New Fundraising Boosts Ultra-Rapid STD Detection

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Atlas Genetics has raised €32.6M in Series D. The funds will help the company bring ultra-rapid diagnostic tests for STDs to the market.

Atlas Genetics, a spin-off from the University of Bath, has closed an impressive €32.6M ($35M) Series D round of fundraising. The funds will support clinical trials, manufacturing and the commercial launch of the company’s second ultra-rapid diagnostics test. Among the investors, most of them from previous rounds, are big names such as Novartis Venture FundJohnson & Johnson Innovation and Life Science Partners (LSP).

Atlas’ core io system uses electrochemical sensor technology to achieve high speed and accuracy while maintaining low manufacturing costs. The test is carried out in a cartridge containing all necessary reagents to test an unprocessed sample and detect up to 24 different genetic targets.

The company’s first point-of-care test, launched a year ago, can detect Chlamydia infections in under 30 minutes. The new product, expected for launch by the end of this year, will integrate detection of both Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea in a single ultra-rapid test.

Atlas Genetics’ molecular diagnostics tests represent a great improvement over the current standard in STD diagnostics, nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs), which usually take between 24 and 48h.

Additionally, Atlas is developing a range of products as part of the ‘Precise‘ project at St George’s University of London that are aimed at integrating information about antibiotic resistance in STD tests.

Rapid diagnostics can be key for the prevention of antibiotic resistance. Typically, doctors prescribe strong antibiotics to patients waiting for their STD test results to prepare for the worst case scenario. A technology like the Atlas io system could give the doctors the information early on to prescribe the most appropriate treatment.

Atlas Genetics is so far the first to develop a rapid test for an STD, although companies like Curetis in Germany and Axela in Canada are developing their own rapid tests technology for infectious diseases. Oxford Nanopore, the British unicorn disrupting the next-generation sequencing market, is also turning to fast diagnostics.

The €32.6M raised by Atlas is quite a big amount for a diagnostics company. Big investors aren’t usually interested given the difficulty of achieving reimbursement for such tests. However, their huge potential to influence the treatment of infectious diseases seems to have convinced them in this case.

Image and video from Atlas Genetics



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