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Focus: Bioastral and what we are about


BioAstral Limited is an independent early stage company associated with the University of Leicester (ULeist). We have brought together biologists and space physicists to develop and exploit very sensitive detector technology for measuring low levels of light from fluorescent tags in biological assays. We were prompted to do this because our founding scientists were frustrated at the limitations in current detector technology, when it comes to quantifying small changes in gene expression measured using microarrays. As a result our initial commercial focus is centred on developing instrumentation for significantly improved imaging and interpretation of microarray-based diagnostics.

  Collaborators DTI project Seeking investment  
  Our current collaborators  

We are collaborating with the European Space Agency to evaluate the use of superconducting tunnelling junction devises (STJs) for biological applications. Not only have we shown that STJs show the very high levels of sensitivity for measuring optical photons as astronomers have previously demonstrated for X-ray photons, but we also retain the ability to distinguish the colour of the photons detected. Through ESA we have access to a pipeline of STJ innovation and development (see link to partners).


  .DTI Funding for R&D Technology Award  

We have been limited to research campaigns carried out at ESTEC near Amsterdam . We raised Friends & Family funding to unlock a maximum value DTI Technology Award to establish a fully functional STJ detector system in Leicester , through a research contract with the Leicester Space Research Centre. This is 2 to 3 orders of magnitude more sensitive than current commercial available detectors and should be able to quantify 5 or 6 colours simultaneously - see our technology page for more details.

BioAstral has negotiated exclusive rights to IP owned by ULeist. A key to commercial development of this instrument has been the availability of a cryogen-free cooler, which allows us user-friendly access to the milli-Kelvin temperatures required to operate STJ detectors successfully. A photograph of the instrument under construction is shown on the BioAstral News page.

Completion of the prototype instrument requires further funding for both physics and biology, allowing us to demonstrate the advantages of our technology to both collaborators and potential customers.


  Seeking investment  

We have been interacting with selected third party investors with a view to securing significant external investment in BioAstral. This is the point at which we envisage establishing a base in a science park environment, to build our team and to assemble and ship our first commercial instruments.