected to revolutionise the diagnostic process, will connect a diagnostic cartridge to a mobile phone. This integration is poised to make the technology more accessible and versatile, extending its reach to remote and resource-limited environments.

Significantly, Attomarker is exploring potential opportunities in the Indian market. The company is in discussions with a major Indian conglomerate to explore collaborative prospects. This partnership could involve setting up production facilities and leveraging local medical expertise, potentially addressing significant health challenges like antimicrobial resistance, Dengue Fever, and undifferentiated acute febrile infection. Importantly, in acute settings, the opportunity to create vectors of infection severity and /or multiple tests in quick succession should enable accurate and effective triage of cases. In the UK alone for example, Sepsis takes around 48,000 lives a year. Half of them children under 5, and many who could be saved with timely intervention. The Indian market, with its vast population and growing healthcare needs, presents a substantial opportunity for Attomarker to enhance healthcare outcomes.

Attomarker’s diagnostic technology, with its minimal invasiveness, swift results, and wide-ranging applicability, is poised to redefine diagnostic practices globally. As the technology advances towards broader commercialisation, including its anticipated introduction in India through strategic partnerships, it is set to become a cornerstone tool in both clinical settings and wider healthcare applications. This expansion marks not just a growth trajectory for Attomarker but signifies a transformative moment in the field of medical diagnostics, where accessibility, efficiency, and accuracy converge to meet global health needs.

Current Funding Round
Attomarker is currently in the midst of a funding round, actively seeking investment to further propel their groundbreaking work in diagnostic technology. This presents a unique opportunity for professional investors interested in contributing to a cutting-edge field with significant global impact potential. For more information and to explore investment possibilities, professional investors can contact [email protected].

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