The developer of a new life-saving platform that can detect early signs of bacterial sepsis has been revealed as the first company to secure funding from LYVA Labs, the Liverpool City Region’s innovation fund.

Frequasense Ltd has secured £175,000 to develop technology that rapidly detects sepsis – an infection that affects 245,000 people and is responsible for at least 48,000 deaths in the UK every year.

Once fully developed, Frequasense Ltd’s platform, which involves a quick finger prick test, will be used by hospitals, GP surgeries nursing homes and paramedics.

Sonja Jonas, CEO at Frequasense Ltd, said: “We have worked tirelessly to develop our platform, which will save the lives of so many who will go on to be diagnosed with sepsis. This investment from LYVA Labs will provide us with the funding and support we need to accelerate our offering to its final stage of development. 

“We have built a fantastic relationship with the LYVA Labs team and look forward to re-locating into the city region and receiving the support we need to secure the future of this life-saving platform.”

LYVA Labs was created with a £10.5m investment from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority announced by Mayor Steve Rotheram in August 2021. Frequasense Ltd’s product is the first investment the programme has made since its successful launch of the LCR Ventures Challenge Fund earlier this year.

It is a key vehicle for achieving Mayor Rotheram’s ambition to invest 5% of regional GVA on Research and Development (R&D) by 2030 – nearly double the government’s UK target.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “For centuries, the Liverpool City Region has been the birthplace of some of the greatest scientific discoveries that have changed the world we live in – and our understanding of it.

“I want to make sure that we continue that legacy and we’re very lucky to be building on enviable foundations. Our region is home to thriving ecosystem of world leaders in everything from infection control to AI – with world-class clusters of innovation on our doorstep, like the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and our Pandemic Institute.

“We launched LCR Ventures with £10.5mbecause we want to tap into the latent potential of companies with the ambition, and capability, to deliver transformational innovation. It’s a big part of my wider ambition for the Liverpool City Region – I want to stake our claim as the UK’s innovation powerhouse – and we’ll only get there by investing in the bright minds and big ideas that, potentially, could see our region change the world once again.”

Lorna Green, CEO of LYVA Labs, added: “We are extremely proud to be working with Frequasense Ltd as our first investment company. The product Frequasense will make a huge difference to the early diagnosis and treatment of sepsis, something that could save the NHS an average of £57 million pounds a year and drastically reduce hospital stays for patients who have been diagnosed.”

Steve Stuart, Chairman of LYVA Labs said: “Our goal at LYVA Labs is to build on the assets of Liverpool City Region’s health and life sciences sector and Frequasense Ltd is a fantastic first addition to our growing portfolio of innovative technologies across the region.”

The deal comes as part of Liverpool Combined Authority’s plan to invest more than double its national target on research and development by 2030. A plan that is linked to £3 billion of innovation projects across the region. 

Expert advice was provided by the Innovation Agency, which helps the NHS to adopt innovations. Andrew Cooper, Clinical Director for the Innovation Agency said: “The Frequasense platform will provide a quick, simple test that accurately identifies bacterial sepsis as the cause of acute illness, several hours sooner than the current methods of identification, which will significantly reduce current patient mortality rates. We look forward to supporting Frequasense Ltd to bring their product to market once development is completed.”

LYVA Labs’s investment will enable Frequasense Ltd to secure a £300,000 Innovate UK SMART grant to finalise the development and testing of its product in a clinical environment, with support from Liverpool University Hospital Foundation Trust (LUHFT) and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.