Catapult invests in Lumora’s diagnostics technology

Lumora (www.lumora.co.uk) was founded in 2002 by Laurence Tisi and Jim Murray, as start-up from the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge.

The investment will primarily be used to accelerate the company’s entry into the clinical molecular diagnostic market.  The company’s development programmes focus on applications such as an integrated testing station for gastrointestinal (GI) infections and an HIV viral load monitoring system to support drug therapy in the developing world.

Catapult has invested just over £1 million from its Catapult Growth Fund, with the balance coming from a follow-on investment from Lumora’s major shareholder, Tate & Lyle Ventures LP.

Having proven the technology within food safety testing, the company now plans to enter the much larger clinical diagnostics sector.

Lumora has developed the simplest ever platform for molecular diagnostics based on an innovative signalling chemistry.  The technology allows tests to be performed at a single temperature and without the need for expensive optics, hence hardware is uniquely simple and low-cost.

Laurence Tisi explained “The platform is uniquely low-cost for both hardware and consumables and so represents an exciting new approach to bringing the advantages of molecular diagnostics to resource limited settings.  Lumora is already collaborating with an internationally renowned not-for-profit organisation in the field of HIV viral load monitoring.”

Ed Wass, Catapult investment director, commented “We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with Lumora’s excellent management team, led by CEO Laurence Tisi.  We have also introduced a non-executive director to the board – Jim Reid – who has a strong track record in the molecular diagnostic sector and who has worked previously for several major companies in the space, including Roche and Chiron, as well as being a successful entrepreneur in his own right.”

David Atkinson, managing partner of Tate & Lyle Ventures LP commented ”We are delighted to welcome Catapult Venture Managers as an investor in Lumora along side Tate & Lyle Ventures. Having successfully developed the technology for use in the food sector, Lumora has identified a number of exciting opportunities in the larger clinical market and now has the financial resources to help it deliver in these areas.“

Posted on Tuesday, 21 June 2011