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08 Dec 2021 | 15:58

Braveheart investee makes progress on three medical tests

(Sharecast News) - Braveheart Investment Group updated the market on its portfolio company Paraytec on Wednesday, and its tests for Covid-19, sepsis and bladder cancer. The AIM-traded firm said Paraytec had engaged Sagentia International to assist with the development of its Covid-19 test cartridge.

It said the design, production and supply of a "competitively-priced" test cartridge was critical to realising the full commercial potential of the Paraytec test.

"Paraytec are very pleased that design analysis suggests the production cost will be less than £2 per cartridge,'' the Braveheart board said in its statement.

"Similarly, the projected manufacturing cost of the CX300 instrument, required to analyse the patient specimen and provide the test result, is likely to be in the region of £1,500 per instrument.

"This relatively low cost means that CX300 instruments could be offered for a nominal charge with a minimum initial purchase of cartridges, a marketing and business model successfully pursued by printer manufacturers, razor blade manufacturers and others."

As it had previously indicated, Braveheart said the Paraytec team would launch a prospective clinical study early in the new year, followed by a longitudinal study.

Discussions with potential commercial partners and acquirers were now continuing, with some prospective counterparties completing a third round of such meetings.

The Braveheart board said it was assessing the likely best outcome for shareholders, whether it was the potential sale, partnership or retention and full development of the technology.

"The Paraytec and Sheffield University team are confident that the test will work with Omicron and other variants, as Paraytec's test to detect the Covid-19 virus uses antibodies to attach a specific fluorescent dye to the surface of each virus particle," Braveheart added.

"The antibodies used in the test have been selected to recognise the viral spike protein.

"While mutations in the Omicron variant give rise to over 30 amino acid changes in the spike protein, all of these occur in a region of the protein which is distinct from that recognised by the antibodies selected for the Paraytec test."

Looking at the sepsis test, Braveheart said Paraytec had started developing a blood-based test for identifying microbial pathogens which cause sepsis to develop, based on the existing CX300 platform.

In the first instance, the sepsis test would focus on discriminating between the presence of E. coli, pseudomonas and staphylococcus, which combined account for over 50% of all sepsis cases in the UK.

The test would be developed in a similar way to the Covid-19 test, "rapidly and specifically" targeting the bacterial species and labelling them with one of a number of fluorescent dyes.

"The CX300 platform will also be developed further to discriminate between the various wavelengths of light emitted from distinct fluorescent dyes, and to accommodate the volumes of fluid involved in a standard blood test, typically five to 10 millilitres."

Finally, at the same time, Braveheart said a screening process was being used to identify antibody molecules that discriminate between normal and cancerous bladder cells for the bladder cancer test.

The Paraytec team would identify a panel of antibodies that recognised bladder cancer cells, while avoiding the need to identify specific bladder cancer biomarkers.

"As with the test for sepsis, the bladder cancer test utilises Paraytec's existing CX300 platform, which will be adapted for screening the typical volumes of urine that would be collected from patients in a clinical setting."

At 1536 GMT, shares in Braveheart Investment Group were down 0.29% at 34,9p.
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