About DRW

Diagnostics for the Real World Ltd (DRW) are the innovators of the SAMBA platform for rapid point-of-care detection of infectious diseases.

Accurate and rapid testing of patient samples

Diagnostics for the Real World (DRW) was established in 2003 as a spin-out from the Diagnostics Development Unit (DDU) at the University of Cambridge and was founded to bridge the gap between the cutting-edge research conducted by the DDU and the patients who could really benefit from it.

Our mission is to serve the large, unmet need in resource-limited settings and provide innovative, high performance, easy to use diagnostics under “real world” conditions to support clinical services for people in real need. DRW technology also meets the rapidly growing needs in the developed world where the advantages of point-of-care testing are spurring its popularity.

The SAMBA I technology was first implemented in Africa through collaborations with international organisations including Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) and UNITAID. The valuable feedback gained from these pilot installations promoted multiple improvements to the instrument platform, ultimately driving the development of SAMBA II.

Committed to diagnostic innovations for the real world

DRW is dedicated to tackling some of the world’s most serious infectious diseases using breakthrough point of care (POC) diagnostics.

Our SAMBA platform offers rapid and reliable testing in real-world settings, enabling effective disease management in the most challenging, remote and resource-limited settings.

Bringing infectious disease testing to the patient – We understand the operational needs and obstacles working at the point of care. The SAMBA platform is one of the simplest and most robust molecular diagnostic systems available, operating across a broad temperature range. With SAMBA there is no need for air conditioning, cold chain transport and storage or highly-trained operators.

The real world’s needs are our drive for inventiveness

Winning the battle against HIV and other infectious diseases is always a matter of how well diagnostics and treatment are adapted to local conditions.

Particularly in low resource settings, the requirements of a prompt, efficient and reliable disease management are challenging.

Since centralized diagnostic machines are cost-intensive and require considerable bench space, air conditioning and trained personnel, professional diagnostic assays are often tied to large city laboratories although most patients live outside the cities.

Accordingly, too few people living with HIV can be accessed and patients could get lost or urgent treatment decisions delayed because of long turnaround times for results. As there are many processes involved between sample collection, transportation, testing and return of the results, the chance of error with centralised testing is increased.

The real world needs decentralized testing at the POC where patients are seen and where prompt clinical intervention and paediatric treatment can be initiated – a system perfectly matching even the most challenging resource-limited conditions.

Rapid and accurate POC molecular testing

Thanks to rapid POC molecular assays accurate testing, prompt prognosis and just-in-time response to ART have become reality.

As such DRW’s technology has been internationally recognized with numerous Technology Awards over the years.

In 2016 the SAMBA platform received the European Patent Office Award for inventiveness applauded by clinicians for being simple to use, accurate, robust, reliable, stable and with performance characteristics similar to those of centralized PCR-based assays.

Consequently, the SAMBA technology has helped hospitals accelerate Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV programmes, where fast results would help reduce transmission of the virus to the unborn baby. It also has helped keep most patients on first line treatment rather than switch them to second line treatment thanks to adequate assessment and enhanced monitoring of drug efficacy. Loss to follow up cases where patients don’t come back for their results have also been reduced.

It will remain a unique aspect of future DRW efforts to serve and service the people in real need by bringing new innovative diagnostics to the world. Assays in development for the SAMBA platform include tests for hepatitis B and C, influenza A and B, as well as a duplex test for chlamydia and gonorrhoea. And more will follow.

In the Lab

In the field