British Innovation Fund leads funding round for Attomarker to deliver pioneering Covid-19 testing capability

December 18, 2020

BY Alexander Kalis

We are delighted to reveal that the British Innovation Fund recently led and completed a fundraising round into portfolio company Attomarker, for GBP 1.6 million, alongside HNW investors and the UK government’s Future Fund.

In addition, the company has been awarded a UK government grant of £540k, delivered in recognition of the huge potential of Attomarker’s technology, with the funds to be utilised for two exciting near-term opportunities to be launched shortly:

1) Roll-out of Attomarker’s rapid, multiplex Covid-19 Triple Antibody Test, delivered by its Liscar 5 device, to private clinics in the UK from late 2020, via a nationwide pharmacy supplier (with additional access to over 6,000 clinics in the US). The Liscar 5 is authorised by the UK regulator MHRA (see Table 1 below); and

2) Funding of trials at the UK’s Porton Down laboratory facility, following invitation by the UK government, to trial a rapid, saliva-based, combined antigen / antibody and flu test for Covid-19, to show if a person currently has the virus, has had the virus or is suffering from this season’s flu strains.

Both tests utilise Attomarker’s rapid, multiplex testing capability, offering quantitative results in around seven minutes.

Guy Pengelley, Investment Director of the British Innovation Fund, commented: “We are very pleased to have led this funding round into Attomarker, utilising the UK government’s Future Fund initiative. The two opportunities being pursued could be another contributing factor to releasing the UK and other countries from lockdown in 2021, as well as having the potential to create significant value for the company and its shareholders.”

About Attomarker

Provided seed funding by Milltrust’s British Innovation Fund, Attomarker is an early-stage diagnostics company spun out of the University of Exeter which has invented a new, simple to use, point-of-care blood testing device that can perform multiple tests from a single pinprick of blood in approximately five minutes. The patented Attomarker technology uses a disposable credit-card sized chip that slots into a handheld device docked to an iPhone and provides rapid testing for the healthcare professional and the consumer markets. Alongside its response to Covid-19 (see below), Attomarker is continuing its work towards developing tests for fatty liver disease (a precursor of type-2 diabetes), food allergy diagnosis and to distinguish between bacterial and viral infections.

Attomarker was recently selected as a candidate for the Longitude Prize, a GBP 8 million award in the fight against anti-microbial resistance and was winner of the Oxford Biotech Network’s ‘One to Watch Award’ in 2019. Additionally, its technology is now part of an exhibition at the Science Museum in London.


With the outbreak of Covid-19, Attomarker developed a testing device which, using Attomarker’s multiplex technology, is able to test for three classes of antibodies in just seven minutes, showing a patient’s progress in recovery from the disease. The device, the Liscar 5, is a benchtop machine and has been in use at St Thomas’ NHS Hospital in London since late March. Attomarker is in discussions to partner with a FTSE 100 listed manufacturer, who will manufacture and distribute devices for point-of-care testing. The company hopes to develop a handheld Covid-19 testing device in early 2021.

Attomarker has also progressed development of a saliva-based antigen / antibody / flu test, which would allow more rapid and more accurate confirmation of whether a patient is currently infected; has been infected; or in fact has one of this winter’s flu strains, alongside the degree of recovery being shown. The company has been invited to the Porton Down facility by the UK government to further trial this saliva test.

Table 1 – Comparison of Attomarker’s antibody test

For further information please contact:

British Innovation Fund

Griff Williams, Chief Investment Officer ([email protected]
Simon Hopkins, Chairman ([email protected])  
Alexander Kalis, Portfolio Manager ([email protected])
Guy Pengelley, Investment Director ([email protected])

About Milltrust International Group (“Milltrust”)

With a unique multi-local multi-affiliate structure, Milltrust is an FCA authorised asset manager providing innovative impact investment solutions and delivering genuinely differentiated alpha to our investors around the globe. 

About the British Innovation Fund (the “Fund”)

The British Innovation Fund recognises the world-class science and technology development that is being carried out in many of Britain’s top universities. The Fund invests in and nurtures impactful, early-stage companies – helping them reach their full potential and guiding them to world-wide recognition and success.

Now, more than ever, the university spinouts which form the British Innovation Fund’s investment universe require our support and funding to ensure that the cutting-edge science and technology being developed in British universities continues to progress in these challenging times.