A HI-TECH pill being developed by a team of Oxford scientists could revolutionise the way doctors test for some diseases.

BioMe’s capsules will travel through the intestine to a targeted spot, before collecting samples of microbes which can be analysed in the lab.

The capsules, made of polymer plastic so they pass through the gut, will ‘sense’ which section of the intestine they have reached.

This would allow sampling from hard-to-reach areas, which often have to be explored using invasive procedures such as an endoscopy.

BioMe co-founder and scientist Soren Thomsen stressed the capsule is still in the development stage but said future possibilities, if the team is successful, were "exciting".

With pills expected to cost £2 each, compared to £800 for an endoscopy session, it could herald a breakthrough for the cash-strapped NHS.

Mr Thomsen said: "Building a small capsule that works within your body is quite science fiction.

"We have to be careful not to call it a product, as it’s still very much something we are working on but if we were successful, it would be substantially different to other products out there."

The team made it through to the final of a major biotech competition last year.

It is filing for a patent, has attracted some funding and is now seeking another £1m towards development costs.

All being well, a prototype could be available in two years.

Mr Thomsen added: "Within our intestines, trillions of microbes and products of our own body are involved in maintaining good health and we are becoming more and more aware that variance of microbes in our gut is associated with all sorts of diseases.

"What we are developing is a small, ingestible gut-sampling device that will provide a reliable and cost-effective alternative to current sampling methods.

"The key advantage over existing technologies is that our product can sample any part of your intestines in a non-invasive manner, making it uniquely suitable for both research and diagnostic purposes."

BioMe is among a number of firms who will be at this year’s Venturefest.

The event, which brings together tech start-ups and investors, takes place in Osney Mead’s Kings Centre on June 29.

BioMe is also in the running for the Oxford Trust Enterprise Awards, held at a gala dinner the night before.

Mr Thomsen said: "The advice and feedback we receive from new business nurturing organisations such as Venturefest Oxford is invaluable."

He added: "We know we have a long way to go and appreciate there are substantial challenges on the way to market.

"But that’s part of the excitement."