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SBRI Healthcare alumni company Owlstone Medical wins global IPF Catalyst Challenge

  • Share in $1,000,000 (£720,000 GBP) for real and innovative solutions to problems faced by Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis sufferers
  • One of only two UK finalists – both SBRI Healthcare alumni

SBRI Healthcare, the NHS England initiative that supports innovative companies to solve healthcare problems, is delighted to congratulate Owlstone Medical on being named one of three winners of the global Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) Catalyst Challenge. Out of hundreds of registrants and one of only two UK companies to make it to the short list of nine finalist, Owlstone Medical flew to Chicago with fellow SBRI Healthcare alumni Cambridge Respiratory Innovations Limited (CRiL) to pitch their proposals for the chance to win a share of the $1 million (£720K GPB) purse.

Owlstone Medical won the $333,333 (£240,000) award with its Breath Biopsy platform, a non-invasive system that can easily and accurately capture and analyse breath samples for the presence of trace chemicals related to disease activity. The proven technology will be applied to find volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in breath that could help speed up diagnosis of IPF, and catch the disease at an earlier stage. This would result in a major improvement for patients by enabling timely treatment and preventing the debilitating loss of pulmonary function.

IPF is a chronic, irreversible and incurable disease that kills as many people as breast cancer every year, however, it is less widely known, resulting in a lack of innovative solutions, funding and research.

Billy Boyle, co-founder and CEO at Owlstone Medical, said: “We are thrilled to win this award which recognizes the potential of our Breath Biopsy platform for the early detection of IPF. Breath Biopsy is already being used in clinical trials for a wide range of cancers, including lung and colorectal cancer, and has recently been integrated into a major clinical development programme for a novel drug candidate for respiratory disease. We look forward to making a similar contribution to the early detection of IPF. We thank SBRI Healthcare for enabling us to embark on this exciting journey and continue to work towards our vision of saving 100,000 lives and $1.5B in healthcare costs.”

Karen Livingstone, National Director of SBRI Healthcare, commented: “Congratulations to the team at Owlstone Medical for this great achievement and also to CRiL as impressive finalists. We are so pleased to see SBRI companies from the UK raising their profile in the international markets and being recognised for their advanced and evidence-based innovation. This is a great testament of the NHS England, AHSN Network and NHS practitioners working together to bridge the gap between the creation of new solutions and their adoption in the NHS.”