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Optimer-enabled wastewater monitoring system installed in UK networks


Aptamer Group plc (AIM: APTA), the developer of novel Optimer® binders to enable innovation in the life sciences industry, notes the announcement today by DeepVerge plc (AIM:DVRG) that Optimer-enabled Microtox®PD systems for the detection of pathogens in wastewater have been installed at six sites across the UK as part of the Environmental Monitoring for Health Protection (EMHP) programme, with further installations expected in the UK over the next few months as part of the programme.

MicrotoxPD from DeepVerge offers real-time detection and monitoring of pathogens in wastewater and drinking water. This system relies on specific Optimer binders to pathogen targets of interest, coated on sensing chips within the units, to detect and monitor SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater. The SARS-CoV-2 Optimer binders were developed using the Company’s proprietary discovery and development platform, with scalable manufacture to support the increased demand for sensors as more MicrotoxPD systems are deployed. Aptamer Group was selected as the preferred affinity ligand supplier for MicrotoxPD following performance evaluation of the SARS-CoV-2 Optimers in parallel with ligands from different suppliers.

An agreed extension of this partnership will see further Optimer binders developed for Influenza A, Influenza B, Polio and Pepper Mild Mottle Virus in wastewater and E.coli in drinking water to further expand the detection capabilities of the MicrotoxPD system.

The EMHP programme for wastewater monitoring is led by the Joint Biosecurity Centre (which forms part of NHS Test & Trace), DEFRA, academics and water companies. Data received from the MircotoxPD units under the programme will allow public health bodies to offer targeted containment in response to developing disease outbreaks, and identification of the SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, each of which Aptamer’s SARS-CoV-2 binder is able to detect.

“We are really pleased to see the deployment of multiple Optimer-enabled MicrotoxPD units under the Environmental Monitoring for Health Protection programme. This will allow remote, real-time monitoring of water pathogens, particularly SARS-CoV-2, for the country to prepare for the next winter period. This Optimer-based detection offers increased national and international water safety through routine installations and monitoring, and we look forward to supporting our partners at DeepVerge through the supply of highly specific Optimer binders that enable specific and sensitive pathogen detection on their platform.”

Arron Tolley, Chief Executive Officer of Aptamer Group


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