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2 August, 2018 - 16:42 By Kate Sweeney

German power player backs Cambridge world-first diagnostic for COPD

Cambridge UK healthcare technology bolstered by German development expertise have combined to increase the life expectancy of patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

A hand-held device from Cambridge-based Glyconics designed to give early warning of acute events and avoid the hospitalisation of thousands of patients with COPD is to go into production ahead of clinical trials.

This follows an agreement between Glyconics and Spectrolytic, a German-headquartered leading developer of infrared spectrometers.

IR spectrometry is proven as a non-invasive technique for diagnosis of a range conditions including COPD and diabetes but the current IR technology is too large to be used outside of a hospital.

Glyconics, based at the St John’s Innovation Centre in Cambridge, is the first player to miniaturise IR technology to enable a low-cost device suitable for use by healthcare professionals and their patients at home.

Dr Niall Gallen, CTO at Glyconics, says: “Our technology has gained proof of concept and we are now accelerating the development of our device and platform. By entering an exclusive agreement with Spectrolytic we will be able to produce Glyconics devices for testing ready for major clinical trials next year.”

Spectrolytic is the world leader in the use of spectroscopy for industrial and food applications; through the agreement with medical diagnostics specialists Glyconics it will produce the world’s first hand-held IR devices for COPD and other conditions.

Carsten Giebeler, CEO of Spectrolytic, says: “Spectrolytic was founded with the aim of making spectroscopy solutions more widely available. Glyconics are recognised leaders in spectroscopy for medical areas; this expertise will enable us to produce a low cost device that can be used in the home.”

Independent endorsement of diagnostics technology is crucial to its adoption and Professor Anoop Chauhan, director of Research & Innovation at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, says the initial application for COPD is exciting.

He says: “At the moment, when patients develop an exacerbation, they become very breathless and very wheezy, and as a result they require increased levels of treatment. Some patients have crisis exacerbations and they end up in hospital.

“These attacks are preventable if treatment is given early but we currently have no technology able to predict them. It is this unmet need that Glyconics is addressing.”

• The Glyconics devices will be ready for user trials in Q1 2019.

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