Commencement of the project to develop a COVID-19 test with the University of Sheffield
Further to the announcement dated 6 May 2020, the Company announced that Paraytec Limited (“Paraytec”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Braveheart, was in discussions with the University of Sheffield and Aptamer Group plc to define a project to develop a rapid test for the pandemic pathogen, COVID-19.
These discussions have now successfully concluded, and the project will now commence with Sheffield University, but without the involvement of Aptamer Group plc, today.
The test will utilise a highly sensitive light-based detection system coupled with a molecular “affinity” device to capture COVID-19 virus particles. The required affinity macromolecule (an aptamer which binds to the Spike glycoprotein on the surface of the virus) is now being synthesised for Paraytec by a UK university-based laboratory and will be supplied imminently.
Working with Professor Carl Smythe’s group at the University of Sheffield – which has expertise in the field of synthetic bio-molecular sensors – the test will combine the use of the COVID-19 capture aptamer with a biomolecular signal generator configured to emit light in the presence of the pathogen, making it visible to Paraytec’s detector.
Paraytec will own all foreground IP generated by the project.
The objective is to develop a portable test, which can generate a result in a matter of minutes from a swab provided at the test location and which requires no specialist skills for its operation. If successful, it could be used in airports, transport hubs, large workplaces and similar settings, where rapid screening of large numbers of people for presence of COVID-19 or any future emerging pandemic, is required.
Professor Smythe holds a personal Chair in Molecular Cell Biology in the Department of Biomedical Science at the University of Sheffield. Formerly Academic Director of the Sheffield Cancer Centre, his research is focused on cellular quality control systems monitoring chromosomal DNA. With 35 years’ research experience, he has, together with collaborators in academia and industry, developed a wide range of sensor systems with applications in disease testing.
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