The problem to be solved

Early and accurate detection of the presence of a disease in an individual is key to  improving outcomes for patients and value for healthcare providers. Breath analysis is one of the technologies emerging from the realms of Big Data and computing advances that holds promise to make early detection of disease a reality. Early identification of metabolic disease processes would be a game changer for more effective treatment and management of infectious diseases, cancers and chronic lifestyles diseases, to name just a few conditions.

A role for Volatile Organic Compounds 

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in exhaled breath contain large amounts of chemical information that reflect the biological mechanisms and metabolic processes at play within an individual at any given point in time. When analysed into metabolic profiles, this information can be used as a biomarker to detect the presence of disease condition.  

Until recently, sufficiently sensitive analytical technology and computing power has not been available to be able to detect, quantify and extract patterns that can be associated with specified disease states from very low concentrations of compound. Imspex Medical’s GC-IMS technology addresses this gap. 

Our GC-IMS technology

Our technology combines the analytical chemistry strengths of gas chromatography (GC) and Ion Mobility Spectrometry (IMS) with Big Data multivariate data analysis power. Analytical chemistry results are analysed with proprietary integrated software to identify digital compound signatures and to link these to given target disease indications. 

Detection using this ultrasensitive method yields rapid and accurate results, even with low compound concentrations. It is robust and can be used in both centralised laboratories and for decentralised testing. This makes it equally applicable for use in environments ranging from laboratories through to community healthcare and mass screening situations.

Image courtesy of G.A.S. mbH

Technical characteristics of GC-IMS

Ultrahigh sensitivity Detection Limits in the low ppb (μg/m3) range for VOCs with heteroatoms like ketones, aldehydes, alcohols, amines, or halogenated compounds
High selectivity 

Specific analyte ion drift times

2-Dimensional separation 

Full orthogonality

Flexibility Capability to generate both positive and negative ions
Low Pressure Ionisation Use of Atmospheric Pressure Ionisation (API)
GC parameters High GC sampling frequency
Regulatory conformity with respect to 3H

No license for 3H source required according to EU directive 96/29 EURATOM

Radiation protection officer not required

Confidence High reproducibility
Gas supply Nitrogen or synthetic air
Data analytics  Stand-alone data acquisition software and software suite for 3D GC-IMS data analysis


Imspex Medical's in-house expertise means that we have capability to target detection of medical conditions ranging from infectious diseases through to inflammatory and metabolic diseases and cancers in the short to medium term. 

Short and medium term targets