Wageningen University: Test for early-stage cancer diagnostics to reach the market soon through new investment in WUR spin-off

A test that allows the detection of early-onset cancer has come within reach through a new investment in Surfix, a Wageningen University & Research spin-off. A Dutch consortium made up of Qurin Diagnostics and LioniX International, industry accelerator PhotonDelta and development company Oost NL, provides Surfix with a considerable impulse with an € 8,5 million investment.

This financial impulse will push Surfix into the next stage of its growth, allowing it to accelerate the development of its plug-and-play diagnostics platform for tests. Early diagnoses can help identify cancer patients sooner, which could positively impact the survival rate.

Surfix, founded as a WUR spin-off in 2011, develops special coatings based on Wageningen knowledge. These so-called nanocoatings are useful for businesses that develop biosensors: sensors that take readings outside the body when they come into contact with organic material.

Qurin and LioniX have taken steps in developing a biosensor capable of detecting early-onset cancer in urine. A urine test, not to determine pregnancy, but cancer. In order to make the sensor sufficiently sensitive, the special Surfix coating is very valuable. This is one of the reasons Qurin and LioniX took over Surfix in 2019.

Combination of Dutch technology
The plug-and-play diagnostics platform combines the LioniX integrated photonics chip with the Surfix nanocoatings for the correct functioning of both the detection part and the micro-fluidic part. Integrated photonics is a revolutionary technology making the development of chips possible that are capable of detecting, storing and processing huge amounts of data using light rather than electricity.

Using light means new devices such as biosensors can be developed that are much cheaper, faster, smaller, more robust and more dependable in their use while also being more energy-efficient. Qurin is to become the platform’s launching customer in the field of cancer diagnostics. Through this method, the entire adult population could be regularly screened.

Thus, Surfix hopes to contribute to the early detection of cancer in patients. Qurin’s new biomarker technology aims to identify most, if not all, types of cancer in urine, including lung cancer and colon cancer.

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