A University of Oxford spinout has raised £2.6 million in pre-seed funding for its AI-powered diagnostic technology.

OxDX is building instant pathogen tests using super-resolution microscopy and machine learning. These can recognise and identify specific species and strains of viruses, bacteria and other pathogens within a sample in seconds. 

In the case of COVID-19 and influenza viruses, it can directly identify the strain.

The initial funding is co-led by IQ Capital and Ahren Innovation Capital with participation from Science Creates Ventures, and will be used to expand the team and further validate the technology with development partners.

“Our ability to take a sample from someone with an unknown infection and answer the open question ‘what do they have?’ within a minute is a gamechanger for infection diagnosis and treatment,” said CEO Alex Batchelor. 

“We’ll start with respiratory viruses and expand from there. In parallel, we’ll be simplifying the workflow to move the test from the lab to point of care, which will represent a step change in the availability and cost of infectious disease diagnostics worldwide.”

Ed Stacey, managing partner at IQ Capital Partners, added: “The potential of OxDX’s technology to identify diseases ‘while you wait,’ and roll out tests for new pathogens with just a software update is going to revolutionise diagnostics and patient treatment. 

“This incredible team have already achieved an enormous amount and I’m looking forward to seeing the impact they have on the field of infectious disease diagnostics.”

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