Radisens Diagnostics win €1m contract to develop instant blood testing on board the International Space Station
Minister Sherlock congratulates Cork company on success in space
Radisens Diagnostics has been awarded a €1m contract by the European Space Agency to develop an innovative blood testing device for use by astronauts on board the International Space Station and on various human spaceflight missions.
Congratulating the company, Sean Sherlock T.D. Minister for Research & Innovation said “Radisens Diagnostics’ success is the most recent example of an Irish company reaping significant benefits from Ireland’s membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) through Enterprise Ireland. It is encouraging to see that Irish SMEs are developing a high profile as providers of innovative solutions for use in the European Space Programme”.
The European Space Agency has contracted Radisens Diagnostics to add a thyroid test to their point-of-care device which is currently in development at their facility in Cork. ESA wants to use the device on board the International Space Station and on various human spaceflight missions where it is essential to get instant, laboratory grade results for myriad health conditions.
Back on Earth, the technology developed for the space programme by Radisens Diagnostics will enable a general physician (GP) to take a finger-prick of blood and test patients for diabetes, heart disease, liver and kidney damage and thyroid conditions in their surgery with instant results. Future developments will enable the diagnosis of heart attacks, early stage cancers such as prostate and ovarian, infectious diseases such as HIV, and viruses. With over one billion blood tests ordered at point-of-care annually worldwide, this test menu offering is a potential game-changer.
Currently, if a person needs a blood test they have to be referred to a hospital where a qualified phlebotomist takes a vial(s) of blood which has to be sent to a central laboratory for testing. The whole process introduces significant delays, patient anxiety and huge inefficiencies within healthcare systems, for what are routine tests.
Radisens Diagnostics recently announced a strategic partnership with the UK’s NHS, to integrate a kidney test to their point-of-care device, thus decentralising up to 15 million blood tests from UK hospitals annually into the GP surgery, providing for a more comfortable and convenient experience for patients suffering from chronic kidney disease, and significant cost savings for the NHS.
Announcing the contract, Jerry O’Brien, CEO Radisens Diagnostics said, “Winning this contract from the European Space Agency is a significant endorsement of our ‘sample-to-answer’ device and the breadth of blood tests it can offer. We are delighted to formalise our strategic partnership with ESA with the support of Enterprise Ireland and look forward to working on the application of our technology to terrestrial and space healthcare diagnostic needs”.
At the announcement Tony McDonald Enterprise Ireland said that Radisens Diagnostics’ success in bidding on the ESA contracts reflects the strategy of using Ireland's membership of ESA to support a growing number of Irish companies to develop space qualified technologies that can be exploited in the commercial space and aerospace market. “We are seeing a growing number of Irish companies engaging with the European Space programme to develop advanced technologies that lead to export sales” he said.
Radisens Diagnostics Ltd is located in the Rubicon Centre, which is a business incubation centre funded by Enterprise Ireland and Cork Institute of Technology, is funded by private investors, Kernel Capital, Enterprise Ireland, France’s Sophia Business Angels and the Cork City Enterprise Board and will shortly be launching it’s 2011 Employment and Investment Incentive Scheme (which replaces previous Business Expansion Schemes) to allow Irish private investors to share in the company’s growing success.
Commenting on the announcement, Niall Olden, Managing Partner, Kernel Capital said: “Kernel Capital Investee Radisens is an example of an excellent Life Science start up. Led by Jerry O’ Brien, the Company has strong intellectual property with many worldwide patents pending. Today’s announcement re-affirms the Company’s compelling value proposition.”
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