Cambridge medtech start-up 52 North Health has been awarded $1.4million in funding to speed up improvement of its NeutroCheck machine.

It is designed to assist sufferers on chemotherapy who’re prone to neutropenic sepsis (NS), a whole-body response to an infection which kills three individuals throughout England and Wales every day.

Umaima Ahmad, CEO of 52 North Health, a Cambridge start-up which has been awarded $1.4m from SBRI Healthcare. Picture: Keith Heppell

Due to the chance of demise related to NS, any sufferers present process chemotherapy who really feel unwell are advised to go on to A&E, and are given sturdy precautionary antibiotics and a full blood take a look at. But half of them are subsequently discovered to not be in danger.

Currently, sufferers can solely use a thermometer to find out their threat, however it’s recognized that temperature alone is a really poor discriminator of sepsis.

The platform developed by 52 North Health permits each soluble and insoluble – or mobile – biomarkers to be detected from a single organic specimen utilizing a low-cost simple-to-use machine. An app is used to assist inform and empower sufferers.

The firm, based mostly at ideaSpace West on the Hauser Forum, gained preliminary section one funding from SBRI Healthcare, the NHS England-funded initiative supported by the Academic Health Science Network, in January 2021. It has now adopted by way of with a section two award of $1.4m.

52 North Health was ranked highest out of all candidates in each phases of the award course of, which it credited to its numerous and multi-disciplinary workforce.

The firm was co-founded by husband and spouse workforce Dr Saif Ahmad, an instructional guide oncologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital linked to CRUK Cambridge Centre, and Umaima Ahmad, who’s now heading up the corporate as CEO after making the swap from a job at AstraZeneca.

The firm was fashioned from an concept Umaima had in 2017 when taking a masters in bioscience enterprise on the University of Cambridge. She requested Saif to establish points he noticed within the hospital to develop a marketing strategy.

The concept was entered into the college’s Postdoc Business Plan competitors, profitable £10,000 in November 2018, which enabled early proof-of-concept work.

They have been then joined by a 3rd co-founder, Nicole Weckman, who’s a biosensor engineer now based mostly on the Wyss Institute at Harvard.

At 52 North Health are, from left, chief digital officer Mireia Crispin-Ortuzar, head of operations Anna Wilson, CEO Umaima Ahmad, head of product improvement Ama Frimpong and product developer Alex Meehan (54405450)

Umaima advised the Cambridge Independent: “I’m excited by the potential of this chance, significantly because the platform expertise will be utilized to different unmet medical wants, together with different types of sepsis, but in addition inside the pharmaceutical business for therapy monitoring of sufferers on immunosuppressive medication. This might allow pharmaceutical corporations to generate medication with improved security profiles which is a win-win for each sufferers and business.”

Saif added: “We are privileged to have the assist of the SBRI Healthcare programme and are dedicated to working with our world-leading collaborators to ship on our ambitions to enhance the care of most cancers sufferers.”

They are working with Macmillan Cancer Support and the UK Sepsis Trust to make sure there may be enter from medical doctors, nurses, allied well being professionals, sufferers and carers.

CEO Umaima Ahmad. Picture: Keith Heppell

Tanya Humphreys, Macmillan Cancer Support’s head of innovation partnerships, stated: “Neutropenic sepsis is a life-threatening situation and managing the dangers will be very demanding for individuals with most cancers, who’re already coping with all of the challenges {that a} prognosis can convey. But excellent care is a lifeline, not a luxurious, and giving sufferers the instruments to raised handle their care is usually a key element to serving to to enhance their high quality of life.”

The new funding will allow the event of NeutroCheck to be finalised for manufacturing and for medical usability trials. The firm experiences curiosity from “a number of” NHS trusts, with Addenbrooke’s resulting from be the principle website for the medical trials.

Dr Ron Daniels, founder and joint CEO of The UK Sepsis Trust, stated: “Current inefficiencies within the pathway for managing sufferers prone to neutropenic sepsis contribute each to delays in life-saving intravenous antibiotics and pointless utilization in sufferers who don’t want them. Improving this pathway is not going to solely allow us to save lots of lives but in addition contribute to lowering the burden of antimicrobial resistance.”


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By Seth A. Dunbar

Seth Dunbar leads clinical research study operations and quality & compliance. He is experienced working with teams to help drug sponsors better leverage eSource data. With 10+ years of experience Seth brings expertise developing eClinical services that integrate data and technology to help companies optimise study execution.

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