OJ-Bio has secured grants from the UK government's Biomedical Catalyst to further develop its hand-held flu diagnosis device.

The device, which is developed under the company’s £1m ($1.5m) project, features bio-sensor materials with advanced electronics and is equipped at the patient’s bed side for the detection of flu and other respiratory conditions.

OJ-Bio, a joint venture between Orla Protein Technologies and the Japan Radio company, will use the funds to develop lab-based prototypes into the existing pilot device capable of carrying out large scale clinical trials.

OJ-Bio chief executive Dale Athey said the award will enable the company to accelerate the development of its flu detection device, which it believe has significant market potential.

"Our new device provides a low cost test that dramatically improves the speed of diagnosis and treatment that should hit the disease at source and limit its ability to spread," Athey added.

Previously, OJ-Bio worked in collaboration with the UK’s Health Protection Agency to develop and test the new biosensor device.

The test demonstrated the device’s ability in detecting three potent respiratory viruses including Influenza A and B viruses, common flu strains previously linked to some major epidemics, and Respiratory Synctyial Virus, a major cause of coughs and chest infections.