Datesand News

Biospectrum

The business of Bio and Health Sciences

 

The UK has one of the strongest and most productive Life Sciences sectors in the world, attracting the most inward investment in Europe which supports 240,000 UK jobs and generates a turnover of around £70 billion per year.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

biospectrumThe UK Government, last week, hosted the second in a series of roundtables with stakeholders from key life science businesses, demonstrating the importance of the sector to the UK economy.

The Chancellor, International Trade Secretary, Business Secretary and Health and Social Care Secretary were amongst those that met with senior representatives from leading UK and international life sciences companies as the UK positions itself as the global home of health innovation, welcoming overseas investment and seeking to boost exports in the process.

Discussions at the roundtable focused on:

  how the future of the Life Sciences sector will be supported by the delivery of our modern Industrial Strategy

• ensuring that the UK is ‘open for business’ with a positive business environment

  our ambitions
for a comprehensive agreement with the EU on our future relationship

  the development and implementation of our independent trade policy

To date, the government has engaged significantly with the sector, including the launch of the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and Sector Deal, the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers’ Davos meeting with global Life Sciences executives and the inaugural meeting of the Life Sciences Council at 10 Downing Street in May.

The UK remains the number one destination for life sciences inward investment in Europe, ranks number two globally behind the US, and has also grown a thriving domestic industry with more than 5,600 companies and some of the strongest R&D capability in Europe.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “From the discovery of DNA to the 100,000 genomes project, the UK has always been at the forefront of ground-breaking research and development with the potential to transform the lives of millions of people. The life sciences sector is incredibly important to the UK, not only for the hundreds of thousands of people employed and its £70bn turnover, but also so NHS patients continue to have access to pioneering new treatments as part of our long term plan for the NHS.”

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Partnerships between government and industry are essential in helping us work towards our common goal of ensuring the UK continues to be a global leader in life sciences. That is why government has placed health and life sciences at the centre of our modern Industrial Strategy. Through the Life Sciences Sector Deal and our Grand Challenge missions in AI and Ageing Society, we have committed to working together with industry and overseas investors, to ensure that the UK remains the go-to destination for launching new businesses, new discoveries and new techniques to a wider market.”

The UK has one of the strongest and most productive Life Sciences sectors in the world, attracting the most inward investment in Europe which supports 240,000 UK jobs and generates a turnover of around £70 billion per year. 

Alongside this, the attractiveness of the UK markets is demonstrated by the fact that all of the top 25 global pharmaceutical companies, and the top 30 global medical technology companies, operate in the UK, utilising a world-renowned bank of R&D knowledge.

A recent example of the ground-breaking work being done in the UK by the sector is the 100,000 Genomes Project which has revolutionised the way genetics data is held and used. The project has led to the UK becoming the only nation in the world to have a large scale whole genome dataset which will lead to new genomic discovery, advancements in precision medicine and healthcare globally.

 

£2 million Wolfson Foundation award

The Wolfson Foundation has awarded £2 million to UCL to help create a world-leading neuroscience centre that will tackle dementia from every angle.

UCL 18 July 2018 

wolfson-awardThe state of the art new building will house UCL’s renowned Institute of Neurology, and will also be home to the research hub and national headquarters of the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) – a nationwide collaboration to revolutionise the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and vascular dementia.

UCL was announced as the hub of the UK DRI in December 2016 in recognition of its world-class research. The university is home to one of the world’s largest, most productive and highest impact neuroscience centres, leading the drive to understand what causes dementia, how it develops and how it could be slowed or stopped.

The highly collaborative new neuroscience centre being created on the site of the Eastman Dental Hospital, on Grays Inn Road, will be the bedrock of the UK’s dementia effort, bringing together academia, industry, the NHS, funders and patient organisations to break down barriers and find better ways to diagnose and treat people with devastating neurological disorders.

Welcoming the award, Professor Michael Hanna, Director of the UCL Institute of Neurology, says: “Dementia is set to affect half the UK’s population. It severely affects the lives of individuals and their families and is a huge and growing burden on health and social services. Halting it is an urgent need and having facilities that prioritise collaboration and bring researchers, clinicians and patients together is vital. Preventative treatments for dementia are in our sights, and it is visionary funders like the Wolfson Foundation that are driving progress.”

