SACCADE Diagnostics is a pre-spin out stage commercial opportunity of an assistive tool to inform the diagnostic process for schizophrenia and related disorders. The test is being developed by Dr Philip Benson (currently a SE/RSE Enterprise Fellow) and Professor David St Clair MD FRSE at the University of Aberdeen.
Why do we need new technologies in psychiatry?
The global economic burden of mental ill health is a staggering $2.5T, growing to an estimated $6T by 2030. 5% of adults worldwide suffer from the most serious forms of psychiatric disorders. Thousands of tests are available for medicine and psychology, but none are relevant in psychiatry. Brain scans, serology and DNA techniques have failed to produce biomarkers suitable for diagnosing individual patients. To objectively validate current diagnostic practice, a new innovation in psychiatry is required.
SACCADE Diagnostics has developed SaccScan, a simple eye-movement test which can recognize abnormalities unique to specific mental illnesses. Currently, when patients’ symptoms and behaviour don’t meet diagnostic criteria, it may take as long as 10 years to diagnose the illness. SaccScan can be completed and results made available in around 30 minutes. It can, 95% of the time or better, distinguish between patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression. At this present time, no other instrument can offer this level of accuracy.
What will be the key benefits of SaccScan?
The patent-pending test is non-invasive, cheap and easy to administer. Non-specialists will be able to use it after minimal training. The test will assist routine, early, point-of-care diagnosis and clinical management of patients, and reduce the burden of disease on the individual, the healthcare system and the wider economy.
Introducing the SACCADE Diagnostics team
The academic founders Dr Philip Benson and Professor David St Clair have 40 years’ combined experience in biomarker research for psychiatry. They are joined by commercial champion and acting CEO Mr Madhu Nair who has experience in developing early stage software and life science opportunities in the UK and USA.
When will SaccScan become available in healthcare?
The test will require the approval of regulatory authorities before it can be made available for use by medical and healthcare professionals. Through 2013 and 2014 the team will be working through clinical trials and the approvals process. The trials will continue to expand the reference database which lies behind the test and will enable the new company to roll out the service for medical researchers, psychiatry, neurology and general practice sometime in 2015-2016.
We are keen to hear from parties interested in discussing opportunities for investment, collaboration and commercial partnership. If you would like to find out more about the opportunity please contact us.
The SACCADE team gratefully acknowledge the business development support received from the RSE Enterprise Fellowship scheme; the Converge Challenge programme; the Executive Designate Director fund; the Design Council Design Leadership programme and the University of Aberdeen.