Owlstone Medical has developed a breathalyzer for disease. With a focus on non-invasive diagnostics for cancer, inflammatory disease and infectious disease, the company aims to save 100,000 lives and $1.5B in health care costs.
The company’s microchip FAIMS (Field Asymmetric Ion Mobility Spectrometer) sensor is a platform technology that can be programmed in software to detect targeted biomarkers of disease in breath (and other bodily fluids). FAIMS can be used in clinical diagnostics and precision medicine with application in cancer and a wide range of other medical conditions. Highly sensitive and selective, these tests allow for early diagnosis when treatments are more effective and where more lives can be saved.
Owlstone Medical is currently developing tests for lung and colorectal cancer, two of the most common cancer killers worldwide, and for asthma stratification by therapeutic response. The company also sells R&D tools and services to academic, clinical and pharma partners who want to develop breath based diagnostics for their own applications.
Founded in 2004 as a spin-out from the Engineering Department at the University of Cambridge University, Owlstone Inc is a profitable business selling its proven FAIMS technology to military and industrial customers globally. Owlstone Medical was spun out from Owlstone Inc in 2016 to develop and commercialise FAIMS in diagnostic applications.
Owlstone Medical is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, with offices in London, UK.
Last year cancer killed 14.1 million people. It is a stark reality that 1 in 2 of us will get cancer. From our parents to our partners, our children, our grandchildren - 1 in 2 will get cancer. We must find better ways to treat cancer, but more importantly better ways to detect cancer earlier, when chances of a cure are dramatically higher.
Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world with an estimated 1.8 million cases and 1.6 million deaths in 2012. It is estimated that in 2016 there will be over 221,000 new cases of lung cancer in the United States and at over 158,000 deaths is the number one cause of cancer deaths. The annual treatment costs of lung cancer are $12.1 billion with an additional cost in the US of $36.1 billion due to lost productivity.
Colon cancer is the second most common cancer killer, with 215,000 deaths every year at a cost of $99 billion to the global economy. With current screening programmes only one in ten patients with colon cancer are diagnosed at a curable early stage.