GHP November 2017 - Texas A&M

30 GHP / November 2017 , 1703GH06 Cost-Effective Healthcare Technologies Arquer Diagnostics (Arquer) is a private, UK-based company specialising in the development of innovative, non-invasive oncological diagnostic solutions. They were pleased to receive two accolades this year: Innovators in Life Science 2017 and the Top 25 Life Science Awards 2017. To celebrate their success, we interviewed NadiaWhittley, CEO to find out more about the company’s aims and the impact they are having on both patients and healthcare professionals. Arquer Diagnostics (Arquer) is a private, UK-based diagnostics company focused on the development and commercialisation of non- invasive immunoassay diagnostic tests, for cancer diagnosis and monitoring. CEO, Nadia Whittley begins by detailing the company’s clear focus, plus something of their background and why they were established. “Arquer is focused on the development and commercialisation of highly accurate, non-invasive, minichromosome maintenance (MCM) protein based tests, for cancer diagnosis and monitoring from small amounts of body fluid. Arquer aim to meet demand expressed by patients, clinicians and payers for cost-effective healthcare technologies, that not only enhance patient care but help to reduce overall healthcare costs by potentially improving patient outcomes. Arquer was launched in 2015, following a strategic decision to put into action the powerful research that had been conducted by a small enterprise, founded in 2005 by Nick Miller- Jones (UroSens). The initial aim of the founder was to develop and market novel urine tests for bladder and prostate cancer, based on MCM5 detection. For the first eight years, research and development was focused on developing a strong assay and clinical testing. At the end of 2014, UroSens successfully raised £2 million to drive the product development and clinical trials, which marked the birth of Arquer Diagnostics. During 2015, significant investments were made in scientists, lab space, capex and a full-time management team. This included a complete restructuring and rebranding of the company to Arquer. 2016 saw the acceleration of activities aimed at design transfer for manufacturing. The launch of our first product, ADX BLADDER, is planned for late-2017. Arquer Diagnostics Ltd is based in Sunderland, in the north east of England.” Nadia then furnishes us with further details about the company’s valuable work, including the journey they have taken from their inception to the present day. “Arquer’s tests are based on minichromosome maintenance (MCM) protein, a marker for the presence of dividing cancer cells. This patent protected, intellectual property is licensed exclusively from Cancer Research Technology (CRT), the development and commercialisation arm of Cancer Research UK. Arquer’s initial focus is on the development of lab-based tests for urological (prostate and bladder) cancers. The journey so far has been, as for many start-ups, like a roller coaster ride. During the last three years, we have experienced breakthrough moments as well as setbacks. However, Arquer is always convinced that we were onto some very innovative technology and that our hard work would mean that better solutions for cancer patients can be achieved in the future. Arquer, in its current set up is a three-year old company. We went from a ‘one man show’ (the founder Nick Miller Jones) to a fully-fledged team - starting out from a little room in Cambridge, to a fully equipped research and development lab in Sunderland - with the skills and competencies to take the platform to market.” Nadia then tells us about the crucial role of Arquer’s team and what they contribute to the success of the company. “At Arquer, we work in a multifunctional team. It is a necessity when you have a small number of extremely talented individuals; they cover multiple areas and thanks to their background, each of them can contribute on multiple levels; From science to marketing, finance to regulatory and sales to clinical, there is never a dull moment. Our team has also been able to identify several external partners, without whom we would not be able to function properly. The great thing is that every partner is part of the journey and the family, so that everything is performed with the same objective in mind; to bring the best innovative platform for cancer diagnostics possible, for the many cancer patients worldwide.” In closing, Nadia explains the challenges Arquer faces in the future, as well as the wider industry they are a part of. She also tells us how she sees the company developing in 2017 and beyond. “There are many challenges we must overcome for our innovative platform to be available to all patients worldwide. Firstly, we need to make sure we continue to produce reliable clinical data through our clinical studies. Patients deserve reliable and well-understood solutions and we plan to be one of them. Secondly, of course, securing continuous support from our shareholders.