Crescent secures funding for toenail osteoporosis test

University of Limerick spin-out company Crescent Diagnostics has secured €1.5m (£1.35m) in funding to support the development of an analyser that can test for osteoporosis.

Crescent’s analyser was developed at the Materials and Surface Science Institute (MSSI) of the University of Limerick. It uses Raman spectroscopy to examine the chemical bonds in a small nail clipping from the toe, enabling physicians to diagnose the risk of osteoporosis-related fracture both quickly and easily.

Crescent’s research has shown that the structure and quantity of the chemical bonds in the human toenail is indicative of future hip fracture risk and is independent of bone mineral density (BMD).

When the development of the analyser is complete, a physician will be able to send a nail clipping to a laboratory for analysis, with results made available to the patient within a matter of days.

According to the company, the analyser offers a less expensive and time-consuming alternative to the current gold-standard screening method, Dual X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA).

The €1.5m funding round was a syndicated deal between AIB Seed Capital Fund, co-managed by Enterprise Equity Venture Capital; Bank of Ireland Seed Fund, managed by Kernel Capital; and existing venture investor, Seroba BioVentures. The funds will be used to run additional clinical trials and to advance BQT to regulatory approval in both the US and EU.