Professor Alan Thompson, Dean of the UCL Faculty of Brain Sciences, adds: “There is no neuroscience community comparable to UCL’s and nowhere else in the world is more likely to make the decisive intervention against dementia that we need. The facilities for this work really matter and having this dedicated, multidisciplinary, collaborative space will greatly accelerate the speed of dementia discovery and translation.”

UCL is also home to the Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre, founded thanks to a £20 million award from the Wolfson Foundation in December 2011 – the largest single award the Foundation has ever made. UCL President & Provost 

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation says, “The work that UCL is doing in dementia and related fields is both outstanding and pioneering. We are delighted to announce an award of £2 million, and to continue our funding of neurology at UCL – building on our previous investment to create the Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre. This is a hugely ambitious project, and we are excited about the increased possibilities that this new space will open up.”

The UK DRI, launched in autumn 2017, is a £290m investment into dementia research from founding funders the Medical Research Council, Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK. The iconic new home for the Institute of Neurology and the UK DRI will be part of UCL’s redevelopment of the Eastman Dental Hospital site, which will house over 500 neuroscience researchers when completed.

The Wolfson Foundation is an independent charity that supports and promotes excellence in the fields of science, health, education and the arts and humanities.

Since it was established in 1955, over £900 million (£1.9 billion in real terms) has been awarded to more than 11,000 projects throughout the UK, all on the basis of expert review.

 

Nombrero – The launch

nombrero_2018-2

 

Vanessa Jenkins from Plymouth University came up with the Nombrero, a combination wet feed reservoir and extra platform or refuge for mice. The Nombrero hangs easily from the cage lid so it won’t tip over. It can be used as a bowl to contain wet food which won’t therefore come into contact with the cage bedding. It serves equally as an extra platform or refuge for the mice thereby increasing the surface area and providing additional activity.

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Janet Wood Innovation Awards- the project moves on!

Following the breathtaking success of the first ever JWI Awards last year, we were hoping of course for a similar level of interest and some truly brilliant, innovative ideas for products designed to enrich the lives of the animals so precious to our sector. As those who were able to see the final stage designs during this year’s Congress will have witnessed, we weren’t at all disappointed.

As before, it was extremely difficult for the judges to whittle down the entrants to just three. Some really good ideas were forthcoming in this year’s competition. In the end, it comes down to a combination of innovative design concept and suitability for cost-effective manufacturing. Our three winners clearly had both in spades and we look forward very much to bringing them to you as finished products in the very near future.

The winners

3rd….


Our third placed designer, Marc Curtis, a Senior Technician from UCL’s Institute of Opthalmology, came up with a clever variation on the Fast Trac with his Mouse Spinning Wheel able to be attached easily to the bars of the cage lid. As Marc points out in his specification,  keeping this up above the floor of the cage provides more space for the mice to move throughout the cage.

 

 


2nd….

Victoria Preston’s Aqua Image/Aqua Floaters design was our second placed product. Victoria is an Animal Technician at Liverpool University and came up with the great combination of a plastic insert shaped to fit into the bottom of a Zebra Fish tank and printed with an image of pebbles and sand.  The easily cleanable insert blocks out light coming from below as well as replicating the natural environment. Studies have shown that this type of substrate image really helps the well-being of the fish.  The second part of this ingenious invention helps the zebra fish in their need to seek shelter as well as providing suitable enrichment activity. Small, easily cleanable plastic discs can be floated on the surface, replicating fallen leaves and the like to provide the hiding places the fish need. They float around freely with the natural movement of the water offering natural enrichment activity as the fish follow them to seek shelter. A simply brilliant combination.

 


1st….

numbreroTalking about brilliant combinations, our first prize winner, Vanessa Jenkins from Plymouth University came up with the Nombrero, a combination wet feed reservoir and extra platform or refuge for mice. The Nombrero hangs easily from the cage lid so it won’t tip over. It can be used as a bowl to contain wet food which won’t therefore come into contact with the cage bedding. It serves equally as an extra platform or refuge for the mice thereby increasing the surface area and providing additional activity.

Great prizes awarded at this year’s IAT Congress in Harrogate

Vanessa wins a fabulous all expenses paid trip to a trade conference of her choice.  Victoria takes home a fantastic iPad Pro whilst Marc wins £200 worth of shopping vouchers. All 3 prize winners will have access to a £4,000 grant for publication in an open access scientific journal. This amazing prize is awarded in association with the Parsemus Foundation.