Carbon fibre matting encapsulated within an insulating polyester laminate has been developed as the basis of a disposable electrochemical sensor. Two designs have been assessed and characterised using conventional physical and electrochemical methods. The modification of the laminate assembly to alter the response characteristics of the sensor has been described and shown to aid the detection of urate, a key physiological biomarker in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular complications. The clinical efficacy of the laminate sensor is evaluated through inter-laboratory validation and the generic transferability and applicability of the composite design is critically appraised. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.