• Prestigious Award for Breath Biopsy Platform
    HRH The Princess Royal presents the MacRobert Award to Owlstone Medicals’ Billy Boyle, Co-founder & CEO; David Ruiz-Alonso, Co-founder & COO; Max Allsworth, Chief Scientific Officer; Alastair Taylor, VP of Engineering; Matthew Hart, VP of Research and Development. (Pic Credit: Royal Academy of Engineering)

News & Views

Prestigious Award for Breath Biopsy Platform

Aug 18 2018

The Royal Academy of Engineering has named Owlstone Medical as this year’s winner of the MacRobert Award, the UK’s longest running and most prestigious award for engineering innovation. The accolade was presented to the team behind the diagnostics company’s Breath Biopsy® platform, which, including the ReCIVA Breath Sampler, has opened up the potential for earlier diagnosis and precision medicine across cancer, inflammatory disease and infectious disease.

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal presented the team of engineers from the Cambridge-based company with the MacRobert Award gold medal and a £50,000 prize at the Academy’s Awards Dinner held at the Tower of London.

Currently in use in more than 100 clinics worldwide the platform captures breath samples and analyses them in a robust and reproducible way. The technology will enable Owlstone Medical to build a robust, comparable Breath Biopsy Digital Biobank including thousands of breath VOC profiles matched to phenotype, overcoming many of the historical challenges associated with the identification of VOCs and how these are associated with specific diseases.

Dr Dame Sue Ion DBE FREng FRS, Chair of the MacRobert Award judging panel, said:

“Owlstone Medical has now created a device that is dependable and non-intrusive and has the potential to revolutionise the way we diagnose and treat a vast array of diseases. The societal benefit is clear to see and I believe they could realise their vision of saving more than a billion dollars in global healthcare costs and saving hundreds of thousands of lives.”

Company Co-founder and CEO Billy Boyle added: It’s a huge honour to have won the MacRobert Award and for the whole company to be recognised for their hard work over the last three years in developing the Breath Biopsy platform and establishing breath diagnostics as a new industry category. We know that in cancer, early detection is our greatest opportunity to save lives - our company mission is to save 100,000 lives and we won't stop until we achieve this.”


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