Netscientific PLC (LON:NSCI) said its portfolio firm ProAxsis, in which it owns a 95% stake, has been awarded a grant from Innovate UK that it said will co-fund a £390,000 project to develop novel protease biomarkers to identify high-risk coronavirus (COVID-19) patients.
The AIM-listed investment group said the grant will also support ProAxsis to expand its available services to a “growing global client list of pharmaceutical companies and academic laboratories”, as well as enhance its NEATstik point of care test and realise the opportunities in the response to COVID-19.
John Clarkson, chairman of Netscientific and ProAxsis, said that grant will enable partial funding of projects with a total overall value of over £1mln.
Meanwhile, ProAxsis chief executive David Ribeiro said: “Recognition of this kind from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, is an enormous testament to the cutting-edge research being conducted by the ProAxsis team of scientists at its purpose-built laboratory in Belfast. This project is targeted at utilising the company’s unprecedented expertise in active protease biomarkers to enable clinicians to identify which patients are at highest risk of experiencing significant symptoms when they become infected with COVID-19, as well as creating novel diagnostic tools for measuring the effectiveness of potential therapies. This award will drive significant expansion of the company’s R&D activities and builds on our existing work on inflammatory biomarkers associated with COVID-19.”
The CEO added that the funding has also allowed the company to expand its Belfast team with the recruitment of additional research & development scientists.
Shares in Netscientific were up 5.3% at 50p in mid-morning trading on Thursday.