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Mercia and Finance Durham invest in sensor technology that can scan skin to detect the presence and quantity of alcohol and drugs in a person’s bloodstream

A £600,000 investment has been made in MedTech specialist Applied Monitoring Ltd (“Applied Monitoring”) has been made. This was co-led by The Finance Durham Fund, managed by Maven Capital Partners (“Maven”) established by Durham County Council and overseen by Business Durham, and The North East Venture Fund, managed by Mercia Asset Management (“Mercia”) and supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

Applied Monitoring has developed an advanced innovative sensor system that identifies the presence and concentration of alcohol, cocaine and cannabis in a person’s bloodstream by scanning their skin. The funding announced today will enable the business to embark on a programme of growth to commercialise its product. The transaction also includes a £100,000 investment from the Centre of Processing Innovation to support further research and development of its technology.

Based at the North East Technology Park (NETPark) in Sedgefield, County Durham, Applied Monitoring has developed sensor technology that can scan skin to detect the presence and quantity of alcohol and drugs in a person’s blood without the need for taking bodily fluid samples or swabbing. The device generates electromagnetic waves at a range of different frequencies that pass through the skin and interacts with chemicals in the blood that are reflected back, analysed and recorded.  This technology and application method is non-invasive, quicker and cheaper than onsite workplace screening tests currently in use.  The business is in the process of developing final form desk-based arm scanning equipment, using readily available electronic components similar to those used in mobile phones.

Current onsite test kit technology for drug testing requires bodily fluid samples to be collected and either sent to a lab for subsequent testing or use dipstick test strips that confirm if drugs are present but do not confirm the amount of substance in the person’s blood stream. Applied Monitoring’s sensor technology software can analyse chemicals in the blood in a matter of seconds, to confirm if a specific chemical is in a person’s blood and if so, at what levels.

The global alcohol and drug testing market is projected to be $10.0bn by 2025, the UK alcohol and drug testing market alone was estimated to be worth £250m in 2020 and the global on-site testing market is expected to grow from $485m in 2020 to $950m in 2025.

Led by a highly experienced management team, CEO Jon Dixon, has over 25 years’ experience in sales, product and business development and prior to joining Applied Monitoring was a divisional leader at Sainsbury’s and Argos. He is supported by a commercial CTO, Rob Connell who has over 30 years’ experience designing, developing, and implementing numerous IT applications including the UK health sector and previously developed and launched a medical records platform currently used in hospitals.

Michael Dickens, Investment Manager at Maven, said: “Applied Monitoring has developed remarkable technology to enable qualitative and quantitative onsite workplace test results in seconds. Jon and his team all have significant experience developing and launching new software products and operating large sales teams as well as diagnostic sector knowledge. We’re delighted the Fund can support the business as it embarks on its exciting next phase of development.”

Jon Dixon, CEO of Applied Monitoring, said: “We are confident that Applied Monitoring has truly innovative and transformational technology offering the business strong competitive advantage versus the current market offerings. As a validation of our technology and business plan it is wonderful to have Maven and Mercia on-board and it has been a pleasure working with Michael Dickens and Thea Tebble of Mercia over the past few months. The financial support provided by Maven and Mercia, alongside the guidance of our highly experienced advisory Executive team ensures the business is best placed for an exciting future.

Thea Tebble, Investment Associate at Mercia, said: “Mercia are delighted to support Applied Monitoring in the continued development of their market disrupting technology, which will significantly increase the speed and ease of alcohol and drugs of abuse testing. Mercia look forward to collaborating with Jon and Rob on the exciting growth journey that lies ahead.”

Cllr James Rowlandson, Portfolio holder for resources, investment and assets at Durham County Council, said: “Applied Monitoring are an excellent example of the innovative companies at NETPark, its fantastic to be able to provide finance through Finance Durham to enable the company to solve real world problems with novel applications of technology.

“Last year we announced plans to expand NETPark, we will be investing circa £50m to finance the expansion providing new laboratory, office, production and storage space to help companies, like Applied Monitoring, grow at NETPark, creating more and better jobs in County Durham.”

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