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Parent companies Lionix International and Qurin Diagnostics, along with photonics industry accelerator Photondelta and development agency Oost NL, are investing 8.5 million euros in Surfix to help it advance its point-of-care diagnostic platform. The initial targeted applications are cancer diagnosis, Covid-19 detection and tracing of pathogens in water.
Point-of-care diagnostics refers to performing molecular medical tests anywhere and anytime, ie without having to send samples to laboratories for analysis. Testing patients on the spot, next to the hospital bed, in the general practitioner’s office or even at home, is more convenient, faster and cheaper – Surfix is targeting a price of a few euros per test.
In the biosensor that Wageningen-based Surfix has been working on, a microfluidics array pre-processes the sample (such as a drop of blood or urine) and feeds it to a photonic biochip. The waveguides in this chip are functionalized with ‘anchor points’ to which biomolecules in the sample attach themselves. When that happens, this can be detected through a change in the characteristics of the light passing through the waveguides. The principle can be used to detect viruses, DNA and RNA, proteins (such antibodies) and other biomolecules.
“With this investment, we’ve deepened our relationship with parent companies Lionix and Qurin. With Oost NL and Photondelta on board, our drive is to bring point-of-care diagnostics to the next level. In combination with the network and experience of the two Dutch public-private organizations, the leading-edge integrated-photonics technology of Lionix and the medical knowledge of Qurin, the investment will allow us to take on the industrialization of our solution and clinically validate the exciting results in biomarkers obtained to date,” comments Surfix CEO Maarten Buijs.