DegraSense Ltd: Commercial sense and sensor abilities

October 13, 2008

A new company, DegraSense Ltd, has been established to develop a point of care dental diagnostic that could improve the treatment of periodontal disease and other inflammatory conditions.

The new Queen Mary spin out aims to commercialise novel protease biosensor technology developed from the research activities of Dr Steffi Krause from the School of Engineering and Materials Science, and Dr Mike Watkinson from the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences.

Drs Krause and Watkinson believe there are potential applications for the biosensor technology in a range of industries including environmental and food testing, but they will initially focus on developing a non-invasive sensor capable of monitoring inflammation and bacterial infection. The initial application will be the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease, estimated to cost the NHS £250 million per year.

There are currently no accurate clinical methods for dentists to distinguish between active and dormant sites in periodontal disease progression. DegraSense plans to develop a low cost, disposable biosensor that will enable a dentist to identify areas of active inflammation immediately prior to treatment. This will enable more efficient targeting of expensive and labour intensive surgical treatment for patients with gum disease.

Dr Krause, who has been appointed founder Director of the new company said: "This is a new and exciting prospect. It brings together a number of years of research and the involvement of industrial partners so we can push forward towards a product that can make a real difference to dental treatment everywhere. The diagnosis of periodontal disease should reduce the incidences of invasive and uncomfortable dental procedures to the patient and at the same time should bring significant savings both to the patient and the health care provider."
For more information, please contact:

Siân Halkyard
Communications Manager
Queen Mary, University of London
020 7882 7454
07970 096 175

Notes to Editors

Queen Mary, University of London
Queen Mary is one of the leading colleges in the federal University of London, with over 13,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students, and an academic and support staff of around 2,600. Queen Mary is a research university, with over 80 per cent of research staff working in departments where research is of international or national excellence (RAE 2001). It has a strong international reputation, with around 20 per cent of students coming from over 100 countries.

The College has 21 academic departments and institutes organised into three sectors: Science and Engineering; Humanities, Social Sciences and Laws; and the School of Medicine and Dentistry. It has an annual turnover of £200 million, research income worth £43 million, and it generates employment and output worth nearly £400 million to the UK economy each year.

Queen Mary's roots lie in four historic colleges: Queen Mary College, Westfield College, St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College and the London Hospital Medical College.

Queen Mary University of London

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