UK analytics firm wins VC backing

Related tags Spectroscopy Chemistry

Scientists in the UK, who have developed revolutionary miniaturised
tools for chemical and biological analysis, have won an injection
of growth capital to produce them commercially.

Paraytec​, a company spun out from the University of York to develop and market the technology, has won £170,000 in funding from Viking Fund and private investors.

The company will produce instruments that use miniaturised ultraviolet-visible (UV-vis) absorbance detectors providing significantly more sensitive and accurate analysis of chemical and biological samples than existing equipment.

UV-vis absorbance is a mainstay analytical technique, widely used in pharmaceutical and life sciences to characterise molecules (eg pharmaceuticals, protein, DNA) and measure their concentrations in solution. Application areas range from R & D to quality control. Paraytecclaims the enhanced sensitivity and a quicker analytical process afforded by its technology will enable pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies developing new drugs to screen samples more efficiently.

A range of instruments, including a miniature capillary UV detector, a capillary spectrophotometer and a multiplexed capillary spectrophotometer with robot handling, should go into production in the middle of next year, helping the company to win a share of the $3 billion molecular spectroscopy market.

UV absorbance detection is a laboratory technique widely employed to characterise and determine the levels of substances which dissolve in water and other liquids, with light absorbed at different wavelengths in the ultra-violet region indicating different compounds. The new instruments use a capillary the width of a human hair as a sample vessel, so they require sample volumes 1,000 times less than existing equipment.

The instruments were devised by analytical scientists Professor David Goodall and Dr Ed Bergström, from the University of York's Department of Chemistry, together with Professor of Electronic Systems at the University of Sheffield Nigel Allinson, and independent designer Dr Kevin Moon.

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