ProAxsis accelerates work on inflammatory biomarkers associated with COVID-19


ProAxsis (, the Belfast-based respiratory diagnostics company, today announces that it has been awarded an Innovate UK grant as part of the “business-led innovation in response to global disruption” scheme, which was set up in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The £50,000 award will be utilised to develop novel sputum-based cytokine multiplex assays.

Speaking about the plans, Dr David Ribeiro, CEO of ProAxsis, said:

“A number of cytokines have been associated with COVID-19 infection so we anticipate an increased future need for extensive testing of these proteins in a range of biological fluids, both for monitoring people infected with the COVID-19 virus, and also to support the development of novel therapeutic options for the virus. The company is delighted to have received this support from Innovate UK and is proud to have earned one of the 800 grants awarded out of more than 8500 entries to the competition.”

Speaking about the scheme, Dr Ian Campbell, executive Chair of Innovate UK, said:

“Businesses from all over the UK have answered our call rapidly to meet the challenges we face today and in the future through the power of innovation. The ideas we have seen can truly make a significant impact on society, improve the lives of individuals, especially those in vulnerable groups and enable businesses to prosper in challenging circumstances.”

Any enquiries concerning ProAxsis’ work with cytokines can be directed to



ProAxsis Limited is a commercial-stage diagnostics company, based in Northern Ireland, and with a rapidly growing global client list of pharmaceutical companies and academic laboratories. The company has registered a CE Mark for activity-based immunoassays targeting Neutrophil Elastase (NE) and Proteinase 3, as biomarkers of lung infection and inflammation in chronic respiratory diseases such as COPD, cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis.

This technology has been translated in to a point-of-care test (NEATstik®), to enable ongoing monitoring of active NE levels. Recently published data has shown that measuring active NE levels using NEATstik® enables identification of patients with airway bacterial infection and those patients at highest risk of suffering pulmonary exacerbations over the subsequent 12 months.

In addition to proteases, the company also has significant expertise in the measurement of other inflammatory biomarkers, including IL-6, IL-8 and TNF-alpha.

Aside from the provision of assays, ProAxsis is able to offer sample analysis at its purpose-built laboratory facility in Belfast, and is currently supporting a number of pharmaceutical company-sponsored Phase I, II and III clinical trials.

ProAxsis is one of the core portfolio companies of Netscientific plc. The company is also supported by QUBIS, the commercialisation arm of the Queens University Belfast.

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