Owlstone Medical has won the 2018 MacRobert Award – the UK’s leading engineering innovation accolade – for its disease breathalyser.
It is the second successive year that Cambridge has scooped the Royal Academy of Engineering award following Raspberry Pi’s triumph last year.
The team behind the unique Breath Biopsy® platform was feted for creating a device with the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives and $1.5 billion in healthcare costs globally.
Owlstone Medical’s ReCIVA Breath Sampler has opened up the potential for earlier diagnosis and precision medicine across cancer, inflammatory disease and infectious disease.
The Princess Royal presented the team of Owlstone engineers with the MacRobert Award gold medal and a £50,000 prize at the Academy’s Awards dinner at the Tower of London last night.
The winning team members are: Billy Boyle, co-founder & CEO; David Ruiz-Alonso, co-founder & COO; Max Allsworth, chief scientific officer; Alastair Taylor, VP of engineering; Matthew Hart, VP of Research & Development.
Samples from ReCIVA can be used to identify the unique chemical biomarkers of a variety of diseases, also known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), in human breath.
As VOC levels change at the very earliest stages of disease and provide information on the current activity of cells and tissue, the breath samples could lead to earlier diagnosis of diseases such as cancer when treatments are more effective and more lives can be saved.
Breath biomarkers also have the potential to revolutionise the way medicine is prescribed, as they could be used to monitor drug effectiveness and match patients to the correct treatment – slashing healthcare costs by lowering drug wastage.
Owlstone Medical is developing tests to diagnose lung and colorectal cancer, two of the most common cancer killers worldwide and is currently undertaking clinical trials with the NHS and Cancer Research UK.
The company also supplies Breath Biopsy products and services to academic, clinical and pharma partners who want to develop breath based diagnostics for their own applications.
GlaxoSmithKline recently chose to integrate the Breath Biopsy platform into the clinical development programme for one of the new drugs it is developing for respiratory disease, to assess whether it is possible to identify the right patient for the right treatment.
The Owlstone Medical team were up against Oxford Space Systems for their new generation of origami-inspired, innovative and cost-competitive satellite antennas and structures, and Williams Advanced Engineering and Aerofoil Energy for Aerofoils, an aerodynamic shelf-edge technology that significantly reduces energy consumption in supermarket and convenience store fridges.
The MacRobert Award, run by the Royal Academy of Engineering, is the UK’s longest running and most prestigious award for engineering innovation. First presented in 1969, the Award has recognised the extraordinary potential of innovations that have changed the world we live in.
In 1972, for instance, the judges honoured the development of the first CT scanner by EMI – seven years before its inventor Sir Godfrey Hounsfield received the Nobel Prize. Last year’s winner was the Cambridge-based team behind the Raspberry Pi.
from Business Weekly https://ift.tt/2tM2Ptz