A license agreement was signed with Antrum Biotech (Pty) Ltd for the commericalisation of an extrapulmonary TB diagnostic test based on IP that was created by Prof Keertan Dheda (Lung Infection and Immunity Unit).
The early-stage prototype development was supported by the UCT PreSeed Fund and the company has gone on to secure IDC funding to pursue further development. A comprehensive business plan has been developed as the basis for next-stage fund raising to take the medical device through the last phases of prototyping into trials and then commercialisation and investors are currently being sought.
The TB Test Strip provides rapid testing for pleural TB or in other compartments; this test differs from normal lung TB/sputum diagnosis for which other diagnostics are available, or are under development. With the test being conducted at the patient bedside, the Doctor can immediately prescribe appropriate medication instead of waiting long periods for cultures in a pathology lab.
The Intellectual Property protection entered the national phase in 2011, with patent applications being filed in South Africa, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Nigeria along with a regional African application (ARIPO). The patenting followed Antrum's business strategy which will aim to enter these key markets for the diagnostic.