Belfast based respiratory diagnostics company, ProAxsis is investing over £200,000 in R&D to enhance its novel ProteaseTag® technology. The company is using Invest Northern Ireland’s support for R&D to develop new diagnostic biomarker tests which will help to identify critical signs of clinical deterioration for patients suffering with chronic diseases.

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

Use of our ProteaseTag® Active Neutrophil Elastase Immunoassay continues to rapidly expand amongst those academic and pharmaceutical company laboratories working with patients affected by chronic respiratory diseases such as COPD, bronchiectasis and cystic fibrosis. This new support from Invest NI will allow us to complete further enhancements of the immunoassay, to enable maximum usage amongst this customer group and create new diagnostic tests for protease biomarkers of chronic human diseases.  We recognise the importance of innovation to remain competitive and we’ve built a long-standing partnership with Invest NI over many years and remain very grateful to them for their continuing support of Health and Life Science companies in Northern Ireland.

Dr Vicky Kell, Director of Innovation, Research and Development added:

ProAxsis is a highly innovative diagnostics company focused on growing its global customer base. Our R&D support over the last 5 years has helped the company develop technologies to deliver innovative products, which are changing the way patients are clinically monitored. This new strategically important investment is helping the business utilise R&D to further develop its innovative ProteaseTag® technology so that it can maximise its commercialisation potential. We are committed to supporting companies like ProAxsis to increase their use of innovation to remain competitive and this has never been more important than in the current economic climate. We would encourage other NI companies to look at innovating to boost competiveness and help increase exports.

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

Invest NI’s R&D support is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the EU Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme 2014–2020.


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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