UCL Proximity to Discovery Fund 2014

Lead Research Organisation: University College London

Abstract

Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

Technical Summary

The MRC Proximity to Discovery scheme awards universities funds to help develop new collaborations, and ways of exchanging knowledge and skills.  The awards can be used to support activities that promote the value of academic-industry partnership, and enhance academic and industry researchers’ understanding of each other’s needs and capabilities.  This may be through people exchanges, creation of technology demonstrators, showcase events, commercialisation workshops and ‘entrepreneurs in residence’ schemes.  Such exchanges of knowledge and skills will boost the most fruitful collaborations between UK universities and life science companies.

Publications

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Description Bejoy Nambiar secondment to Africa Research Centre Institute 
Organisation Africa Research Institute
PI Contribution Secondment Title: Advancing Improvement Science Research through the establishment of North-South Collaborative Network The main aim of the secondment is to develop and promote translational research through a strong North-South collaborative network and to test innovative designs for systems improvement research in South African and Malawian context. The key objectives are: To develop an academic and research strategy for Improvement Science within Africa Centre's programme of health systems and impact. To develop a programme of work that will widen the scope for conducting systems improvement research at Africa Centre.
Collaborator Contribution The science of delivery of new interventions and innovations within health care systems in developing country setting remains poorly understood. Potential for improvement research in Africa is in a very nascent stage and provides a very good opportunity for the UCL-QI initiative to be the global leaders in this field. This grant provides an opportunity to strengthen links and exchange knowledge with potential partners in Malawi and South Africa, providing the initial stimulus to build a long-term partnership. Organizational restructuring and other external factors effect planned activities and therefore adaptability is key for delivering as planned. The grant has opened avenues for a new partnership between Institute of Global Health and Africa Centre. It has strengthened existing partnerships in Malawi and will pave the way for new jobs, empirical research and scientific dissemination in the field of health systems improvement.
Impact - Field visit to Malawi to explore PACHI's capacity for improvement research and develop joint proposals. - Meeting planned with Dr.Barnighausen (Africa Centre) at the HSR Conference in Vancouver in November 2016 - CEO of PACHI will be presenting IGH-PACHI influence on research, practice and policy in Malawi to the wider UCL community. - Joint improvement research proposal for a USAID call for reducing sever bacterial infection in the community being currently developed by IGH and PACHI. - Secondee has applied for GCRF fellowship
Start Year 2016
 
Description ITPTP secondments to MRCT and the European Lead Factory 
Organisation European Lead Factory
Country European Union (EU) 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Innovative Therapeutics Postdoctoral Training Programme (ITPTP) - The programme is an industry facing initiative, to provide an alternative multidisciplinary training environment for scientists interested in a future career in the Biotech / Pharma industry or academic drug discovery. The program is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry for satisfying the professional requirements for the award of Chartered Chemist (CChem). The secondments have strengthened the links between the Drug Discovery Group at UCL and the industry partners by providing practical expertise to drug discovery projects. The secondees have bought back to UCL novel chemistry approaches as applied to Drug Discovery.
Collaborator Contribution Industry involvement has included input into the core skill set outlined as the backbone to the programme, participation in the recruitment process, in-kind support through the placements, financial support for one of the year 2 projects, mentorship and networking opportunities.
Impact - The two secondees from cohort one were awarded their Royal Society of Chemistry Chartered chemist status following assessment on 1st Dec 2016. - They both secured permanent positions for Jan 2017, by the end of September 2016 (one at MRCT the other at UCL's ARUK DDI). - The establishment of collaborative interdisciplinary projects both internally between different institutes and departments within UCL, and externally with new industry partners has linked new networks of scientists which can be built on in the future, to help to translate UCL science. - Members of the programme have been involved with a scientific careers event hosted at the Stevenage biocatalyst and also participated in the UCL Small Molecule Dragons' Den networking event, and 'a Pint of Science'. They have also attended a variety of conferences and external meetings, presenting their work as appropriate.
Start Year 2016
 
