Sarissa’s stroke diagnostic: SMARTChip, wins SBRI grant award

04 July 2016 at 18:00:00 by Sarissa Bio

Sarissa Biomedical Ltd together with its partners, the Oxford Academic Health Science Network, Newcastle University's Stroke Research Group, Northumbria University and Coventry University's HDTI, is pleased to report that it has been awarded £150,000 Phase 1 grant from Innovate UK's Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Stratified medicine: connecting the UK infrastructure call for its 'Point of Care stroke IVD for Paramedic use' project.

This competition sought innovative diagnostic tools that offer better targeted treatment to patients within the UK healthcare system and linking existing NHS infrastructure to deliver the diagnostic solution.  This was one of the most competitive competitions run by Innovate UK with 120 applicants chasing 12 awards.

Stroke is the 4th highest cause of death and the major cause of adult disability. Every year 150,000 people suffer a stroke in the UK, resulting in the NHS spending £4.4bn or 5% of its budget on treating stroke patients and a further ~£4.5bn loss to the UK economy in social care, benefit payments and lost earning.

Funded through NIHR's prestigious i4i programme, Sarissa has developed a portable point of care finger prick blood test to detect purines (a biomarker released at the very onset of a stroke) within minutes. This stroke diagnostic, SMARTChip, is current undergoing a final multi-centre clinical trial with a CE marked product expected to be available in mid-2017.  NICE's recommended clinical pathway for suspected stroke victims requires ambulance service to transport these patients to the nearest hyper-acute stroke unit (HASU) rather than the closest A&E unit.  However, the Face, Arm, Speech Test (FAST) used by paramedics to identify suspected stroke victims cannot identify conditions that mimic stroke and leads to large numbers of non-stroke patients being unnecessarily transported to HASUs.  These patients represent a major drain on HASUs resources and budgets.

Together with its partners Sarissa will develop and plan a large-scale clinical trial in which paramedics will use SMARTChip in combination with FAST to more accurately identify stroke victims.  Phase 1 projects will be invited to submit applications for Phase 2 funding which will provide up to £2m of grant funding over 3 years to undertake the planned ambulance trial.


Professor Gary Ford CBE (CEO, Oxford AHSN and Consultant Stroke Physician) said "Stroke is a major social and financial burden to the NHS and society.  Early diagnosis and treatment with clot busting drugs and clot removal devices improves patient outcomes and reduces costs to society.   With growing pressure on NHS resources and budgets, the NHS needs rapid adoption of diagnostic innovation outside the hospital to improve rapid delivery of time dependent therapies that transform the lives of patients, using the considerable expertise of our Universities and life science industry. This project has the key components combining innovative technology with new method of working to deliver better patient outcomes and save the NHS money. "

Professor Nick Dale, Ted Pridgeon Professor of Neuroscience at The University of Warwick, CTO and Founder of Sarissa said "For patients experiencing acute ischemic stroke every second counts - rapid provision of proven therapies can transform the outcomes for these patients and enable excellent recoveries.  Sarissa has developed a unique biosensor technology that has the potential to radically improve the life of stroke victims."

Dr Chris Price, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Stroke Medicine at Newcastle University said "Treating stroke patients as early as possible in specialist units is critical to improving recovery. Once paramedics suspect stroke, they are often required to immediately take that patient past other hospitals to reach the nearest stroke unit. As many conditions can initially resemble stroke and would not benefit from this redirection, an unnecessary additional burden is created for ambulance services, hospitals, patients and their families.  By allowing greater precision during pre-hospital identification of stroke, this project could significantly enhance efficient use of NHS resources and patient experiences of care."


About Sarissa Biomedical Ltd ('Sarissa')

Sarissa Diagnostics is helping to transform emergency clinical care by providing clinicians and paramedics with new diagnostic tools to facilitate and support diagnosis of life threatening conditions such as stroke, TBI, heart attacks and sepsis.  Acute trauma such as these requires prompt medical intervention as this has the highest likelihood of preventing death and delivering positive patient outcomes.  Diagnostic tools are critical enablers as these help facilitate rapid diagnosis leading to earlier intervention, improved patient outcomes and reduce care costs.  Made possible by its next-generation biosensor technology, SMARTChip is being used to measure purines (a key and very early biomarker of haemorrhagic, ischemic and inflammatory injuries) from finger prick samples of blood within minutes.  For the first time clinicians and paramedics will have physiological information to compliment clinical assessment of conditions, such as stroke, at the point-of-care.


About The Oxford Health Science Network

The Oxford Academic Health Science Network is a partnership of NHS providers, commissioners, universities and life science companies working together to improve health and prosperity in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and Oxfordshire.


About Innovate UK

Innovate UK is the UK's innovation agency. We are business focused and drive disruptive innovation right across the UK economy, funding and connecting pioneering businesses so they can create the products, processes and industries of the future. It is our mission to boost productivity, increase exports and help the UK economy grow head and shoulders above other nations. For further information and to stay updated on our latest news visit, follow us on Twitter at @innovateuk or subscribe to our YouTube channel at


About SBRI

The SBRI programme uses the power of government procurement to drive innovation. It provides opportunities for innovative companies to engage with the public sector and gain contracts to solve specific problems. Competitions for new technologies and ideas are run on specific topics and aim to engage a broad range of organisations. SBRI enables the public sector to engage with industry during the early stages of development, supporting projects through the stages of feasibility and prototyping.  For information about the SBRI Stratified medicine: connecting the UK infrastructure programme, please follow the link:-

For information about NIHR's i4i programme, please follow the link:-

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