Niklas Norgren UmanDiagnostics

UmanDiagnostics visualizes brain damage using a blood sample

UmanDiagnostics visualizes brain damage using a blood sample

“There is a considerable need for better, faster and easier diagnostics of brain damage and injuries. With this technique, we hope to detect injuries earlier and monitor of the progress of the disease or damage during treatment, says Niklas Norgren, CEO UmanDiagnostics.

UmanDiagnostics has entered a business collaboration with American Quanterix, a company that develop techniques for digitalization of diagnostics (based on biomarker). Together they are developing a test based on UmanDiagnostics unique and specific marker for neuronal damage, NF-light, combined with Quanterix’ sensitive SIMOA technique, able to detect and quantify single molecules in blood and in other body fluids.

Ten million are afflicted every year

Every year approximately ten million people have some kind of traumatic brain injury, often while practicing a sport or the consequence of a traffic accident, and 75 percent of these people have a concussion. The damage is relatively moderate and, if the brain is allowed to heal and recuperate, the patient will recover completely. Repeated concussions can however result in serious and chronic injuries for the patient.

Ice hockey players

”Ice hockey players and military personnel are examples of groups that frequently have concussions. To ensure that their brains have recovered completely, before hitting the ice or the field again, you need reliable tools to measure their status. Using this technique, a simple blood sample will do the job” says Niklas Norgren

An exact representation

When the brain is injured, proteins from the damaged cells leak out and seep into the cerebrospinal fluid. Low concentrations of these proteins also make it to the blood. By detecting and measuring the presence of these proteins it possible to see if the patient has a concussion. The new technique is at the same time easy to use and provides an exact representation of the patient’s physiological status.


A lot of attention

The business collaboration boils down to that UmanDiagnostics will sell neuromarkers to Quanterix, for the development and production of the diagnostics’ product. The possibilities with the brain damage diagnostics method have already received a lot of attention in the States, and Wall Street Journal, CNBC and Al Jazeera have reported about the method.


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UmanDiagnostics, founded in 2006, have based on research at Umeå University developed a specific biomarker for neuronal damage, NF-light. NF-light is currently used to detect neuronal damage in cerebrospinal fluid, which is a relatively complicated and risky sampling procedure. UmanDiagnostics have in a VINNOVA-project together with researchers at Sahlgrenska university hospital developed a method to detect markers of neuronal damage in blood sample
UmanDiagnostics prognosis for 2016 was a turnover on 8 MSEK and a result of 2.5 MSEK. Shareholders are: Torgny Stigbrand 62%, Bo Hammarström 27% and Niklas Norgren 10%.

Text by: Karin Borge-Renberg

Published: 19 January, 2017

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Karin Borge-Renberg

19 January, 2017