42 Technology and FIND partner to deliver improved TB diagnosis

Cambridge, UK – 7 June 2010 – 42 Technology (42T) is working closely with the Foundation for Innovative Diagnostics (FIND), an independent, international, non-profit organization, to significantly improve the sensitivity of tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis. The new approaches being investigated should enable easier and earlier identification of infected patients using a new diagnostic test for TB, one of the world’s most prevalent and virulent infectious diseases.FIND and 42T first started working together in 2009 to devise novel concepts to safely transfer precise volumes of infected patient sputum samples for application in the field. The initial outcome of the unique combination of FIND’s scientific and medical expertise and 42T’s technology and product engineering was sufficiently promising that the affiliation has been extended into a longer-term project.

The approaches now being developed by the 42T/FIND team are designed to extract and concentrate TB bacillus from small samples to increase the sensitivity of subsequent test methods. Sputum is a difficult, highly variable medium to work with, but the sooner patients can be positively identified from these samples, the faster treatment can start, and the lower the chances of the spread of infection. Improvements in the process for sample concentration could also be applied to other diagnostic tests.

“42 Technology is an excellent product and process development partner to help improve the performance of one of our most promising new TB diagnostic tests. The consultancy’s product engineering, project management and creative skills are helping our medical and clinical teams in Uganda and Geneva to consider alternative approaches to optimizing test methodologies. Our objective is to improve test sensitivity, therefore allowing patients to start treatment before transmitting the disease,” said Dr Mark Perkins, Chief Scientific Officer at FIND.

TB is a huge health burden in developing countries, and its spread is facilitated by the well-known difficulties in making an early diagnosis. The most common diagnostic relies on sputum smear microscopy, which is both cumbersome and insensitive, especially in patients in the early stages of the disease, those with HIV co-infection and children. FIND is focused on developing promising new technologies to diagnose poverty-related diseases, particularly TB, malaria and human African trypanosomiasis. The TB test is being specifically developed to identify patients much earlier in the disease process before they show debilitating symptoms, to improve treatment outcomes and significantly reduce transmission rates.

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Notes for editors

About 42 Technology
42T is a product design and development consultancy that specialises in creating innovative products for consumer and business markets including medical and healthcare, industrial, packaging and dispense, consumer, food and drink, and energy.

The company’s core team of industry-experienced product designers and engineers works closely with academia, selected associates and partner companies to offer a cost-effective and efficient approach to new product development. 42T is the perfect partner for SMEs, as well as larger international brands, as it offers everything from assistance with technology strategy and management through to new product creation and UK-based or off-shore manufacturing.

42T was founded in 1998 and is based in St Ives, near Cambridge.

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  • Press enquiries or requests for supporting images should be directed to Simon McKay on +44 (0)1353 741075 or email to
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About FIND
FIND is a non-profit organization established in 2003 and is based in Geneva, Switzerland with offices in Uganda and India. Its mission is to develop, evaluate, demonstrate, and accelerate the roll out of new diagnostic tests and platforms for diseases of poverty, including TB, malaria, and human African trypanosomiasis (HAT). Increasingly, FIND’s approach to diagnostics development is targeted at diagnostic platforms that can address diagnostic needs across disease areas, and that can also be used at levels of the health care system closer to where patients first seek care. FIND has active collaborations with over 100 partners, including research institutes/academia, Ministries of Health, bilateral and multilateral organizations such as the WHO, commercial partners, and clinical trial sites.

In addition to its well-known contribution to diagnostic advances for TB (with four diagnostic tools endorsed by WHO into global policy since 2007), and malaria (with the completion of the first-ever product testing program for rapid diagnostic tests), FIND has a significant program targeted at neglected diseases, such as HAT. With continued funding, FIND will accelerate work on diagnostic platforms which also have the potential for application to other neglected diseases such as leishmaniasis and Buruli ulcer; focus on the tools and methodologies which will be needed to increase the sensitivity and accuracy of TB diagnostics; and accelerate the development of mechanisms to strengthen the quality assurance of malaria rapid diagnostic tests.

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