Cash injection to develop magnetic malaria filter

MediSieve receives £350,000 seed funding to develop drug-free 3D-printed magnetic blood filter

Dr George Frodsham is the inventor of MediSieve's new device

MediSieve founder, Dr George Frodsham, has secured £350,000 in seed funding to develop his company’s revolutionary magnetic malaria filter.

He attracted the backing from angel investors with expertise in the medical device and healthcare industries, including leading patent attorneys, former chief executives and successful entrepreneurs.

Treatment with MediSieve’s device involves no drugs or chemicals and offers new hope for malaria patients whose cases are severe or resistant to existing medicines.

Pre-clinical trials show that the 3D-printed magnetic blood filter could extract up to 90% of infected cells from a person with malaria in under four hours.

Speaking about the funding, Frodsham said: “With this investment, we’re able to manufacture and test the first clinical prototype of the magnetic malaria filter for humans. This will put us in a fantastic position ahead of clinical trials. The backing also means MediSieve has experienced professionals in place to devise strategy and develop the business.”

Frodsham is one of four runners-up for the Royal Academy of Engineering ERA Foundation Award and a member of the academy’s Enterprise Hub. Through the hub, he received expert training on pitching to angel investors and structuring investment deals. He also received specialist tips from the Royal Society of Edinburgh, through the BBSRC Enterprise Fellowship Programme, and financial advisory firm, Little Venice Partners.

Ian Shott, a serial entrepreneur who has held senior positions at biotech giant AstraZeneca and is chairman of the academy’s Enterprise Committee, said: “The aim of the hub is to get Britain’s world-leading research innovations from lab to market by fostering long-term relationships between academia and industry.

“We empower researchers to commercialise their ideas by drawing on the expertise of the private sector. George has not only won significant financial backing, he has also secured a string of investors with a huge combined pool of expertise in the commercialisation of healthcare technology. His innovation has the capacity to transform lives across the developing world and we are delighted to have helped take this idea one step closer to market.”

Red blood cells infected with a malaria parasite have magnetic properties. This enables MediSieve’s device to capture them without affecting healthy cells. The process is similar to dialysis in that infected cells are captured as blood passes through an external loop. Rapid removal of infected cells has the potential to reduce symptoms, severity and mortality.

This one-off treatment could be used when drugs become ineffective or to supplement existing pharmaceutical treatments. The magnetic device could help drug resistant patients manage malaria and keep symptoms at bay indefinitely.

MediSieve’s breakthrough comes at a time when scientists are increasingly concerned about drug resistant strains of malaria. Today, three of the five strains of the disease that affect humans can resist antimalarials.

Malaria is one of the world’s most-deadly diseases. Some 207 million cases are diagnosed every year, claiming 600,000 lives. For many people, the disease is untreatable, either because diagnosis is too late or the strain is resistant to drugs currently available.

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