Nine Highlights from 2021: Breath Biopsy updates and exciting developments at Owlstone Medical

Published on 20 Dec 21

As 2021 draws to an end, we’ve taken the opportunity to reflect on what we’ve achieved, assisted by our incredible collaborators. Set against the continuing backdrop of a global pandemic it’s been another challenging but rewarding year. From further improvements to our analytical platform, to the launch of at-home breath testing and much more – we’ve been busy!

2021 Highlights

Breath Biopsy

Making Breath Biopsy® even better for biomarker analysis

We aim to provide the most robust and reliable service for global biomarker analysis on breath. Throughout the year we have made progressive improvements across all aspects of Breath Biopsy ensuring that we continue to provide quality results for the full range of research applications.

Our services are now available as Breath Biopsy OMNI, which provides complete end-to-end support for global breath biomarker analysis. Over the last year we have continued to optimize our analysis process, improving our collection method, increasing our capacity for sample analysis with a total of six GC-MS Orbitrap devices, and performing a thorough review of our feature extraction processes to get the most out of every sample.

Is OMNI for you?         More about OMNI

Breath Biopsy

Digestive Disease Breath Biopsy Tests launched

In May we launched at-home breath testing for digestive disease in collaboration with the Functional Gut Clinic.  

These simple tests, capable of helping diagnose carbohydrate malaborption and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), are potentially just the tip of the iceberg, with gastrointestinal disease ripe with opportunities for future development of novel Breath Biopsy tests.

Gut health tests         Breath to transform digestive testing

Breath Biopsy

Our latest financing round secured $58 million

Bringing our total raised to over $150 million since our founding in 2016, this round was led by our returning investor Horizons Ventures, who have now taken a seat on our Board. They were joined by other existing and high-profile new investors from Asia, the Middle East, and the United States. 

This investment is helping to accelerate the development and commercialization of tests and to facilitate further advancement of our Breath Biopsy platform.

Read our press release

Breath Biopsy

New publications from Owlstone Medical and collaborators

In July we published a peer-reviewed study in Nature Scientific Reports, investigating the usefulness of respiratory droplets on breath for detection of SARS-CoV-2, as an alternative to nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS). 

A perspective review was published in Biomedicines in September, as part of a special issue on liver diseases. It summarized our existing work on prospective breath biomarkers for chronic liver disease including NASH. We also reported some of our own new preliminary results in this area looking at the development of standardized EVOC Probes for liver disease detection.

Read COVID-19 paper         Read Liver paper

Breath Biopsy

Calling for increased standardization in the breathomics community

Despite years of research projects and promising pilot studies, relatively few breath tests are currently in clinical use. Most experts blame poor reproducibility of results caused by wildly varied study designs and inconsistent reporting practices across the field. 

Establishing certain standards in breath research is critical for us to progress, as a field, towards discovery and validation of clinically-relevant biomarkers. This year at Owlstone Medical we’ve made significant advances in standardizing our own sampling and analytical methods and released advice designed to help you do the same – regardless of your available equipment.

Watch the talk from BBCon2021         Read the study design blog

Breath Biopsy

ReCIVA suitable for patients experiencing acute breathlessness

“The results of our study demonstrate the acceptability of using [ReCIVA] to collect breath samples and the NASA-TLX measurements of perceived task load emphasise how little effort and demand is required to collect these samples in acutely unwell patients”.

Owlstone Medical’s ReCIVA® Breath Sampler was independently assessed in a study by the East Midlands Breathomics Pathology Node (EMBER). Their resulting paper was published in the European Respiratory Society’s journal ERJ Open Research in January. 

Read the whole paper

Breath Biopsy

Breath Biopsy Conference returns for its fourth year

"Great presentations, great speakers" – BBCon21 built upon the year-on-year growth of the conference, reaching new heights with over 900 members of the breath research community registering.

This year’s event featured talks on biomarkers for lung cancer screening and using breathomics in drug discovery, alongside keynote speakers Patrick Bossuyt (University of Amsterdam) and Sam Janes (University College London), and an in-depth panel discussion on standardization and data sharing in the breath research field. Recordings are now available to watch online on demand.

Read a more detailed summary         Catch up online

Breath Biopsy

‘Best Emerging Medtech Company’ at the 2020 OBN Awards

The annual OBN Awards 2020 celebrate innovation and achievement in the life sciences and in June of this year we were delighted to recieve the 2020 award for ‘Best Emerging Medtech Company’ – the award ceremony having been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The award was received by Chris Claxton, our VP of Investor Relations, at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London – one of the first in-person events for the life sciences in 2021. This year also saw Billy Boyle, our CEO, receive an MBE – another positive reflection on what our team has achieved over the last few years.

Browse awards

Breath Biopsy

Our ReCIVA® Breath Sampler has a new look

The award-winning ReCIVA Breath Sampler is already widely viewed as one of the most advanced breath collection devices available today and this year we’ve made it even better. 

We found that, in some instances, getting a good seal for reproducible breath collection could be difficult with a mask. To address this, our new ReCIVA Mouthpieces make it easier to consistently collect breath samples from patient with a variety of face shapes, reducing the possibility of ambient contamination.

Get all the details

Breath Biopsy: The Complete Guide on a handheld tablet

Learn about breath biomarkers and their applications. Download our free ebook.

Download Breath Biopsy: The Complete Guide