Owlstone Medical launches breath testing for digestive health


The developments will be carried out in collaboration with Functional Gut Diagnostics and Functional Gut Clinic

Owlstone Medical has announced agreements with Functional Gut Clinic (FGC) and Functional Gut Diagnostics (FGD). The partnership aims, by combining OML’s experience in breath-based testing with FGC and FGD’s in digestive health, to strengthen the provision of at-home breath testing through a UK lab services agreement and accelerate development of future breath tests in digestive health.

Hydrogen and methane are well established breath-based biomarkers in small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and food intolerance. This process works similarly to how Owlstone Medical’s EVOC probes are being deployed in areas such as liver disease, using an external substrate to induce a clear and biologically relevant measurement on breath.

The agreement between OML and FGD will support FGD’s at-home SIBO and food intolerance offering in the UK, helping to scale operations through the management of laboratory testing and sample kit manufacturing at OML’s UK headquarters. It will also provide commercial support to raise awareness of the conditions to drive testing volumes.

The companies are further agreeing to expand the menu of available breath-based tests in the area. The partnership aims to discover, validate and commercialise novel tests by linking volatile organic compounds (VOCs) detectable in breath samples to digestive health disorders, with a first study initiated on gut dysbiosis. Tests developed will be made available to clinical customers in the UK through FGD, while Commonwealth Diagnostics International, one half of the FGD joint venture, is expected to make tests available in the United States.

Anthony Hobson, Director of FGD and FGC, said: “We know that most currently available diagnostic testing for digestive health isn’t good enough. For too long, patients have been living with unresolved gut health problems and losing control of their lives. This is why we combine the very latest diagnostic technology with a team of dedicated specialists to offer a trusted, proven and reliable service to swiftly identify the problem.

“Our partnership with OML will enable us to expand on this idea through the efficient scaling of hydrogen/methane breath testing, and by building an exciting new suite of tests to support the millions of patients who suffer and struggle to control their symptoms in a new and highly impactful way.”

Billy Boyle, co-founder and CEO at Owlstone Medical, said: “At Owlstone Medical, our mission is to have a substantial impact on the lives of patients by deploying breath testing into high need clinical areas. We are therefore interested in adding established biomarkers to our portfolio, and the measurement of hydrogen and methane following ingestion of a substrate, similarly to how our EVOC probes operate, represents a very attractive opportunity to do so.

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“Further, the deep digestive health experience, access to patients, and specialized clinical support made available through our collaboration with FGC and FGD, alongside our full breath biomarker discovery capability, provides a very real opportunity to develop an exciting pipeline of breath tests to enable patients to take better control over their gut health.”