Description ITPTP secondments to MRCT and the European Lead Factory 
Organisation MRC-Technology
Department MRCT Centre for Therapeutics Discovery (CTD)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Innovative Therapeutics Postdoctoral Training Programme (ITPTP) - The programme is an industry facing initiative, to provide an alternative multidisciplinary training environment for scientists interested in a future career in the Biotech / Pharma industry or academic drug discovery. The program is accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry for satisfying the professional requirements for the award of Chartered Chemist (CChem). The secondments have strengthened the links between the Drug Discovery Group at UCL and the industry partners by providing practical expertise to drug discovery projects. The secondees have bought back to UCL novel chemistry approaches as applied to Drug Discovery.
Collaborator Contribution Industry involvement has included input into the core skill set outlined as the backbone to the programme, participation in the recruitment process, in-kind support through the placements, financial support for one of the year 2 projects, mentorship and networking opportunities.
Impact - The two secondees from cohort one were awarded their Royal Society of Chemistry Chartered chemist status following assessment on 1st Dec 2016. - They both secured permanent positions for Jan 2017, by the end of September 2016 (one at MRCT the other at UCL's ARUK DDI). - The establishment of collaborative interdisciplinary projects both internally between different institutes and departments within UCL, and externally with new industry partners has linked new networks of scientists which can be built on in the future, to help to translate UCL science. - Members of the programme have been involved with a scientific careers event hosted at the Stevenage biocatalyst and also participated in the UCL Small Molecule Dragons' Den networking event, and 'a Pint of Science'. They have also attended a variety of conferences and external meetings, presenting their work as appropriate.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Sonia Shah secondment to Pfizer 
Organisation Pfizer Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The objectives of this partnership were: 1. Alignment of phenotypic and genetic data across HERMES (Heart failure Molecular Epidemiology for therapeutic targetS) cohorts to enable federated GWAS analyses across the consortium 2. Design and execution of GWAS analysis for heart failure phenotypes within each HERMES cohort 3. Design of analysis in EPHESUS trial dataset at Pfizer 4. Meta-analysis of study-specific results of heart failure phenotypes Sonia played a leading and integral role in the achievement of all objectives, by driving scientific and operational progress in the consortium, and strengthening the partnership between UCL and Pfizer, which contributes to the broad impact of the study so far.
Collaborator Contribution Contribution of important data-sets and know-how regarding analysis of genetic data.
Impact Sonia Shah's contribution to HERMES through the PtoD secondment has had a major impact, ensuring the success of the consortium that is generating data that will enable Pfizer to perform genetic target validation of novel and repurpose therapies for heart failure. The impact of this collaboration goes beyond UCL and Pfizer, with the methodological approach developed being used to inform the analysis strategies for similar datasets managed by Novartis and GSK, for example. HERMES membership, through Sonia's and her supporting PIs efforts has been extended and now includes a total of 11 large pharmaceutical companies (Pfizer, AztraZeneca {AZ}, GSK, Eli Lily, Novartis, Amgen, Biogen, Boehringer, Merck, Servier, Vifor) who are participating with clinical trials data for heart failure. This secondment has been the catalyst enabling the establishment of this multi-company consortium.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Tiziano Gallo Cassarino secondment to Intel 
Organisation Intel Corporation
Department Intel Ireland
Country Ireland 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution i) The IntelTM collaboration improved the resilience and transferability of the pipeline and allowed the performance benchmarking across different computational environments. ii) IntelTM has provided ICONIC at the Farr Institute a prototype server designed specifically for the needs of healthcare informatics. iii) Collaborative work relating to reporting formats and end-user interactions was initiated together with IntelTM iv) The ICONIC pipeline performance is currently being tested within eMedLab.
Collaborator Contribution i) The IntelTM collaboration improved the resilience and transferability of the pipeline and allowed the performance benchmarking across different computational environments. ii) IntelTM has provided ICONIC at the Farr Institute a prototype server designed specifically for the needs of healthcare informatics. iii) Collaborative work relating to reporting formats and end-user interactions was initiated together with IntelTM iv) The ICONIC pipeline performance is currently being tested within eMedLab.
Impact IntelTM and ICONIC are producing a White paper on healthcare data processing IntelTM will use their ICONIC experiences to inform internal training on processing healthcare related data
Start Year 2016
 
Description Trevor Asquith secondment to AZ 
Organisation AstraZeneca
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Trevor developed a 384 well screening assay for a kinase target and performed a tech transfer of the assay to AZ in Macclesfield. Whilst there he set the assay up and performed an initial screen to ascertain robustness data. Having successfully passed the criteria, Trevor subsequently went on to perform a full HTS of 1.9m compounds in single shot. Hit confirmation is now taking place.
Collaborator Contribution AZ have supported Trevor with personnel to help transfer the assay and run the screen on their equipment as well as provide all reagents for the assay and the compounds. They are continuing to support the project through hit confirmation with reagents and expertise both from the screening group as well from the chemistry group.
Impact Hits against a UCL target as part of a drug discovery program.
Start Year 2016