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Innovate UK’s Biocatalyst Programme Awards Arquer Diagnostics Funding

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Arquer Diagnostics Ltd (Arquer), a diagnostic company which has developed a high sensitivity, high specificity, ELISA-based urine test for bladder cancer, has been awarded £70,000 funding under Innovate UK’s Biocatalyst programme, to be awarded over a 12 month period, starting 1st March 2017. The funding will be used to support preparations for an international clinical study to evaluate Arquer’s MCM5 ELISA-based non-invasive test for prostate cancer, as the Company expands the application of its technology into a wider range of cancers. 

Arquer’s diagnostic test, the MCM5-ELISA, detects the presence of minichromosome maintenance (MCM) protein, a marker for the presence of dividing cancer cells, to accurately diagnose cancer. MCM proteins are excellent biomarkers, being directly involved in cell replication, and are shed into urine by both prostate and bladder tumours. The funding follows the recent appointment of Nadia Whittley as CEO.

The study will utilise urine and semen samples from up to 100 patients, in order to inform the design of a wider clinical trial expected to commence in late 2017.

Commenting on the funding, Stuart McCracken, PhD, Consultant Urologist Sunderland Royal Hospital, UK, and UK Clinical Investigator for the study said: “There is an urgent need to find, and robustly validate, a novel cancer biomarker of prostate cancer. Studies such as this provide evidence that may support a change in the diagnostic pathway and start to allow reductions in expensive and unnecessary prostate biopsies which are very unpopular with patients and are a major financial burden to healthcare providers.”

Nadia Whittley, CEO, Arquer Diagnostics, commented: “We are delighted that Innovate UK has identified the potential opportunity provided by our diagnostic test, particularly as we move forward to commercialise our MCM5 ELISA. The MCM5 ELISA is expected to significantly reduce the number of patients undergoing invasive and costly diagnostic procedures such as cystoscopy and biopsy,  as it offers highly accurate diagnostic results from small amounts of body fluid.”