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Q&A: Charlotte Bermingham, CTO at Vitamica

July 31st 2019

Medical diagnostics company Vitamica joined the Future Space community back in May, using our laboratories to continue its revolutionary testing.

Now the company has been with us for a couple of months, we had a chat with Charlotte to find out a little more about Vitamica’s work and how the team is finding its new home at the innovation centre.

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Please tell us about Vitamica

Vitamica was founded at the beginning of 2018 and is a spin-out from the University of Bristol. We’re developing a novel diagnostic technology to test pathogenic bacteria for susceptibility to antibiotics within just one hour.

The company is working to address the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among infectious bacteria with rapid antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) technology, aiming to transform the way clinicians make decisions on antibiotic prescription.

Vitamica’s rapid AST is based on Sub-Cellular Fluctuation Imaging (SCFI), an imaging technique developed at the University of Bristol through research led by Dr Massimo Antognozzi. SCFI can detect the effect of antibiotics on individual bacteria and indicate in a matter of seconds whether the cells are still alive.

I’m Vitamica’s chief technology officer and I was involved in the research carried out at the university. There are three of us in the company including our microbiologist who recently joined the team.

 

Why did you choose Future Space as Vitamica’s base?

The shared laboratories at the hub met the company’s needs perfectly – they are well equipped and we could start work on our testing and research without any delay.

Being based here alongside other companies also gives us the opportunity to get Vitamica known and recognised in the Bristol life sciences sector and to develop our commercial identity. We all agree that the company seems to be much more of an independent entity since moving here!

It’s also fantastic to be in such close proximity to the Health Tech Hub, co-located within the University Enterprise Zone (UEZ) at UWE Bristol, and we’re looking forward to opportunities to collaborate.

 

How has the company been settling in?

Very well! Future Space boasts a very tight-knit community and the staff are all so knowledgeable, friendly and supportive – Parm, the assistant centre manager, and Tiffany, the lab technician, have both been so helpful since we moved in.

We’re looking forward to taking advantage of the additional services provided by the hub too which are so helpful for early-stage companies like Vitamica, such as business support covering legal, accounting and investment advice, and much more!

 

What’s in the pipeline for Vitamica?

As we’re developing a medical device, we’re continuing our testing to prove that it works in the specific setting, our focus being on urine samples in primary care.

We’re working hard to get involved in the life sciences community in Bristol to get Vitamica known and to engage with other companies working in the sector.

In June, we were recognised with the award for Best Elevator Pitch at SETsquared Bristol’s Tech-Xpo after I pitched Vitamica in 60 seconds to an audience of investors, academics and business leaders. We’re going to continue getting involved with great events like this!

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