Presymptom Health has raised £1.5 million in follow-on seed and grant funding that will help accelerate time to market of its AI-driven sepsis and infection tests – with the company rolling out its technology to the NHS from mid-2025.

The funding round includes investment from UKI2S, an investment fund that provides seed funding to science & technology startups and SMEs; Ploughshare, which finds uses for government inventions; and MedtechToMarket. 

Innovate UK provided additional funds through an Investor Partnership Grant.

The funding will help accelerate product development, support clinical trial activity and allow the Wiltshire company to secure UKCA accreditation by mid-2025. Presymptom also plans to launch overseas.

Presymptom Health’s technology provides early and reliable information about infection status and severity in patients with non-specific symptoms, helping doctors make better treatment decisions. The company’s tests can be run on NHS PCR platforms, which were widely deployed during the COVID pandemic and are now often under-utilised. By detecting true infection and sepsis earlier, it’s possible to save lives and significantly reduce the incorrect use of antibiotics.

When it comes to sepsis, Presymptom’s technology could revolutionise treatment. According to The UK Sepsis Trust, every 3 seconds, someone in the world dies of sepsis. In the UK alone, 245,000 people are affected by sepsis with at least 48,000 people losing their lives in sepsis-related illnesses every year.

This is more than breast, bowel and prostate cancer combined. When diagnosed at a late stage, the likelihood of death increases by 10% for every hour left untreated. Yet, for many patients, with early diagnosis it is easily treatable.

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“We’re confident that our first product can play a big part in tackling Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR), which has been identified by the World Health Organisation as  one of the top 10 global public health threats,” said Dr Iain Miller, CEO of Presymptom Health.

“By understanding the presence, or absence, of infection as early as possible, doctors can be more confident in their diagnosis and avoid unnecessarily prescribing antibiotics – something that is a growing concern in the NHS and globally.

“If we take Sepsis as an example. Sepsis diagnostics hasn’t moved on in more than a century, and currently doctors can only diagnose it when advanced symptoms and organ failure are present – which is often too late. Our technology enables doctors to diagnose both infection and sepsis up to three days before formal clinical diagnosis, radically transforming the process and preventing unnecessary deaths.

“This funding round will help us enter the market by 2025 and, ultimately, save lives sooner. We will initially roll-out in the UK, but have plans for the US and beyond in the following years. We are hoping to raise further funds over the course of this year and next to accelerate our plans even more.”

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Sakura Holloway, investment director at UKI2S, managed by Future Planet Capital said: “This is an incredibly important use of AI. Being able to diagnose infection before someone shows signs of infection is a mind-blowing example of “tech for good” – and at a time when AI is under such huge scrutiny. 

“As early stage investors, we have a huge role to play in backing technologies which can truly improve our lives and it’s a big responsibility to open up the route to funding – especially when it comes to emerging tech.

“Here we have an incredible example of a “lab to life” journey that people don’t see so much. UKI2S invested in Presymptom because its impact on humanity is immediately obvious and it has the potential to save countless lives. 

“As the first investors in this tech, we are proud to stand alongside Ploughshare who enabled this innovation to emerge from our UK Defence laboratories and to be the “proof of concept” investors – helping to bring Presymptom’s AI infection technology to market and in turn, to the world.”

The science behind Presymptom’s technology is based upon 10 years of work conducted at Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and originated from £16m of sustained Ministry of Defence investment in a programme of research designed to help service personnel survive infection from combat injuries.

The technology is currently undergoing clinical trials at nine NHS hospitals in the UK, with results anticipated later in 2024. In addition, Presymptom is working on additional UK and EU trials.

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