UK Innovation and Science Seed Fund (UKI2S) portfolio company, AgPlus Diagnostics, has been awarded two government grants to develop its COVID-19 assays, one for antigen detection and a serological assay to monitor immune response. The grants are made up of £50,000 from Innovate UK and £185,000 from the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA).
The ability to test for COVID-19 infection at point of sample collection, in an easy to use system that does not require specialised sample preparation, and which gives a fast (<10mins) and accurate result, is critical in limiting the spread of the infection. AgPlus is developing an antigen detection assay to satisfy this unmet need, alongside its fast, quantitative serological assay that will enable population screening and monitoring to determine the full epidemiology of the disease and will support vaccine and drug development by monitoring antibody response to treatment. These grants will enable the company to rapidly progress the development of these assays and bring them closer to widespread application.
AgPlus is a spinout from UKI2S partner the National Physical Laboratory. UKI2S was one of the first institutional investors and has played an important strategic role at board level. We’re thrilled to see the work AgPlus are doing in the fight against COVID-19 and the adaptability the Company has demonstrated in applying its technology to this disease.
Supporting innovation is more important than ever in these challenging times and UKI2S is currently investing in the UK’s most ambitious science and technology companies. Many of our portfolio companies are applying their skills and experience to this new global challenge and we are pleased to be supporting startups and early stage companies throughout this crisis. It is great to see several of our partners, including Innovate UK, providing essential grant funding to further advance this essential research.