Firm’s point-of-care Velox system uses electrochemical sensing to detect target DNA within 30 minutes.

Infectious disease diagnostics firm Atlas Genetics raised £16.9 million in a series B round of financing with a syndicate of new and existing investors led by Novartis Venture Funds and Consort Medical. The investment will be drawn down over three years to support global launch of Atlas’s initial Velox™ point-of-care diagnostic for Chlamydia and gonorrhea, as well as the development of additional infectious disease tests and expansion of the Velox immunoassay system capabilities. Commercial launch of the system is planned for 2012.

The Velox platform uses electrochemical sensing to enable multiplexed detection of target DNA in a patient sample such as blood or urine. Designed for point-of-care use, the system comprises a test machine and disposable, single-use cartridges, which includes all the reagents needed to extract DNA, amplify a specific sequence, and detect the target. The detection method utilizes target-specific probes labeled with an electronic ferrocene tag. Results are generated within 30 minutes.

In addition to developing Velox tests for Chlamydia/gonorrhea, Atlas is also working on MRSA, group B Streptococcus, bacterial meningitis, and Norwalk viruses. In February the firm announced a development contract with Consort Medical, through which the latter will help design the commercial manufacturing system for the disposable Velox test cards. As part of the deal Consort invested £1.1 million in Atlas to acquire a 19.5% stake in the firm.

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