Owlstone Medical Launches Breath Biopsy VOC Atlas

Published on: 7 Dec 2022, under Company Updates

  •  A catalogue of over 150 validated and quantitated chemicals found commonly on breath to enable advances in biomarker discovery
  • Atlas will be incorporated into the Breath Biopsy OMNI platform to further support biomarker discovery for customers and clinical test development

Cambridge, UK, December 7, 2022: Owlstone Medical (“Owlstone”), the global leader in Breath Biopsy® for applications in early disease detection and precision medicine, today announced the launch of the Breath Biopsy VOC Atlas, a catalog of validated and quantitated volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in exhaled breath. The Atlas provides insight and scientific context to these molecules, supporting biomarker discovery through incorporation into Owlstone’s Breath Biopsy OMNI® platform.

The Breath Biopsy VOC Atlas has been built through detailed analysis of breath samples representing a diverse mix of ages and ethnic backgrounds to identify and quantify commonly seen chemicals originating from breath. At over 150 chemicals and growing, the Breath Biopsy VOC Atlas represents the largest available database of identified VOCs on breath, their normal levels, and biological interpretation.

Breath analysis is a highly promising field that has grown rapidly over the last 20 years, however, the rate of novel biomarker discovery and conversion into clinical tests has remained low. Biomarker discovery has traditionally been performed using untargeted methods, looking at differences between levels of chemicals in large patient populations. This approach has significant disadvantages including high cost, low throughput, and high false discovery rates. A superior approach involves performing biomarker studies starting from a set of known compounds of interest, however, in breath the list of reliable and validated chemicals is very limited, a problem the Atlas was designed to address.

The Atlas will form the basis of future biomarker discovery at Owlstone through incorporation into OMNI. By now being able to analyze VOCs with baseline chemical levels known, alterations related to disease can be more easily recognized and developed into biomarkers. Further, reduced variability, improved data quality, and higher throughput will provide the best chance to identify biomarkers in customer studies and Owlstone’s own test development efforts.


Billy Boyle, co-founder and CEO at Owlstone Medical, said: “Owlstone Medical is leading the way in overcoming the challenges that, to date, have held the breath field back such as better breath collection and much lower backgrounds from the ReCIVA® Breath Sampler and CASPER® Portable Air Supply, part of OMNI, the most advanced solution for reliable global breath VOC analysis. He continued: “Our vision is to be the leading source for biomarker discovery on breath, and the addition of Atlas to the OMNI platform allows identification of promising VOCs with a higher degree of confidence. In this way, we further enhance our ability to provide the best discovery solutions available to customers and maximize the chances of finding biomarkers with the potential to be translated into clinically valuable tests.”

For more information about Owlstone’s Breath Biopsy® VOC Atlas, please visit owlstonemedical.com/atlas


Owlstone Medical Launches Breath Biopsy VOC Atlas Thumbnail


Notes to Editors:
For more information please contact:
Sarah Jeffery, Zyme Communications
+44 (0) 7771-730919


Frazer Hall, Medistrava
+44 (0) 20 7282 2822

What is Breath Biopsy®?
Breath Biopsy represents an entirely new way to determine the chemical makeup of breath by measuring volatile organic compounds (VOCs), gaseous molecules that can be sampled quickly and non-invasively. VOCs originate from all parts of the body as the end product of metabolic processes, making Breath Biopsy applicable to a wide range of diseases including lung cancer, liver disease, and digestive disease. Breath also contains microscopic aerosol particles from the lungs and airways, which can contain a wide range of biomarkers including for infectious disease. The nature of Breath Biopsy therefore makes it perfectly suited to addressing two of the major challenges of healthcare today: early detection of disease and precision medicine.

About Owlstone Medical (www.owlstonemedical.com):
Owlstone Medical’s vision is to save 100,000 lives by realizing the enormous promise of breath-based diagnostics through the development and application of Breath Biopsy®, a unique platform capable of both biomarker discovery and use in routine clinical testing.

The platform includes ReCIVA®, a proprietary sample collection device that can take stable breath samples anywhere, the world’s only commercial Breath Biopsy Laboratory located in Cambridge, U.K., and the Breath Biopsy VOC Atlas, the most extensive catalogue of identified volatile organic compounds (VOCs) commonly found on breath.  The Company’s technology is protected by over 120 granted and pending patents and has been used in more than 100 research papers.

Owlstone Medical’s Research Products and Services are being deployed at over 100 sites around the world with large pharmaceutical companies including AstraZeneca, Actelion (a J&J company), and GlaxoSmithKline, and leading academic institutions. Projects are supported by Breath Biopsy OMNI®, the most advanced solution for reliable end-to-end global breath VOC analysis, which is helping researchers advance biomarker discovery and disease research and maximizing the chances of finding clinically relevant breath biomarkers.

The company has an active portfolio of Breath Biopsy tests in development for the early detection of lung cancer and liver disease, both areas of high unmet clinical need that represent multi-billion dollar market opportunities. In digestive health, clinical tests for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth and carbohydrate malabsorption are already on market, and breath testing is emerging as an effective way for patients to monitor and manage symptoms.