Norwich Research Park firm Intelligent Fingerprinting clinches �2m US investment

A Norwich firm born out of an innovative technique developed at the University of East Anglia has clinched a �2m investment from a consortium of US investors.

Intelligent Fingerprinting has signed the deal with the unnamed investors, which will allow it to bring its first product to market, after launching a prototype fingerprint drug-testing device last year.

The investment will allow the unique product, which detects illegal drugs from the sweat in fingerprints, to be marketed worldwide.

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

'This money is enough, we believe to run the business for the next two years. During that time we have committed to using it to bring the first product to market.'

The company will work with Cambridge-based design consultancy Eg Technology to finish the design of the device.

Dr Walker said: 'We will also be identifying a manufacturing partner. We will be going through that process in the next three months.'

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The company currently employs six staff members and Dr Walker said they would be looking to double that.

He said: 'It looks as though we will be recruiting an extra six staff by the end of 2012 as a result of this new funding. All staff will be employed at NRP Innovation Centre and we are determining our future space require-ments, which, we hope, can also be accommodated within the centre.'

The patented system uses high-definition, high-sensitivity tech-nology to simultaneously detect personal identity and chemical meta-bolites secreted through the skin.

Highly-specific antibodies are used to detect the metabolites of drugs in situ in less than 10 minutes. Heroin, cocaine, crack and cannabis can all be tested, along with other substances such as nicotine.

The technique was developed within UEA's School of Chemistry under the guidance of Intelligent Fingerprinting founder Prof David Russell. Based at the Norwich Research Park, Intelligent Fingerprinting Ltd was founded at the UEA in 2009. There has already been worldwide interest in its technology for a range of applications, from testing employees are 'fit for duty', to screening drivers at the roadside for drug use.

Although the funding did not come directly from a business angel event, Intelligent Fingerprinting did attend an NRP event last year and Dr Walker said it was a good for promoting the company and its objectives.

John Irving, of the Norwich Research Park, says that since the first Venta meeting last autumn there has been an increase in expressions of interest from early stage science-based companies and encourages entrepreneurs and scientists with a business idea to get in touch.

If you are interested in participating in Venta either as a potential investor with an interest in science-based technologies, as an entrepreneur, or as an exhibitor then contact John Irving or via the website