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13 March, 2012 - 22:58 By Jamie Quested

£2m US funding for Intelligent Fingerprinting

Dr Jerry Walker

Intelligent Fingerprinting Ltd in Norwich has raised £2 million funding from a consortium of private US-based investors.

The funding will allow the University of East Anglia spin-out to market its fingerprint drug-testing device worldwide.

Intelligent Fingerprinting has developed a unique technology for the simultaneous detection of personal identity and contact with illicit substances from the sweat in fingerprints. Highly specific antibodies are used to detect the metabolites of drugs in situ in less than 10 minutes. Heroin, cocaine and cannabis use can be detected, along with other substances such as nicotine.

The innovative technique was developed within UEA’s School of Chemistry under the guidance of Intelligent Fingerprinting founder, Professor David Russell. Initial funding came from the Iceni Seedcorn fund and Porton Capital, which enabled a working prototype to be launched in November and demonstrated to potential customers and investors.

Commenting on the recent investment, Prof. Russell said: “This investment comes at a crucial time for the Company as our groundbreaking technology enters the next commercial phase. This is particularly important given the response by potential customers to our technology.”

Intelligent Fingerprinting chief executive Dr Jerry Walker added: “We have been overwhelmed by the market response to our innovative technology. This investment will enable us to accelerate its introduction.”

Based at the Norwich Research Park, Intelligent Fingerprinting Ltd was founded at the University of East Anglia in 2009. There has already been worldwide interest in its technology for a wide range of applications - from testing employees are ‘fit for duty’, to screening drivers at the roadside for drug use.

The hand-held device uses disposable cartridges. Samples are quick and easy to collect, require no specialist handling or biohazard precautions, have in-built chain of evidence continuity, and are almost impossible to cheat.

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Dr Jerry Walker

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