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| April 30, 2020

Sense Accelerates Instrument-free Molecular Diagnostic Test for COVID-19

Marina Turea

Marina is passionate about all emerging technologies in the healthcare space and love to write about all of them. Marina is passionate about all emerging technologies in the healthcare space and love to write about all of them.

Sense Biodetection Limited recently announced a program launching the world’s first point-of-care, instrument-free, a molecular diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus at the root of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sense is closely partnered with Phillips-Medisize, a subsidiary of Molex Incorporated, a medical device innovator, developer, and manufacturer. The goal of the partnership is to increase the production of its new test SARS-CoV-2 to meet the ever-increasing demand for rapid diagnostics.

Sense’s Veros™ SARS-CoV-2 is an easy, disposable test using a nasal swab sample for ultra-rapid results without any instrumentation. Since it is a molecular test, its performance is equal to Gold Standard laboratory tests. However, it’s easy to use anywhere and the results are ready in under 10 minutes. The SARS-CoV-2 test is completely self-contained and can be distributed far and wide, to anywhere it’s needed. This simplicity and ease overcome the logistical, as well as the contamination issues that come with machine-based testing.

The important work undertaken by Sense

Chief executive officer at Sense, Harry Lamble, commented, “The Veros™ COVID-19 test allows infected individuals to be isolated much sooner. At the same time, it reassures uninfected individuals, including healthcare professionals, that they can go back to work without infecting others. Because of its flexibility, accuracy, and speed, the test can be used for quick patient triage inside hospitals as well as primary care facilities, community centers, and pharmacies. The test can even be used by individuals in isolation who fear they may have contracted COVID-19.”

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Sense’s Veros™ SARS-CoV-2 uses Sense’s patented chemistry and technology developed over the preceding six years. These proprietary applications were developed for other infectious diseases, including influenza.

Sense partners provide the capital to make a difference

In October 2019, Sense Biodetection Limited unveiled a £10.5 million Series A investment round in conjunction with Earlybird and Cambridge Innovation Capital. Sense also secured a grant of £1.8 million grant from Innovate UK.

Since that infusion of capital, the company has quickly scaled up its production, putting it in an ideal position to impact the COVID-19 pandemic. Sense’s latest COVID-19 product is one of the first tests marketed under the Veros™ brand.

Mike Anstey, an investment partner at Cambridge Innovation Capital, said, “Sense is creating a product that will prove to be very important to the global initiative to contain the novel coronavirus in the next few months. Potentially, this crisis could go on for years. Cambridge Innovation Capital and co-investors Mercia, Earlybird, and Jonathan Milner are closely working with Sense to make sure it has all the financial resources it needs. This ensures its acceleration towards launching the first disposable nucleic acid test for SARS-CoV-2, also known as COVID-19.”

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A company with a vision

Sense CEO Harry Lamble said, “We are overjoyed to secure the funding we need to begin the formal development of our first testing products. With the support of a stellar investment syndicate, Sense is in a good position to become the first and the best in the innovative field of instrument-free molecular diagnostics. We are ready to realize our vision, transforming healthcare through decentralization.

Sense’s vision is to truly decentralize healthcare. Sense’s products allow rapid testing for both viral and bacterial pathogens, including those that cause respiratory infections and sexually transmitted diseases. These tests can be performed in minutes in the privacy of a doctors’ office, or conveniently at a local pharmacy or community center. The speed and ease of the tests ensure timely treatment and management of infectious diseases.

The current field of molecular diagnostics is dominated by machine-based tests. This is despite the recent availability of near-patient testing equipment licensed for use outside of a laboratory.

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Furthermore, the systems and procedures required to maintain and operate testing machines prohibit their use at the point of care. Ion the other hand, Sense’s instrument-free testing products bring the accuracy of laboratory machine tests into any setting.

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