UK entrepreneur, George Frodsham, reveals new magnetic filter that will revolutionise treatment of malaria
This article looks at how UK entrepreneur, George Frodsham, has invented a new magnetic ‘sieve’ system that is set to revolutionise the treatment of malaria around the world
“I was a physicist engineer with a solution without knowing exactly what the problem was.”
This dilemma faced PhD student, George Frodsham, when he first hit on the idea of developing a new technology that would help to filter ‘bad pathogens’ from the human bloodstream.
For the patient it means fewer drugs, they feel better quicker, and they go home sooner. It’s a perfect fit for the healthcare market as it’s more effective and costs less
Speaking to BBH this week, he explains: “I had the idea quite a long while ago when I was doing a masters and was interested in magnetic nanoparticles. You can make these stick to almost anything, so I thought I could use them to clean people’s blood. There always seems to be bad stuff in blood, so it seemed obvious to me.”
Frodsham found a superviser in Quentin Pankhurst and embarked on a PhD to develop the magnetic blood filter.
Three years later, MediSieve was born with the objective of commercialising the MediSieve Filter, which Frodsham had developed during his PhD.
“I tested the theory first, without knowing what I was going to use it on,” said Frodsham, “then the idea of malaria came along.”
Malaria has naturally-magnetic properties, so was an obvious choice as the first point of focus for MediSieve.
“We thought, how can we use this concept to help fight one of the world’s most-severe diseases? We are starting with malaria, but in the future this technology could be used on cancer cells and the toxins that cause sepsis, for example. We are limited only by what we can target in blood.”
The MediSieve Filter is aimed at severe and complicated malaria cases where patients do not have natural immunity, in particular children and travellers.
The chance of survival from malaria depends on how quickly you can reduce the levels in the blood and our filter will mean hours rather than days to achieve a reduction of 90% or more
“After a diagnosis of severe and complicated malaria, a patient will have extensive and invasive treatment using eight-or-so doses of a very strong drug delivered intravenously,” said Frodsham. “80% of those patients will go home after treatment, but up to 20% will die.
“Treatment with the MediSieve Filter begins alongside the first dose of UV medication where a case of severe and complicated malaria has been diagnosed.
“Working in a similar way to dialysis, blood is pumped out of the body to an external loop, where it passes through the filter. This takes 2-3 hours and achieves and excellent and rapid reduction in malaria infection in the bloodstream.
“The chance of survival from malaria depends on how quickly you can reduce the levels in the blood and our filter will mean hours rather than days to achieve a reduction of 90% or more.
“For the patient it means fewer drugs, they feel better quicker, and they go home sooner. It’s a perfect fit for the healthcare market as it’s more effective and costs less.”
MediSieve has been through most pre-clinical trials and will begin animal trials in a few weeks time. It will then be tested on healthy humans to prove safety, before moving on to clinical trials with malaria patients, after which it will be brought to market.
It’s about winning support within the industry - putting yourself out there and not being ashamed to ask people to introduce you to other people
Offering advice to other entrepreneurs looking to bring innovative products into the notoriously difficult to penetrate healthcare market, Frodsham said: “It’s about winning support within the industry - putting yourself out there and not being ashamed to ask people to introduce you to other people. >
“It’s often not the people you meet every day that can help you, but rather the people they can introduce you to.
“It’s about working and networking, going to events, and getting some PR going. You need to share what you’re doing, then people will know about you.
“As a general rule I have found that people really do want to help, as long as you put yourself out there and make the effort.”
MediSieve has recently been named a finalist for the Best Start-up Medtech Company Award at The OBN Awards 2016.
Now in their eighth year, the awards celebrate innovation and achievement across the UK life sciences industry and recognise achievements from emerging to late-stage R&D companies and life sciences investors.
The Best Start-up Medtech Company Award will go to a company less than two years old which has raised seed or grant funding for product development.
Speaking about the nomination, Frodsham said: “This is another major high point in what has been amazing year for our business.”