Copenhagen, July 3rd, 2020 - Scientists behind VenomAid Diagnostics ApS have received a Pioneer Innovator grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation (NNF). The grant will be used to initiate important steps in the development and commercialization of rapid diagnostic devices for stratification of snakebites in Brazil. Starting as a student-driven research and innovation project in the Tropical Pharmacology Lab at the Technical University of Denmark, VenomAid Diagnostics is transitioning from academia to industry. This transition has been made possible by strategic collaboration together with the in vitro diagnostics company, BioPorto Diagnostics A/S, around their gRAD platform, as well as support from Innovation Fund Denmark (industrial PhD programme and Innofounder Graduate), which will now be further accelerated by the new grant from NNF.
Annually, more than five million people are affected by snakebite envenoming. Worldwide, there is a strong association between poverty and a high incidence of snakebite. Agricultural workers, families living in poorly constructed homes, and people with limited access to education and healthcare are all particularly vulnerable. The consequences for the affected people can be devastating and, in many cases, high treatment costs and loss of income push poor people even further into poverty. By ensuring fast, accurate, and affordable diagnosis, VenomAid Diagnostics aims to change the way snakebite envenomings are handled. Rapid diagnosis enables earlier initiation of treatment, with the possibility of using specific rather than broad-spectrum antivenoms, thereby reducing expenses associated with symptom treatment, hospitalization, and rehabilitation.
Associate Professor Andreas Hougaard Laustsen commented: "We are extremely grateful to receive the Pioneer Innovator grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation. Not only does this help us fund important development and entrepreneurship activities, it also serves as an important stamp of recognition, when prestigious foundations show their support for your cause."
Co-Founder and COO, Jonas A. Jürgensen said: "It is fantastic that the Novo Nordisk Foundation is supporting our entrepreneurial journey.What started as a student-driven project is now maturing, and with the Pioneer Innovator grant, we are able to take our idea one step closer to market, ensuring quick and reliable diagnosis of snakebite victims around the world. "
COO, BioPorto Diagnostics A/S, Jan Kuhlmann said: "We are very pleased to have the VenomAid Diagnostics young, talented, and entrepreneurial team working in our laboratories, supporting their journey to solve a major global challenge using our gRAD technology platform. With the strong support from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, VenomAid Diagnostics can take the entire project closer to the victims."
About the TechnicalUniversity of Denmark www.dtu.dk/english
DTU is recognized internationally as a leading university in the areas of technical and natural sciences, renowned for their business-oriented approach, focus on sustainability and study environment. The university was founded in 1829, and is now ranked as one of the foremost technical universities in Europe, continuing to set new records in the number of publications, and increase and develop partnerships with industry, and assignments accomplished by DTU’s scientific advice.
About VenomAid Diagnostics www.venomaid.com
VenomAid Diagnostics is a young medtech startup from DTU that develops diagnostic devices for animal envenomings. The idea behind VenomAid originated in 2017 and went on to win the Green Challenge at DTU the same year. Since then, the team behind VenomAid has received multiple prices and recognition for challenging the status quo within snakebite diagnostics.
About the Tropical Pharmacology Lab www.tropicalpharmacology.com
The Tropical Pharmacology Lab is an academic research group, led by Andreas H. Laustsen, at the Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine at the Technical University of Denmark. The group specializes in the development of antibody-based therapeutics and diagnostics for neglected tropical diseases and infectious diseases. In particular, the group is known for its leading research within snakebite therapeutics and diagnostic tools based on the use of monoclonal antibodies.
About BioPorto www.bioporto.com
BioPorto is an in vitro diagnostics company that provides tests and antibodies to clinicians and researchers around the world. We use our antibody and assay expertise to transform novel research tools into clinically actionable biomarkers that can make a difference in patients’ lives. BioPorto is headquartered in Hellerup, Denmark and is listed on the NASDAQ Copenhagenstock exchange [CPH:BIOPOR].