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Breath Biopsy wins MacRobert Award

Posted: 29th June 2018

The Royal Academy of Engineering reveals Owlstone Medical as the winners of the 2018 MacRobert Award

Owlstone Medical, a diagnostics company developing a breathalyzer for disease, has announced the team behind the Company’s unique Breath Biopsy® platform has been named the winner of the MacRobert Award 2018 by the Royal Academy of Engineering. Owlstone Medical’s Breath Biopsy platform, including the ReCIVA Breath Sampler, has opened up the potential for earlier diagnosis and precision medicine across cancer, inflammatory disease and infectious disease.

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal presented the team of engineers from Cambridge-based company Owlstone Medical with the MacRobert Award gold medal and a £50,000 prize at the Academy’s Awards Dinner at the Tower of London this evening. The presentation of the Award recognizes outstanding innovation, tangible societal benefit and proven commercial success.

The MacRobert Award, run by the Royal Academy of Engineering, is the UK’s longest running and most prestigious award for engineering innovation. First presented in 1969, the Award has recognized the extraordinary potential of innovations that have changed the world we live in. In 1972, for instance, the judges honored the development of the first CT scanner by EMI – seven years before its inventor Sir Godfrey Hounsfield received the Nobel Prize. Last year’s winner was the Cambridge-based team behind the Raspberry Pi.

Breath Biopsy is the first platform capable of capturing breath samples and analyzing them in a robust and reproducible way, and is in use at more than 100 clinical sites around the world. The development of a standardized Breath Biopsy platform will enable Owlstone Medical to build a robust, comparable Breath Biopsy Digital Biobank including thousands of breath VOC profiles matched to phenotype, and overcome many of the historical challenges associated with the identification of VOCs and how these are associated with specific diseases.

The winning team members are: Billy Boyle, Co-founder & CEO; David Ruiz-Alonso, Co-founder & COO; Max Allsworth, Chief Scientific Officer; Alastair Taylor, VP of Engineering; Matthew Hart, VP of Research and Development.

Dr Dame Sue Ion DBE FREng FRS, Chair of the MacRobert Award judging panel, said: “Owlstone Medical stood out because of the extraordinary engineering that its breath sampler, and the associated breath biopsy platform, required to bring these technologies to life. The company has demonstrated exceptional innovation at every stage of development; from the mask used to help capture breath, the tubes that help collect the samples, to the software and hardware designed to ensure the tests are reliable and repeatable.

“Owlstone Medical has now created a device that is dependable and non-intrusive, and has the potential to revolutionize the way we diagnose and treat a vast array of diseases. The societal benefit is clear to see, and I believe they could realise their vision of saving more than a billion dollars in global healthcare costs and saving hundreds of thousands of lives.”

Billy Boyle, co-founder and CEO at Owlstone Medical, commented: It’s a huge honor to have won the MacRobert Award and for the whole company to be recognized for their hard work over the last three years in developing the Breath Biopsy platform and establishing breath diagnostics as a new industry category. We know that in cancer, early detection is our greatest opportunity to save lives – our company mission is to save 100,000 lives and we won’t stop until we achieve this.

To find out more about Owlstone Medical’s Breath Biopsy platform and mission to save 100,000 lives, watch the video here.