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Illuminating antibiotic selection

Rapid differentiation between antibiotic resistant and susceptible cells.

Preventing the spread of antibiotic resistance is a global challenge of the 21st Century.   Healthcare professionals recognise that rapid methods to differentiate resistant from susceptible pathogens will be vital in helping to improve antibiotic use.  Vitamica is developing a novel diagnostic technology to test pathogenic bacteria for susceptibility to antibiotics within one hour.  Our technology will transform the way clinicians make decisions on antibiotic choice for the benefit of patients now and in the future. 

 

Rapid AST 

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The need for more targeted and appropriate use of existing antibiotics grows daily, and healthcare professionals must have the diagnostic tools to support decisions on which antibiotic to use. 

Rapid antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) of patient samples would inform doctors which antibiotics will be effective and to which the bacteria show resistance.  Crucially, the test results would be available in time for the first antibiotics to be prescribed, rather than 48 hours later as is typical for current testing methods.

Rapid AST enables the timely prescription of appropriate antibiotics leading to better patient outcomes as patients receive effective antibiotics sooner, and also reducing healthcare costs due to faster recovery times and a lower incidence of complications. Importantly, the prescription of more targeted and appropriate antibiotics enabled by rapid AST also reduces the spread of antimicrobial resistance.

Benefits of rapid AST 

Prescribing from the outset an antibiotic that is shown to be effective against an infection is recognised as being best practice.  Patient recovery is rapid, complications are fewer and the healthcare journey is improved.  Our technology can make a real difference to patient healthcare by assisting doctors to prescribe effective antibiotics first time.

Better patient outcomes

Healthcare systems around the world are struggling to cope with rising demand, increasing complexity of cases and tightening budgets.  Prescribing effective antibiotics from the outset plays a major part in reducing healthcare costs – directly in terms of antibiotic costs, and indirectly in relation to unexpected health complications of patients who do not respond to treatment.  Our diagnostic instrument will help reduce costs by improving the targeting of antibiotics.

Lower healthcare costs

Currently when a doctor prescribes an initial antibiotic for a patient they are doing so in the absence of evidence on whether the antibiotic will have any effect on the bacterial pathogen.  It can take days to find out which antibiotic is the most effective.  Vitamica’s rapid antimicrobial susceptibility test will give doctors evidence about the effectiveness of antibiotics before the initial prescription is prepared.  Prescribing antibiotics against bacterial pathogens will be much more precise and build-up of resistance to existing antibiotics will be slowed.

Slow the spread of resistance

Our Approach

Current susceptibility testing methods typically take 36-48 hours because they rely on detecting growth of the organism as a phenotypic signal that the bacteria are alive (or not) after treatment with antibiotics. In order to develop rapid susceptibility testing methods, approaches that do not rely on detecting growth of the organism are needed.

Vitamica is developing a rapid AST based on a novel technology that detects tiny fluctuations within the individual bacteria, indicating in a few seconds whether the cells are alive or not.  This technology will allow us to test pathogenic bacteria for susceptibility to antibiotics within one hour, transforming the way clinicians make decisions on antibiotic choice for the benefit of patients now and in the future. 

Vitamica's rapid AST technology

Vitamica is developing a novel diagnostic technology to test pathogenic bacteria for susceptibility to antibiotics within one hour.  Our technology will transform the way clinicians make decisions on antibiotic choice for the benefit of patients now and in the future. 

Rapid Response

Vitamica is developing a novel diagnostic technology to test pathogenic bacteria for susceptibility to antibiotics within one hour.  Our technology will transform the way clinicians make decisions on antibiotic choice for the benefit of patients now and in the future. 

Targeted

Vitamica is developing a novel diagnostic technology to test pathogenic bacteria for susceptibility to antibiotics within one hour.  Our technology will transform the way clinicians make decisions on antibiotic choice for the benefit of patients now and in the future. 

