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Owlstone Medical, University of Manchester Win Asthma Research Grant

NEW YORK (360Dx) — Owlstone Medical and the University of Manchester announced today that they have partnered on the development of a breath-based diagnostic for asthma with funding from British research organizations Asthma UK and Innovate UK.

The partners will use the £249,950 ($327,498) grant to conduct a three-year study in which Owlstone's Breath Biopsy platform — which uses Field Asymmetric Ion Mobility Spectrometry technology to test breath samples for metabolomic biomarkers — to collect samples from asthmatic patients and healthy controls. The samples will be analyzed to identify breath-based biomarkers and measures of small airway function to enable the definitive diagnosis of asthma and to guide treatment decisions.

Study findings will also be integrated with data from the Rapid Access Diagnostics for Asthma study, a National Institute for Health Research Manchester Biomedical Research Centre-funded study of asthma diagnosis, to compare the clinical utility of breath-based biomarkers with existing large airway tests.

"Our partnership with the University of Manchester builds on prior work Owlstone Medical has done as part of the STRATA trial," Owlstone Cofounder and CEO Billy Boyle said in a statement. "Also funded and supported by Asthma UK and Innovate UK, STRATA was designed to conduct research into the use of [volatile organic compounds] in patients' exhaled breath as a way to select the best individualized treatment."

About a year ago, Cambridge, UK-based Owlstone signed a service agreement with AstraZeneca to study breath-based biomarkers for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.