Imperial College London spinout DnaNudge has signed a multi-million-dollar license agreement with NantNudge to drive AI-driven handheld diagnostics.
Author: Nicky Denovan
The license agreement with NantNudge – a new entity founded by physician, surgeon and scientist Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong – sets out to drive genomics and AI to the point-of-decision in lab-on-chip healthcare.
NantNudge will harness DnaNudge’s pioneering lab-in-cartridge PCR testing technology to accelerate the delivery of rapid, lab-free point-of-decision diagnostics to a broader audience across the globe, including Central, South and North America and Africa. Dr Soon-Shiong is a pioneer of large-scale interdisciplinary medical programmes, with hundreds of granted patents and research papers which have had a global impact on health and medicine.
DnaNudge is a spin-out of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Imperial College London, co-founded by Regius Professor Chris Toumazou FRS and based in the White City Innovation District. The company develops fast, affordable, and easy-to-use RT-PCR multiplex testing capabilities that can be used in any setting, including non-clinical environments.
"This is momentous, both in terms of DnaNudge's commercial journey and for realising our ambition of transforming global access to life-changing – and life-saving – near-patient diagnostics." Regius Professor Chris Toumazou Co-founder of DnaNudge from Imperial’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
The platform technology has been designed to meet the global need for reliable and rapid testing at low cost and minimal resource usage. The Lab-in-Cartridge system operates by placing a sample swab into a disposable cartridge that extracts RNA. The cartridge is then inserted into a portable analyser – the ‘NudgeBox’ – for analysis and reverse transcription to DNA, providing results in just over an hour (with the consumer test soon expected to take 15 minutes).
DnaNudge was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering’s MacRobert Award in 2021 in recognition of its ground-breaking genetic testing and diagnostic technology.
Regius Professor Chris Toumazou, co-founder of DnaNudge from Imperial’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, said: "This is momentous, both in terms of DnaNudge's commercial journey and for realising our ambition of transforming global access to life-changing – and life-saving – near-patient diagnostics. Dr Soon-Shiong's unrivalled track record in successfully commercialising breakthrough technologies is globally recognised, and our decade quest together and shared vision of ensuring that the world community can benefit equitably from transformative health innovations, is coming to life with the NantBeam. Solutions such as the DnaNudge fast AMR diagnostic test at the point of decision in African countries will dramatically save lives. We are hugely excited to be working together to create this future through fast, affordable and accessible testing."
Under the agreement, NantNudge will develop, manufacture and supply medical and consumer diagnostic and predictive software and services for improving health and lifestyle (diet and skincare) and for real-time PCR diagnostics for infectious diseases and cancer. In November 2023, NantNudge launched its new genomic handheld device, the NantBeam – a wearable camera, activity monitor and barcode scanner. The wearable NantBeam can connect to a mobile phone and uses AI data to inform consumers about food and cosmetic products that are suitable for a healthy lifestyle, based on personal genomics.
A key focus of NantNudge is to establish regulatory approvals for point-of-decision diagnostics of infectious diseases such as Covid, influenza, RSV, tuberculosis (TB), bacterial infections, and cancer risk – all with the aim of transforming personalised treatment at the point-of-decision based on personal genomics signature.
Commenting on the agreement with DnaNudge, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong said: "Professor Chris Toumazou and I have pursued a shared vision together for over a decade that the convergence of nanotechnology, engineering, and biology will transform our capability to derive real-time information from the human signal engine1 and transform decision making at point-of-decision. This genomics PCR device, I believe, will be an inflexion point for capturing genomic signals on a very personalised basis and transforming how we work, live, and play. I am proud to have been associated with Imperial College London for all these years, and I am excited that together with Chris and his team, we will accelerate the clinical adoption of this first-in-kind PCR device."
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