Funding boost for Norwich-based Intelligent Fingerprinting

Dr Jerry Walker chief executive of Intelligent Fingerprinting

Dr Jerry Walker chief executive of Intelligent Fingerprinting - Credit: Archant

Norwich-based Future 50 company Intelligent Fingerprinting has secured a slice of a one million euro grant to support research into drug dependency.

The firm – which is pioneering drug-screening technology – will take a 300,000 euro share as part of an Anglo-Finnish research study aimed at improving drug rehabilitation treatment for opioid- dependent patients.

The two-year project is part of a joint venture between Intelligent Fingerprinting, addiction medicine experts at the University of Eastern Finland and Addoz Oy, a Finnish healthcare technology company.

The announcement is the latest stage in the development of the firm's handheld fingerprint drug-testing device, which analyses the chemicals found in human sweat for traces of illegal narcotics.

Dr Jerry Walker, chief executive of the firm, said: 'Our aim is to prove that Intelligent Fingerprinting's unique drug screening technique could successfully replace existing drug screens for patients undergoing opioid substitution treatment, bringing with it significant cost and efficiency benefits.

'Our technology confirms a patient's identity and reveals recent drug-use history simply by analysing the sweat from their fingertip, providing results in minutes.'

The project's clinical validation study will take place at the Addiction Psychiatry Unit at Kuopio University Hospital in Finland, led by Dr Ulrich Tacke, Professor of Addiction Medicine.

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Prof Tacke said: 'OST treatment is widely used and generally successful in improving the health of opioid-dependent patients and in reducing crime and social issues associated with drug addiction.

'However, to be effective treatment must be closely monitored to ensure patients are taking their prescribed medication and avoiding illicit substances.'

Opioid substitution treatment involves the prescription of a regular dosage of opioid substitution medicine, to patients with opioid dependence, such as heroin addiction.