Bacteromic – a company which belongs to the Scope Fluidics S.A. Capital Group – has announced that it received a positive recommendation for funding under Phase 2 of the European SME Instrument, Horizon 2020 programme. If the funding is granted, the Company will receive EUR 1.93 million, which will cover 70% of the project’s eligible costs. The agreement is expected to be signed within the next 3-5 months.
The BacterOMIC project was ranked as the 46th out of more than 2,000 applications submitted in this call. SME Instrument is used to support innovation in a wide range of industries. It is participated mainly by companies from the European Union countries and 16 associated countries, including Israel, Norway and Switzerland.
Obtaining the prestigious grant from Horizon 2020 means great success for us and proves the high quality of the BacterOMIC system – statistically, no more than 5 percent of the applicants receive this grant. We plan to allocate these funds to further research and development, preparation of the system for production, clinical validation and activities leading to commercialization, says Prof. Piotr Garstecki, co-founder, key shareholder and CEO of Scope Fluidics.
In March 2019 the Company updated the project implementation schedule by announcing a shortening of the expected deadline for completion of work on the BacterOMIC system by 18 months, which is to allow for the system’s certification in mid-2021.
Verification of the project status and experience gained during work on the PCR system allowed us to significantly accelerate the implementation of the BacterOMIC project, so that it is ready for commercialization 18 months earlier than we had announced before the debut on the NewConnect market. This means that we have to modify the original plan assuming that the project will be financed from PCR|ONE sales. Thanks to obtaining the grant from the Horizon 2020 programme, we secured the financing of about 70% of the project costs. This means success not only in financial terms, but also in terms of our brand image. It proves our credibility and will certainly help in further talks with potential partners and investors, Piotr Garstecki comments.
The detailed action plan of the BacterOMIC project assumes that the system will be ready for industrialisation in Q4 2019. The Company plans to be ready for pre-registration testing in the first quarter of 2020. During this stage, 2-3 devices and injection moulds for chip production will be manufactured. A pilot line will be launched, which will allow to produce chips with reagents in the amount necessary to carry out the third series of pre-validation tests in Q2 2020. In the second half of 2020, the launch of a production line of chips and analysers and pre-registration tests are planned. The final stage of system certification and registration is planned for the second half of 2021. At that time, its commercialization is planned to take place.
In November 2018 Scope Fluidics announced the completion of the first functional tests of the BacterOMIC prototype, which were conducted by the National Medicines Institute (NIL). The tests allowed for a comprehensive evaluation of the entire system and demonstrated its ability to correctly determine the antimicrobial susceptibility to drugs. According to the NIL report, the BacterOMIC system carried out all the planned tests in line with the procedure. The operation procedure and the ergonomics of the prototype were evaluated positively. The system correctly determined the antibiotic susceptibility levels for all tested bacteria and antibiotics on the panel.
The fight against bacterial resistance to antibiotics is becoming more and more challenging. Already today in Europe, 70% of infections are resistant to at least one antibiotic. According to the estimates of the World Health Organization (WHO), drug-resistant bacteria can cause the death of up to 300 million people in the world within the next 35 years, which makes them the most important threat to public health. The BacterOMIC project is a response to the growing phenomenon of antibiotic resistance of bacteria. The Company’s product is to accelerate and increase the effectiveness of patient treatment by identifying the best targeted therapies for a given patient. Within a few hours, it will precisely assess the sensitivity of bacteria to all clinically important antibiotics and will provide the physician with comprehensive information about the pathogen. The BacterOMIC system will use classic microbiological methods for antibiotic susceptibility testing, combined with an innovative microfluidic technology. The main competitive advantage of BacterOMIC is that it will be a much more comprehensive test than in other systems available on the market. Furthermore, this project has the potential to be the first automatic diagnostic system for testing antibiotic combinations in the cases of the most difficult infections where single antibiotics are ineffective.