Aston and Sarissa work together for earlier stroke detection

Sarissa logo

Aston University has entered into an exciting Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Sarissa Biomedical Ltd (Sarissa) that will see a unique, patented technology for early detection of stroke being scaled up to volume production.

Jointly funded by private investors and the NHS’s i4i program, Sarissa has developed 'SMARTChip' a simple point of care in-vitro diagnostic (IVD) using a finger prick blood test to enable emergency doctors and paramedics to more rapidly and accurately diagnose stroke. 

Stroke is the fourth highest cause of death in the UK, costing the NHS £5.5bn a year, or 5% of its budget. Thrombolytic (“clot buster”) drugs are a highly effective therapy for 85% of strokes, but need to be administered as early as possible, every minute delay equates to 2 days loss of healthy life. However, stroke is a challenging condition for non-specialists to diagnose resulting in a high degree of misdiagnosis of stroke: 30% of stroke patients go unrecognised in A&E; 50% of suspected stroke patients identified by paramedics turn out to be stroke mimics; and up to 17% of patients receiving thrombolysis (an expensive and potentially hazardous treatment) have not had a stroke. SMARTChip has the potential to change this and not only improve patient outcomes but also deliver major cost savings to the NHS. 

Having completed clinical trials of SMARTChip as stroke diagnostic at 3 acute stroke units, Sarissa is now starting to support wider deployment of its stroke IVD. To supply clinicians and paramedics with this game-changing technology, Sarissa is building its production line to supply SMARTChip cost effectively in volume. This KTP project aims to help transform Sarissa into a high value manufacturer of diagnostic devices by automating its SMARTChip production process.  

The research expertise of Aston academics that will be used in the KTP includes intelligent automation in manufacture of equipment, control electronics, robotics and in-line inspection. 

Aston academic Dr Antonio Fratini said of the project:This is an exciting opportunity to help the standardisation and the production on a large scale of this innovative device, which can result in more and faster detection of strokes all over the world. We are delighted to work with Sarissa on this project, which will deliver better care and quality of life for patients while cutting costs for the NHS.”

Prof Nick Dale of Sarissa Biomedical Limited said:Sarissa has developed a world beating technology that will improve the lives of stroke victims and save the NHS money.  Our ambition is to create jobs and economic wealth, we see the development of our production capability as being a key factor in transforming Sarissa from an R&D company into a high value IVD manufacturer and look forward to working with Aston University to deliver our ambition.

Along with the major health benefits that this project could bring, it is anticipated that the KTP will help to create jobs at both Sarissa and the global distribution partners with which the company will collaborate.

To find out more about how your business can benefit from working with Aston University, please email rke@aston.ac.uk or call 0121 204 4242