Pockit’in a Grant
Pockit Diagnostics was founded in 2017 by a group of Cambridge students and young entrepreneurs focusing on innovation within the diagnostics field. They developed the first blood test to enable faster and more accurate stroke diagnosis to help improve treatment and potentially save lives.
Having published test data in June 2021, they then began developing the test further for use by clinicians and the healthcare profession. This first product development phase was followed by work to make the device portable. The rapid test uses blood biomarkers to help diagnose certain strokes faster by elimating the need to wait for brain scans at a hospital, which was the previous process.
In the UK over 150,000 people each year suffer strokes with a fifth of these being fatal and a further 90% of those who survive being disabled at some level for the rest of their life. Pockit Diagnostics aim to reduce these figures considerably by offering a quick, easy and accurate test to help with diagnosis.
We spoke to Gonzalo Ladreda, CEO of the company, who had previously co-founded a surf/skate lifestyle brand, who is now part of the Accelerate Programme at Cambridge Judge Business School and a Project Director at Innovate UK. He is also on the Forbes 30 under 30 Europe – Science and Healthcare list.
“With my background, I bring a disruptive element to the product development, bringing a different point of view to healthcare, aiming to make it more democratic,” explained Gonzalo.
New product development, particularly where it involves medical research and testing is expensive and the company have so far raised $3.7 million in public and private funding. In December 2022, they started to manufacture their devices and plan to begin trials in real-world patients later this year. Once regulatory approval has been granted, they intend to bring the devices into use, initially in the UK and then across Europe.
“We started from scratch and built-up test data to demonstrate the effectiveness of the device, which takes time, but we are confident in our plans based on the results that we have had so far,” commented Gonzalo.
Part of the funding they have received came from the Growth Works programme which helped cover the cost of patenting the device and introduce Intellectual Property protection. The business growth enabled by the grant has allowed Pockit Diagnostics to recruit two new members of staff – one Laboratory Research Scientist and another to manage the regulatory side of the project.
“Our device will be life changing for many people potentially and so the support from the Growth Works grant is invaluable in helping us to progress through to use with patients. We also hope to save more lives and reduce the number of people living with disabilities after a stroke in the UK, which currently stands at around 65% of stroke survivors,” explained Gonzalo. The work that the team are doing is particularly significant at a time when the NHS is struggling under the pressure of demand. This device has the potential to be used as a frontline tool to speed up diagnosis and enable healthcare professionals to make quick, accurate decisions on treatment, both here in the UK and further afield.