Biotech company creates Newcastle jobs

One of the most promising biotech companies to emerge from the UK, which recently relocated to Newcastle to take advantage of the city’s world-class scientific and medical talent and facilities, is now launching its first recruitment drive in the region.

QuantuMDx Group – which is developing the world’s first handheld, clinical DNA diagnostic and sequencing device – has begun recruiting for a range of scientific positions to further develop its groundbreaking technologies.  Nine scientists are being sought, including six PhD level candidates, with expertise in molecular biology, chemistry and engineering. The company has also agreed to sponsor a number of PhD and MSc posts jointly with Newcastle University.

The focus of work for the new recruits will be to help develop and commercialise the company’s first product called Q-POC™ (QuantuMDx point of care), a very low cost handheld diagnostic device much like a smartphone or an iphone. Invented by QuantuMDx’s chief scientific officer Jonathan O’Halloran, it will accurately diagnose complex diseases and the correct drug to prescribe, in under 20 minutes at the patient’s side, using just a tiny sample - like a pinprick of blood or a few drops of sputum or urine. 

The company aims to get its technology into the hands of doctors, nurses and pharmacists to enable patients to receive diagnosis and treatment for their illnesses within a single visit to their health professional, without the anxiety of waiting days, weeks or even months for test results.

The first tests will focus on some of the major humanitarian health challenges including rapid diagnosis of drug resistant TB, malaria and sexually transmitted infections.  QuantuMDx’s aim is to bring the device to market in 2013/14, initially in developing countries but soon after in the UK via the NHS for cancer, heart and infectious disease testing. The scientists will also be charged with exploring other disease areas, not only in medicine, but also in the fields of military, veterinary and environmental applications.

Elaine Warburton, CEO, QuantuMDx said: “This is an incredibly exciting time in the development of the company as we’ve recent won a number of awards and major UK and European grants for our innovative technology.  However, it was the international reputation of Newcastle University’s Biomedicine faculty that initially attracted us to the city, particularly the Institute of Genetics’ work in genotyping and gene sequencing led by Professor Sir John Burn, who is now our Medical Director. We’re absolutely delighted to be in a position to commence recruiting from the pool of top class scientific talent within the area.”

QuantuMDx Group moved from London to set up its new headquarters at the Centre for Life science village in August last year, consolidating its operations from across the UK and South Africa.

Simon Green, head of business support at Newcastle Science City, said: “It is testament to Newcastle’s scientific strength that a young and vibrant company such as QuantuMDx chooses the city for its UK base.

“It’s thrilling to think that our next generation of doctors, health professionals, scientists, vets, military and police around the globe could be using handheld devices containing the low cost but highly accurate diagnostic and sequencing bio-chips of a Newcastle company.”

For information on QuantuMDx’s new positions visit www.quantumdx.com

Newcastle Science City is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government, securing £2.3million of ERDF investment. The ERDF Competitiveness Programme 2007-2013 is bringing over £300m into the North East to support innovation, enterprise and business support across the region.