Combatting AMR through research commercialisation

Dr Srijan Jindal is tackling global AMR with rapid, point-of-care diagnostics through innovation and creative thinking in the Liverpool City Region and across the globe.

Dr Srijan Jindal is Co-Founder & Chief Scientific Officer at University of Liverpool spin-out company PhenUTest Diagnostics. With support from the University’s IP Commercialisation Team, he took an idea he developed through his PhD and Post-Doc research, spun-out the company PhenUtest from the University in 2021, and after leading the R&D team, has put his technology as the front-runner to provide cheap, accurate and rapid diagnostics for urinary tract infections (UTIs) at the point-of-care setting. 

Urinary tract infection diagnostics

Inappropriate use of antibiotics plays a key role in the spread of antimicrobial resistance, and Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are a disease area where this commonly occurs. Over 22% of the antibiotic prescriptions through the NHS are for UTIs, but up to 50% of these are inappropriate. Considering there are over 200 million UTI cases globally every year, this is a key area of indiscriminate antibiotic use that needs to be addressed.

The point-of-care diagnostic being developed by PhenUtest provides a test result in 60 minutes, including the correct identification of uropathogens and their antimicrobial sensitivity. Through a combination of biochemical assays, imaging cytometry and machine vision algorithms, the new diagnostic will prevent the inappropriate prescription of antibiotics where there is no sign of infection, and guide practitioners in primary care to prescribe the correct antibiotic for the infection. Ensuring the correct use of antibiotics will help to prevent recurring UTIs and the development of antibiotic-resistant infections within the community.

PhenUtest grows from strength-to-strength

Srijan’s commercialisation journey started with the ICURe accelerator programme, supported by the University of Liverpool’s IP Commercialisation Team. This led to Innovate UK funding of ~£300k, with £150k from the University’s Enterprise Investment Fund

UTIs are an astronomical problem (200M+ cases every year) and yet the market for diagnostics remains underdeveloped. This novel technology will ensure that correct antibiotics are prescribed, massively reducing the global crisis of antimicrobial resistance. PhenUtest now employs 18 members of staff and maintains two partnerships with large industry players who are supporting the development of PhenUtest’s technology. This includes one of the largest diagnostic companies in the world which has validated the biological assay with over 96% agreement and is now negotiating commercial partnerships.

Watch Srijan’s Tedx on the threat of AMR here.


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