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Sense Biodetection Raises £12.3M to Develop Instrument-Free MDx Tests

NEW YORK – Sense Biodetection said Tuesday that it has raised £12.3 million ($15.9 million) to develop a portfolio of instrument-free, point-of-care molecular diagnostic tests.

The Cambridge, UK-based company said it has raised £10.5 million in Series A funding co-led by Cambridge Innovation Capital and Earlybird, with participation from Jonathan Milner and seed round investor Mercia Asset Management. Sense has also secured a grant of £1.8 million from Innovate UK.

The firm said it anticipates investing the funds in the development and manufacture of a range of tests that employ a rapid molecular amplification technology. According to the company's website, the tests will use a "simple and ultra-rapid alternative" to PCR that enables "sensitive detection of specific nucleic acids without the need for complex hardware."

Sense said that its products will allow rapid testing for viral and bacterial pathogens, such as those causing respiratory infections or sexually transmitted diseases. It expects to first target infectious disease testing applications, such as influenza.

Instrument-free molecular diagnostic tests could be deployed in almost any setting, readily adopted by new users, and scaled to meet demand, the firm noted. Sense said that adopters will be able to do testing within minutes in doctors’ offices, pharmacies, or community facilities, ensuring timely treatment and management of infections.