Oxford University and Prenetics announce collaboration to launch COVID-19 testing tech globally

The multi-million pound collaboration is a three-year project with Oxford University, Prenetics and Oxford Suzhou for Advanced Research (OSCAR) for Molecular Diagnostics.
By Sara Mageit
05:48 am
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(Photo by Darla Williams/ Getty Images)

The University of Oxford, Prenetics, a diagnostics and genetic testing company, and Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research (OSCAR) have signed collaboration agreements to further develop OxLAMPTM technology, a molecular testing technology for infectious diseases.

Following the acquisition by Prenetics of Oxsed, an Oxford University spin-out company from October 2020, the aim has been to establish a scientific and long-term collaboration to advance molecular diagnostic testing for global unmet needs.

A new Prenetics Innovation Technology Centre (ITC) for Advanced Molecular Diagnostics has been established, which will be based in OSCAR, Oxford University’s first overseas centre for research in physical and engineering sciences, located in China’s Jiangsu Province.

WHY IT MATTERS

The Prenetics ITC centre will convene researchers in bio-sensing, clinical virology, microbiology and medical devices in efforts to enhance technology development for molecular diagnostics. A research programme has also been launched in the University of Oxford in the UK.

The OxLAMP RaViD Direct SARS-CoV-2 product has been developed to help global communities worldwide with testing results for the detection of COVID-19.

The OxLAMP tests are capable of identifying the presence of COVID-19 in 20 minutes without the use of traditional laboratories. The tests claim to have 96% sensitivity and 99.9% specificity and has been put into use at airports globally, including in London Heathrow.

The OxLAMP test for SARS-CoV-2 has received CE-IVD, MHRA approval and efforts are underway for a submission to FDA under the EUA protocols for SARS-CoV-2.

THE LARGER CONTEXT

Oxford University has recently launched a trial to investigate which immune responses can stop people becoming re-infected with COVID-19. The findings aim to assist in the future development of vaccines and the containment of the virus.

At the end of last year, a rapid AI screening test was developed by researchers at the University of Oxford to screen patients arriving in emergency departments for COVID-19.

ON THE RECORD

Professor Zhanfeng Cui, Donald Pollock Professor of Chemical Engineering at Oxford University and founding director at OSCAR said: “The initial collaboration with Prenetics has exceeded all expectations and their team led by Danny Yeung has been highly involved on a daily basis with our scientific developments. When we think about the future, especially with the pandemic, it’s very apparent that testing is here to stay with us for years to come.

"With this in mind, we are excited about the future roadmap in which we develop novel scientific discoveries to aid the world with fast and accurate molecular testing globally. Our goal is to decentralize laboratory testing with rapid, highly accurate, molecular testing, not just for COVID-19 but for all infectious diseases. I’m confident we can succeed in our mission with Prenetics.”

Danny Yeung, co-founder and group CEO of Prenetics, said: “Our new collaboration with Oxford University and OSCAR is our commitment to continually invest in R&D and by establishing our own Innovation Technology Centre, we believe it will have profound breakthroughs in molecular diagnostics. We also expect more top researchers to be based in Suzhou and in Oxford over the next three years into our technology centre. The Oxford team of professors has been amazing and I’m truly excited with our molecular diagnostic pipeline and the opportunity to decentralise laboratory testing globally.”

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