EEN supports biomedical start-up pioneering 15-minute bacterial test

Founders Neciah and Josephine Dorh surrounded by three male and three females members of the FluoretIQ team posing against a grey diagrammatic office background..

© FluoretIQ. Founders Neciah and Josephine Dorh with members of the FluoretIQ team

A West Country bacterial diagnostics start-up has secured UKRI funding for a post-doctorate researcher, won an award at an international biomedical event and taken significant steps towards commercialisation with help from Enterprise Europe Network.

FluoretiQ is developing technology to detect harmful bacteria in minutes rather than days. This helps clinicians to combat superbugs more quickly and with better targeted antibiotic therapies.

The Bristol-based company was founded in 2017 by CEO Neciah Dorh and his wife Josephine, who is chief technology officer.

Neciah said: “The issue is that we only have 20 minutes to sit down with our doctor but right now, correctly diagnosing a bacterial infection will take two days. We’ve set our sights on reducing that to just 15 minutes.”

In February 2020, Neciah began work with EEN adviser Natalie Collard, who helped FluoretiQ to be accepted on to the Global Business Innovation Programme (GBIP), kicking off with a workshop on communicating value propositions.

Neciah added: “We’ve since been getting lots of good feedback about the clarity of our messaging. It’s helped us look for collaboration partners and also enabled us to win best start-up pitch at an international event on anti-microbial resistance.”

 

Funding and finance expertise

Funding was the next area of focus and Natalie introduced EEN’s funding and finance expert, Ben Masheder.

With his help, FluoretiQ secured a UKRI Scholars Secondment grant to bring in a post-doctorate researcher from the University of Bristol for 18 months.

Neciah said: “We’re thrilled to have that extra support and can move towards engineering-intensive final designs of the point-of-care solution.

“We can then move on to clinical evaluation with opinion leaders, independents and of course the NHS. That will be our focus over the next 12-18 months.”

 

Biomedical Catalyst grant application

To help achieve this, FluoretiQ will be applying for a Biomedical Catalyst grant through Innovate UK.

The company had two patents filed during the Covid-19 restrictions. Neciah said: “I really must commend our team. To have two patents filed was extraordinary; they’ve been working tremendously hard.”

“Natalie, too, was very hands-on when lockdown came in. She has provided so much useful advice on things like communication and grant funding, as well as collaboration opportunities with businesses overseas.”

EEN will continue to support FluoretiQ with IP audits, raising private investment and identifying opportunities for grant funding.