Phenotypic

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Our Technology

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Our rapid AST is based on a recently developed imaging technique - Sub-cellular Fluctuation Imaging (SCFI) -  that directly detects nanoscale fluctuations that are present in bacteria when they are alive. These fluctuations are too small to be seen using an optical microscope, but the unique optical set up of SCFI allows us to directly image them in real time. 

Using this technology we can detect the effects of antibiotics as soon as they have acted on the bacteria - leading to a very rapid susceptibility test.

About us

Vitamica was established in early 2018 as a spin-out company from the University of Bristol.  Taking optical technology from the School of Physics, the new company is beginning its journey towards commercialisation of a rapid and novel diagnostic method that has high potential for use in antimicrobial susceptibility testing.  With a growing IP portfolio and an active approach to identifying opportunities in healthcare, veterinary and pharma sectors, Vitamica fully intends to make its mark as another successful company to originate from the University of Bristol.

The Team

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Paul Meakin
Chief Executive Officer

Paul has been working for over a decade with start-up companies in the rapid diagnostics sector.  Most recently he has been active in securing funding and routes to market for early stage life science companies and brings this experience to Vitamica.  Paul’s early career was spent in agricultural research, before turning his interests towards the commercialisation of scientific developments.

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Charlotte Bermingham
Chief Technical Officer

As co-inventor of the bacterial fluctuation detection technique, Charlotte has been working on developing and validating the method as a post doc in the group of Dr Antognozzi at the University of Bristol, and continues this work for Vitamica. Charlotte is a physicist with a background in nanophysics and biophysics.

 
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Massimo Antognozzi
Chief Scientific Officer

Massimo is a Senior Lecturer in Physics at the University of Bristol and co-inventor of the fluctuation detection method. Massimo has 18 years’ experience in the investigation of nanoscale systems, developing unique microscopes to do so, and has directed the award-winning research into the bacterial fluctuation detector.

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Connor Frapwell
Product Development Microbiologist

Connor gained his PhD in microbiology from the University of Southampton in 2018 and joined the Vitamica team in early 2019. His research experience was focused on the effects of antibiotics on human pathogenic bacteria. Within Vitamica, Connor is concentrating on the development of the diagnostic protocols for our rapid antimicrobial susceptibility test.

 

Scientific Advisory Panel

Vitamica enjoys the support and advice from our Scientific Advisory Panel made up of highly experienced clinical and academic microbiologists, all with a strong interest in AMR.

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Dr Stephen Kidd

Stephen is a clinical Scientist in Microbiology and Infectious Disease at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust where he is head of molecular diagnostics and point-of-care lead in Microbiology. He was previously in the Diagnostic Technologies group and the Rare and Imported Pathogens department at Public Health England, Porton Down for 12 years where he was part of the Bio-response team that dealt with various outbreaks including domestic Anthrax and Ebolavirus in West Africa. He has a keen interest in novel rapid molecular diagnostics, AMR and improving the diagnostic pipeline at the frontline.

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Dr John Hays

John is an associate professor in microbiology in the Department of Medical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases of the Erasmus University Medical Centre (Erasmus MC), Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He has participated in 9 EU projects (3 as coordinator) in such varying fields as rapid/Point-of-Care testing, antibiotic resistance and sepsis. Dr. Hays is particularly interested in problems associated with the development and implementation of rapid/POCT diagnostics for use in medical microbiology

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Professor Matthew Avison

Matthew leads a research group at the University of Bristol studying antimicrobial drug resistance (AMR) in bacteria. His work uses various techniques to identify and characterise AMR mechanisms in key human pathogens, their mobilisation, and their control. He then uses this information to combat the problem of AMR by developing interdisciplinary research collaborations.

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Partnering

We are open to discussions about R&D collaborations, investment or other forms of partnering. 

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Vitamica

Future Space

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Filton Road

Stoke Gifford

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BS34 8RB

 

contact@vitamica.co.uk