The €465k grant is to fund the project over 18 months to research genetic and skin microbiome inputs, during disease progression, that may lead to helping to identify patients in the future.
Sequential Skin Ltd, a London-based skin genomics start-up, will use their novel testing kits launched earlier this year.
“We see a future where patients with recurrent and debilitating skin conditions are diagnosed in a highly precise way, at the point of care, which can then be followed by effective and targeted treatment,” explains Oliver Worsley, CEO, and co-founder.
The initiative intends to focus on Atopic dermatitis (AD), a multifactorial chronic and recurrent inflammatory skin disease that affects 20% of children and 10% of adults.
Roughly 29% are moderate to severe cases, with healthcare and socio-economic costs of €841m (£723m) per year.
Sequential has already commercialised its skin microbiome testing kit that involves a series of assays that provide microbiome quantification allowing for higher resolution of key species and strain-level.
Sequencing of the micro-organisms found on the body, before and after product usage, is then used to delve further into the microbial diversity particularly the micro-organisms known to play a role in a healthy microbiome.
The London-based firm then awards an in vivo certification recognising the product’s role in maintaining the microbiome.
The firm adds that the service is not exclusive to skincare, having carried out the tests for haircare products, oral products, intimate areas and physical surface management.
“Being backed by Innovate UK, not only extends our research further into understanding skin conditions like AD – but validates our next generation testing platform and the data we've compiled so far", adds Albert Dashi, CSO, and co-founder.
Dr Natalya Fox, a Dermatology Registrar at St George's Hospital says, “Sequential will work alongside dermatologists in the Nantional Health Service (NHS) to recruit patients and benefit from clinicians experienced in AD.
"As a dermatologist, Sequential's technology will be highly disruptive in changing the way AD patients could be diagnosed and better treated in the future. I'm proud to be involved with the Sequential team in this project."
Innovate UK, the country’s national innovation agency, is involved in several food and nutrition-led initiatives that aim to support businesses develop and commercialise new products, processes, and services.
These include efforts to highlight alternative protein demand, the sector’s challenges and encouraging industry collaboration to promote the scale up of alternative protein production.
Earlier this year, funding was available to better understand the direct relationship between nutrition, immune function and infectious diseases relating to diet-related metabolic disorders.
The grant could also explore how interventions based on diet or food ingredients impact any mechanisms or immune function.