The Prime Minister Gordon Brown joined UK Minister for Science and Innovation Lord Drayson, First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills Lord Mandelson, and Health Minister Lord Darzi for the launch of the report at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Imperial College London on Tuesday 14th July.
The Government's Life Sciences Blueprint outlines a series of actions agreed across government and with industry to foster a more integrated life sciences industry â combining diagnostic tools with new drugs and new devices to create medical breakthroughs and drive quality and value for money within the high-growth healthcare sector.
Dr Leila Shepherd, Chief Technology Officer and Sam Reed, Director of Product Development for DNA Electronics, demonstrated the company's SNP Dr (pronounced 'snip doctor') innovation to the Prime Minister during the visit. The SNP Dr is a breakthrough silicon chip-based device that offers fast and accurate spot test results for specific DNA sequences that indicate how we are likely to respond to certain drugs. The device is currently being trialed in partnership with global pharmaceutical company Pfizer. DNA Electronics was co-founded by Professor Chris Toumazou FRS, inventor of the technology and now CEO of the company. The core technology, based upon switching transistors on and off with DNA, has led to the worldâs first DNA logic on standard CMOS technology, one of the company's recently demonstrated technical milestones.
Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman & CEO, Genting Berhad, and a major investor in DNA Electronics, commented: "I believe that the marriage of semiconductors and DNA detection pioneered by Professor Toumazou will pave the way for a better understanding of disease and new ways of early detection. We see also enormous business potential by strategically helping DNA Electronics to maximise the value of the SNP Dr to the individual. I am delighted to have made this investment."
Commenting on the Prime Ministerial visit, Professor Toumazou, who is also Director and Chief Scientist of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College London, said: "The merger between the semiconductor and biotechnology industries is creating untold opportunities for bringing disruptive translational technology to market. By pioneering semiconductor chips that can switch on and off with DNA, our company is at the vanguard of a wave of innovation that will culminate in a very different model of healthcare delivery - focused on early detection, monitoring and personalised therapy. This will be the future of healthcare, and DNA Electronics is a prime example of the breakthrough global technology platforms that can be created by harnessing an interdisciplinary approach to biotechnology innovation."
For video footage of the Prime Minister's visit to DNA Electronics, please visit http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page20026
For further information about the Life Sciences Blueprint and to download the report, please visit: http://www.dius.gov.uk/innovation/business_support/ols
About SNP Dr
The SNP Dr works by analysing genetic variations found in DNA called Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs). SNPs are the parts of human DNA that make us all respond differently to disease, bacteria, viruses, toxins or medication. Each year, the NHS spends Â£460 million to treat 250,000 patients who are admitted to hospital suffering adverse reactions to prescribed medication.
The SNP Dr works by analysing the DNA in saliva or cheek swab samples, which are placed in a cartridge and exposed to the silicon chip sensors inside the device. A copy of the fast or slow metabolic SNPs is contained in the chip. If they detect a match, a message is displayed on the SNP Dr's console. The doctor can then assess their patient in the GP surgery, without a lengthy and costly laboratory analysis, and prescribe dosages and treatments accordingly.
About DNA Electronics
DNA Electronics is a consumer-focused company with a scaleable technology. DNA Electronics (DNAe) is developing disposable silicon chip-based solutions for real-time gene sequence detection at point-of-care.
All living things are defined by their genetic code - from the unique identity of a bacteria or virus to the physical and biological traits of humans. Gene tests can be used to determine how a patient will respond to certain drug treatments; the cause of an illness; a person's genetic predisposition to disease; and environmental or food contamination. Traditionally however, gene tests can only be carried out in a laboratory by skilled personnel.
DNAe's silicon-based platform technology delivers fast and accurate handheld gene test solutions with all the appeal of consumer electronics: anytime anywhere. This presents disruptive new opportunities in diagnostics, data capture and therapy.
For more information, please visit http://www.dnae.co.uk.