The Medical Technology Blog

Investment in nanoscience set to benefit UK healthcare sector

Grant funding totalling over £6.5 million has been awarded for seven business-led projects that will focus on developing therapeutic agents and diagnostics where nanoscale technologies are the focus of innovation. The funding will be provided by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Technology Strategy Board, and the projects will be led by Critical Pharmaceuticals, Johnson Matthey, Mologic, Nanomerics, OJ-Bio, Renishaw Diagnostics and Sharp Laboratories of Europe.

The aim of the investment is to help ensure that the UK can become an early competitive adopter of these technologies and rapidly meet the urgent and difficult challenges posed within the worldwide healthcare sector, by translating early-stage ideas from academia and commercialising them through the building supply chains with businesses. This investment is part of a two-stage initiative under the Nanoscience through Engineering to Application Grand Challenge for Healthcare. The university partners on two of the funded projects had initially received three years of funding from EPSRC and these projects will follow onto scale-up the technologies developed in the first stage.

The proposed R&D projects will seek to develop closer links between the healthcare community and the emerging nanoscale technologies community, in order to rapidly develop and commercialise early-stage nanoscale technologies. Key challenge areas include the earlier and better detection and diagnosis of disease, leading to marked improvements in patient outcomes, and effective treatments that are tailored to patients’ needs, and which either modify the underlying disease or offer potential cures.

£1 million UK government funding

Separately, a group of projects are to receive over £1 million of UK government funding to enable them to develop new and improved “health-economics” tools or products that will assist and improve the design and evaluation of clinical trials for infectious agents. The funding, from the Technology Strategy Board, in partnership with the Department of Health, UK and with additional contributions from EPSRC to fund academic social science components, has been awarded for three development contracts. These will be undertaken by Diagnostics for the Real World (Europe), Integrated Medicines and the Health Protection Agency.

The funding award follows the organisations’ participation in the “Assessing the Impact of Near-Patient Testing” competition for development contracts managed by the Technology Strategy Board and developed in discussion with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association. The competition was run under the Technology Strategy Board’s infectious disease programme that aims to reduce the economic burden, death and illness of such diseases.

Two of the projects, to be undertaken by Diagnostics for the Real World and the Health Protection Agency, will focus on sexually transmitted infections, while the remaining Integrated Medicines project will focus on sepsis.

Article source: Kindly provided by Sophie Bracken, editor of Espicom’s business publication Diagnostics Focus




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