Sparc Technologies (ASX: SPN) has launched a graphene bio-medical sensor division to establish non-invasive disease sensing devices for humans and animals.
Ben Yerbury has joined Sparc and will head up the division with support from the company’s cornerstone shareholder and strategic partner University of Adelaide.
Mr Yerbury has more than 20 years’ experience in the international medical device sector and has worked with a number of Fortune 500 companies.
He will lead a project focusing on developing graphene-based sensing devices that will be able to detect volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in exhaled breath.
According to Sparc, VOCs can be indicators of disease.
The company’s strategy with the devices is to integrate them with existing diagnostic tools or other portable electronic devices such as smart phones to result in real time and portable disease detection.
Sparc executive chairman Stephen Hunt said Mr Yerbury’s critical experience will guide Sparc in developing the non-invasive disease detection device.
“Mr Yerbury joins us at a great time, and he will work closes with University of Adelaide, which has already undertaken significant background research in medical bio-sensors for many VOCs,” Mr Hunt added.
‘Profound’ global implications
Graphene’s uniquely large surface area and physiochemical properties means it can detect VOCs in minute quantities.
Sparc and the University of Adelaide will research various graphene-based sensing materials to detect specific VOCs.
If this proves successful, then lab-scale sensing devices will be developed and further evaluated in recognition of the selected VOCs.
Once completed to satisfaction, Sparc will have “important technology” to commercialise in global medical markets.
Sparc claims the device could have “profound” global consequences in the early detection and management of disease – especially transmissible acquired diseases such as those cause by viruses, bacteria and fungi.
It is believed the device would also enable detection of congenital or neoplastic diseases including cancer.