13 Development of magnetometer immunoassay technology for the rapid and cost effective detection of endemic animal diseases and pathogens (zoonoses)

Lead Research Organisation: University of the West of England
Department Name: Faculty of Environment and Technology

Abstract

International trading of food from animal sources is very intensive. Regulations decree that the production of animal products is free from zoonoses that can affect humans. Food producers wish to avoid the costs associated with other animal diseases. Regulatory authorities wish to reduce the cost of testing, especially visual inspection at slaughterhouses. Building on solid scientific and commercial research evidence resulting from a recently completed TSB GRD-funded project, this project now aims to take MagSer (i.e.a serology test for zoonoses and animal diseases) from Proof of Principle (PoP) to a fully developed instrument and suite of assays for screening animal diseases and zoonoses. The novelty and advantage of MagSer lies in the unique combination of immuno-magnetic capture of paramagnetic particles (beads) with highly sensitive magnetometer instrumentation to detect and quantify antibodies captured on the beads. The main innovations will be the a disposable measurement technology directly applicable to the measurement of antigen specific antibodies in pig's blood and the development of a rapid, low cost and simple device that can be used at point of test to screen animals for infections and check for efficacy of vaccination. Assay development work is planned at UWE's labs with instrument and consumable development and assay integration and validation being carried out by Clarity Biosolutions Ltd. (CBL).

Technical Summary

International trading of food from animal sources is very intensive. Regulations decree that the production of animal products is free from zoonoses that can affect humans. Food producers wish to avoid the costs associated with other animal diseases. Regulatory authorities wish to reduce the cost of testing, especially visual inspection at slaughterhouses. Building on solid scientific and commercial research evidence resulting from a recently completed TSB GRD-funded project, this project now aims to take MagSer (i.e.a serology test for zoonoses and animal diseases) from Proof of Principle (PoP) to a fully developed instrument and suite of assays for screening animal diseases and zoonoses. The novelty and advantage of MagSer lies in the unique combination of immuno-magnetic capture of paramagnetic particles (beads) with highly sensitive magnetometer instrumentation to detect and quantify antibodies captured on the beads. The main innovations will be the a disposable measurement technology directly applicable to the measurement of antigen specific antibodies in pig's blood and the development of a rapid, low cost and simple device that can be used at point of test to screen animals for infections and check for efficacy of vaccination. Assay development work is planned at UWE's labs with instrument and consumable development and assay integration and validation being carried out by Clarity Biosolutions Ltd. (CBL).

Planned Impact

This project is focused on addressing a number of impact objectives.

Market: The Magnetometer Immunoassay (MIA) technology developed by the University of the West of England (UWE) promises to be a disruptive diagnostic platform in a broad range of market segments. At the end of the project a robust, cost-effective, flexible and portable platform for testing a range of animal diseases and zoonoses will be brought to the market by Clarity Biosolutions Ltd (CBL) or a licensee.

Society: The outcomes of this project will have significant impact on health and wellbeing by providing a cost-effective, portable platform for testing for foodborne pathogens that will increase monitoring and consequently reduce cases of foodborne illnesses.

Economic: In the short term there will be economic benefits in terms of growth of CBL and investment in new employees. In addition, the economic benefit may be extremely wide as a result of the reduction of UK healthcare burden and cost of foodborne illnesses.

Commercial: A significant by-product of this project will be wider commercial impact through the development and commercialization of a technology for measurement of antibodies and other products based on the MIA platform technology.

Research and Technological: The project will target the development of new assay systems for the Magneto Immunoassay (MIA) technology. This will help to enhance UK's importance in the field of bio-sensing systems. Importantly, it will provide a high-impact demonstration of the technology.

Publications

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Description This project has delivered a new magneto-immunoassay based detection device and associated test consumables for the detection of animal diseases and zoonoses in pigs. Measurements have shown that the system is capable of detecting required targets at relevant levels within samples. The aim is for the device to be used in the food and veterinary industries and the technique is unique providing a robust, portable and cost effective system. The partner company is currently progressing the technology towards commercial product and successful implementation will enable early detection of infection and reduce both the risk of infection to humans and the cost burden associated with detection later in the processing pathway.
The technology developed is a platform that can potential be used in a range of other agri-food applications but also in other fields including healthcare and environmental monitoring.
Exploitation Route The aim is to develop a technology that can detect animal disease and zoonoses. The target users for the technology are veterinarians and farmers, although it potentially it could be used others who have an interest in ensuring the health of an animal. The project was focus on 3 key porcine diseases. However the technology could be relatively easily adapted to other animal disease. In the longer term it may be adaptable for home use for pets.
The technology is adaptable to other application areas and the learning within this project can help to accelerate development of the technology for other application areas.
Measurements have been carried out on real samples and although not published currently because of commercial sensitivity. In due course it is intended to make this data available widely available to provide greater understanding of animal diseases and zoonoses.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

 
Description The results of the project have led to the economic growth of a company as additional investment has been secured to support commercialization of the technology. Four new members of R&D staff have been employed in the company to support the commercialization process. The underlying technology has also been used to progress diagnostic technology towards commercialisation in the healthtech field. Trials of a diagnostic for home monitoring of patients with COPD have been trialled in a patient study.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Healthcare
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Rapid diagnosis of Urinary Tract Infection in Primary Healthcare
Amount £1,202,402 (GBP)
Funding ID II-LB-0417-20004 
Organisation National Institute for Health Research 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2018 
End 05/2021
 
Description Real-Time Blood Propofol Monitoring
Amount £337,878 (GBP)
Funding ID 133875 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2019 
End 12/2020
 
Description Clarity Zoonoses Collaboration 
Organisation Clarity BioSolutions
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The research team at UWE has provided the scientific underpinning development of the magnetometer device and the assay system for detection of animal diseases and zoonoses.
Collaborator Contribution Clarity provided input to the design of the consumable particular focusing on ensuring design is appropriate for commercial manufacture
Impact The outputs include a new prototype technology for detecting diseases in pigs, economic growth of the company and the scientific understanding for development of diagnostic systems for field use.
Start Year 2013
 
Description North Bristol NHS Trust 
Organisation North Bristol NHS Trust
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The magnetometer technology developed in this project has been adapted for a new application in a medical field. This is aimed at developing a point of care diagnostic.
Collaborator Contribution The partner provides the clinical and user perspective for the new adaptation of the technology
Impact New NIHR grant funding secured
Start Year 2017
 
Title Particle facilitated testing 
Description A new immunoassay technology for rapid detection of biomarkers using magnetic particles as labels 
IP Reference US9610584 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2017
Licensed Yes
Impact Corresponding European patent at the point of being granted (European Patent Application No. 08718830.6 )
 
Company Name MIATech Biosolutions Limited 
Description Research and development of products for food safety testing 
Year Established 2013 
Impact Better understanding of commercial environment by members of the team who were founders and then for period acted as CEO and CTO of the company. Currently commercializing new technologies developed by the team
 
Description Bristol Girl Geeks 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation aimed at female high tech professionals and academics to raise awareness of new technologies for monitoring animal health. There was good feedback to the event with a number of audience members expressing their interest in collaboration and increased understanding of the importance and complexities of monitoring animal diseases.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Public lecture - biosensors for zoonoses 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public presentation associated with the use of biosensors, particularly focusing on animal diseases. Many people indicated that it had significantly raised their understanding and interest in the field.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015