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Business Spotlight: Valley Diagnostics

25 Oct, 2023

Based in Cardiff, Valley Diagnostics is developing next-generation lateral flow diagnostic kits which can detect Prostate Cancer, Lung Cancer, Bovine and Human TB.

Valley Diagnostics joined GlobalWelsh’s Business membership programme in 2023. We caught up with CEO David Taylor to discuss the importance of preventative care and how his company is set to make a difference to thousands of people’s lives.

Tell us about Valley Diagnostics…

We are developing a series of lateral flow tests, similar to Covid-19 tests, which can test for several disease profiles through urine samples. The key diseases we are focusing on currently are lung cancer, prostate cancer, bovine TB and human TB. It’s ground breaking work as our products will be able to give users an indicator of the stage of their disease long before most people are symptomatic. 

Our screening tests have an accuracy rate of around 85 to 90 per cent in comparison to current testing, such as the prostate PSA monitoring process, which has around a 50 per cent accuracy rate. We also have a software platform called Transform which was developed through a previous business, Bond Digital Health. This platform, fronted by a smartphone app allows users to upload photos of their lateral flow test and our software will then interpret their results to a quantified percentile result. The platform also has the capability to work with health organisations such as the NHS, where data can be shared with medical professionals to improve the service that is being offered. In time, we’re hoping to set up a manufacturing facility in Wales to manufacture our lateral flow tests and feed into the Welsh economy.

We have been working with Aberystwyth University who have been researching this area of metabolomics over the last eight years. 

"Similarly to the bowel cancer screening offered to people over fifty, our tests could be sent out to individuals on a regular basis, potentially every year. As our tests are urine-based, they can be taken at any time, anywhere, without the unpleasantness of nasal and oral swabbing or blood sampling."

How do you envisage your products being used?

In the UK, we want to work with the NHS to enable every GP surgery across the country to get access to this technology and we want to make our technology available to healthcare providers worldwide.

Similarly to the bowel cancer screening offered to people over fifty, our tests could be sent out to individuals on a regular basis, potentially every year. As our tests are urine-based, they can be taken at any time, anywhere, without the unpleasantness of nasal and oral swabbing or blood sampling. Patients can get results in just ten minutes and the early use of these tests could dramatically help the health service identify patients with issues well before they drift unknowingly into the symptomatic third and fourth disease stages. 

We are also considering over-the-counter selling for users who might want to instigate their own check-ups and potentially for those who want to check their biomarkers for predisposed conditions.

There’s no restriction on where we can take our products which is an incredibly exciting prospect for us in the future.

"Unlike the majority of Covid-19 tests, which had to be sent to landfill as they were non-recyclable, we are exploring how we can create recyclable casing from cardboard or a composite material, which will limit plastic use."

Why Valley Diagnostics? Why were you interested in this field?

The name came from our origins as a Welsh company and our desire to contribute to the Welsh economy and create a variety of clean MedTech jobs in mid-Wales and The Valleys, where the government is looking to enrich the economy. Once we’d decided on the location, the name Valley Diagnostics stuck and represented our vision well.

The underlying reason is that the science is fascinating and it has the power to do immense good. To work with a Welsh University and see the progression of the research is also a driving factor. Normally post doc researchers and PhD students will do the research, publish their papers, and move on, which is a real shame, so to capitalise on their research and support them is a great motivator for us.

What’s Valley Diagnostics doing to minimise the impact on the environment?

Unlike the majority of Covid-19 tests, which had to be sent to landfill as they were non-recyclable, we are exploring how we can create recyclable casing from cardboard or a composite material, which will limit plastic use. By fully manufacturing in the UK, transport emissions and additional supply chain environmental and economic costs will also be reduced. Then, by offering our at-home testing service, people won’t need to travel miles to their nearest healthcare provider. We want to keep as close to net-zero targets as possible and genuinely intend to do so without just ticking boxes.

"You never know where your strongest supporters will emerge from, so these introductions can start conversations and potentially lead to us meeting with our next round of investors."

How has GlobalWelsh helped you?

GlobalWelsh has given us the ability to network with people from a variety of backgrounds and industries which is incredibly important as we need to spread the word of our mission across both Wales and further afield in the UK and overseas. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to pitch at GlobalWelsh’s Connect to London event earlier this year and we made some great contacts there. 

By connecting with a diverse range of people around the world you often find commonality and, in our case, sadly there are very few people who haven’t been touched by cancer in some way. You never know where your strongest supporters will emerge from, so these introductions can start conversations and potentially lead to us meeting with our next round of investors.

"We are very excited to be part of a move towards the transformation of disease diagnostics and healthcare delivery in the UK and beyond, and we are very proud to be based in Wales!"

Where do you want to take the business in the future?

In the future, as well as offering low cost “at home” screening, we hope our technology will also be able to help healthcare providers support successful ongoing treatment programmes. We want to develop the products to enable the tests to detect a decrease in the presence of the biomarkers in patients undergoing treatment. In turn, this will reduce healthcare costs, as facilities such as MRI, which cost around £600 per session, will not be needed so often in the follow-on monitoring of a condition. This will then free up patient waiting times and reduce the burden on specialist staff. 

We are very excited to be part of a move towards the transformation of disease diagnostics and healthcare delivery in the UK and beyond, and we are very proud to be based in Wales!

Connect with Dave and Valley Diagnostics via Connect >>

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