The team behind the MacRobert Award-winning ReCIVA Breath Sampler, Owlstone Medical, will share their incredible success story at the Royal Academy of Engineering on Wednesday 7 November, revealing how the technology has opened up the possibility of earlier diagnosis and precision medicine across a number of diseases, including cancer.

In conversation with Sabah Meddings, Business Reporter at The Sunday Times, Owlstone Medical co-founder and CEO Billy Boyle, co-founder and COO David Ruiz-Alonso and Chief Scientific Officer Max Allsworth will explain how the ReCIVA could help to revolutionise healthcare by making non-invasive breath tests a reality.

The team received the £50,000 MacRobert Award for 2018 for creating the first system capable of capturing and analysing breath samples in a robust and reproducible way. The samples can be used to identify unique chemical ‘biomarkers’ in human breath for a variety of diseases. As biomarker levels change at the very earliest stages of disease, the breath samples could lead to earlier diagnosis of serious diseases when treatments are more effective and more lives can be saved.

Since being presented with the MacRobert Award in June, Cambridge-based Owlstone Medical have completed a $50 million USD funding round led by Horizons Ventures, the venture capital fund founded by Sir Li Ka-shing. During this week’s ‘in conversation’ the team will discuss the global commercial opportunities unlocked by this investment and what’s next for the fast-growing company.

Dr Dame Sue Ion DBE FREng FRS, Chair of the MacRobert Award judging panel, said: "Owlstone Medical stood out to us because of the extraordinary engineering its breath sampler, and the associated breath biopsy platform, required to bring these technologies to life. The company has demonstrated exceptional innovation at every stage of development; from the mask used to help capture breath, the tubes that help collect the samples, to the software and hardware designed to ensure the tests are reliable and repeatable.”

The MacRobert Award, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year, is the UK's longest-running and most prestigious national prize for engineering innovation, worth £50,000 to the winner. The presentation of the Award recognises outstanding innovation, tangible societal benefit and proven commercial success. Originally founded by the MacRobert Trust, the Award is now presented and run by the Royal Academy of Engineering, with support from the Worshipful Company of Engineers.

Notes for Editors

  1. In conversation with the 2018 MacRobert Award winner: Owlstone Medical will be held on Wednesday 7 November 2018, 6:30pm-8:30pm at Prince Philip House, 3 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5DG. The event is free to attend but registration is essential. To register, please visit the Royal Academy of Engineering website.

  2. First presented in 1969, the MacRobert Award is widely regarded as the most coveted in the industry. Founded by the MacRobert Trust, the award is presented and run by the Royal Academy of Engineering, with support from the Worshipful Company of Engineers.

    The 2019 MacRobert Award is now open for applications until 31 January 2019.

    More information: The MacRobert Award

  3. Royal Academy of Engineering

    As the UK’s national academy for engineering and technology, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers from academia and business – our Fellows – to advance and promote excellence in engineering for the benefit of society.

We harness their experience and expertise to provide independent advice to government, to deliver programmes that help exceptional engineering researchers and innovators realise their potential, to engage the public with engineering and to provide leadership for the profession. 

We have three strategic priorities:

  • Make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation and businesses
  • Address the engineering skills and diversity challenge
  • Position engineering at the heart of society

We bring together engineers, policy makers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, academics, educators and the public in pursuit of these goals.

Engineering is a global profession, so we work with partners across the world to advance engineering’s contribution to society on an international, as well as a national scale.

For more information

Siobhan Pipa at the Royal Academy of Engineering

T: 020 7766 0745

E:   Siobhan Pipa