The Journey
So Far

Pictura Bio’s groundbreaking diagnostic platform was born out of a unique combination of medical and technical expertise in virology, biophysics and microscopy from the company’s co-founders, Dr Nicole Robb and Nicolas Shiaelis.

Nicole, an infectious disease specialist from the University of Warwick with more than 15 years’ experience studying viruses, and her team discovered a new way of universally labelling pathogens so they could be studied in the lab. Nicolas, a PhD student in Biophysics at Oxford University with experience in computer vision and machine learning, combined Nicole’s newly discovered labelling method with a novel pre-processing algorithm and machine learning to detect and identify individual pathogens.

Together they realised that combining these tools and their knowledge had the potential to create a completely new way of detecting pathogens.

One of the first people to spot the revolutionary potential of this new technology was Alex Batchelor, now the CEO of Pictura Bio. Alex has decades of experience in the rapid diagnostics space and has previously led an Oxford University spin out from its earliest days through to a successful split into two new companies.


Our goal today:

The Pictura Bio team is initially focusing on packaging the PIC-ID technology into a simple desktop ‘lab in a box’, around the size of a domestic microwave, comprising a single-purpose high-powered fluorescent microscope and image capture and processing technology.

Once the box is ready, Pictura Bio’s goal is to get it straight into the hands of the people on the healthcare frontline who need it most.

Following clinical validation and regulatory approval, VISTA will be deployable anywhere a laboratory-grade test is needed, taking testing from the lab out into the community.

Or at the fingertips of a busy hospital doctor who needs an answer right now to determine how best to treat her critically ill patient. Imagine an VISTA box in your local high street pharmacy or GP surgery, able to reveal in seconds whether your nasty cough is just a cold or something more serious.


Executive team and board

Alex Batchelor, CEO

Nicole Robb, Founder

Nicolas Shiaelis, Founder

Iain Miller, Director

Tom Amies


Monique Andersson, Advisor

Richard Dawood, Advisor

Rachel Gauntlett, Advisor

Miles Carroll, Advisor

Alex Wilson

Rishi Chopra



ScienceCreates Ventures
ScienceCreates Ventures
Ahren Innovation Capital
Ahren Innovation Capital
IQ Capital Partners
IQ Capital Partners
Oxford Science
Oxford Science



Pictura Bio holds IP rights over the two key components of the PIC-ID technology – the universal label and the deep learning algorithm – and has secured £2.6 million in pre-seed funding from Silicon Valley VC investors IQ Capital Partners, Ahren Innovation Capital and ScienceCreates Ventures.

While there is nothing similar to PIC-ID on the market, other companies in the computer vision and machine learning medical space – such as digital pathology platforms that can analyse images of tumour tissue or AI-assisted analysis of X-ray scans – demonstrate a clear and viable route to regulatory approval and reimbursement for Pictura Bio’s technology.

Given the global scale of infectious disease and the ever-present threat of emerging diseases, there’s a huge potential market to be tapped.

The global infectious disease diagnostic market was valued at $27.8 billion in 2021, and is expected to grow to $41.2 billion by 2028. Add in future applications in other diseases, and the opportunities are vast.

With no direct competition in the image-based diagnostics field, Pictura Bio is uniquely placed as the global front-runner in this space.

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