Embedding industry engagement in medical, health and life science research at Queen’s University Belfast.

Lead Research Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast

Abstract

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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.
 
Description Department for the Economy Northern Ireland Studentship
Amount £58,251 (GBP)
Organisation Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2017 
End 08/2020
 
Description Industrial Case
Amount £112,164 (GBP)
Funding ID MRC MR/N01880X/1 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 10/2020
 
Description Investigator led GSK Industry Grant
Amount £150,000 (GBP)
Organisation GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 
Sector Private
Country Global
Start  
End 12/2017
 
Description Sponsored Research
Amount £137,000 (GBP)
Organisation The Lubrizol Corporation 
Start 08/2017 
End 08/2018
 
Description Accelerating the discovery and development of new medicines for the treatment of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome through knowledge exhange (Prof D McAuley) 
Organisation GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
Country Global 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution QUB researchers organised a programme of knowledge exchange events for GlaxoSmithKline translational scientists to visit QUB to: 1) gain an increased understanding of the QUB research teams expertise in translational acute respiratory distress syndrome models and particular the human ex-vivo lung perfusion model; 2) participate in QUB clinical research meetings, and; 3) spend time understanding the care of patients in the regional intensive care unit at the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. The following contribution was made by the research team to this partnership: 1. Hosted industry partner, GSK, for a 2 day visit to the Centre for Experimental Medicine and highlighted the research work conducted. 2. Visit to the Wellcome Trust-Wolfson Clinical Research Facility to highlight our research infrastructure 3. Visit to the Northern Ireland Clinical Trials Unit to demonstrate trial management 4. Organisation and conduct of a precision medicine workshop in ARDS and sepsis with participation from GSK, other industry partners and UK academic researchers.
Collaborator Contribution QUB scientists visited GlaxoSmithKline to share information and expertise on the laboratory techniques and approaches that are used to discover and progress molecules to candidate medicines, and to participate in early development, clinical planning, discovery unit leadership and strategic review meetings. The following contribution was made by GSK: 1. Hosted visiting QUB scientists at GSK, Stevenage for 3 days 2. Organised visits to the GSK Smart labs, opportunity to meet with different research teams and learn about current research capabilities in GSK 3. Organised the participation in GSK trial management meetings for the QUB scientists. This visit provided an opportunity to interact with various teams in GSK, attend early drug development team meetings, visit the GSK SMART laboratory, highlight Queen's University's expertise in the field of ARDS and pulmonary inflammation and explore novel clinical trial designs for a personalised medicine approach in ARDS. This visit also helped Queen's scientists understand drug development issues, including patent and intellectual property.
Impact Reciprocal presentation of research expertise, capability and facilities, combined with knowledge exchange regarding drug development and clinical trial approaches as a result of two-way exchange visits. Knowledge exchange activities have commenced between both partners with a view to gaining a better understanding of therapeutics development and clinical trial design with emphasis on the discovery and development of new medicines for the treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome. 1. A successful workshop titled "Precision Medicine in ARDS and sepsis" 2. Outline application submitted in response to the MRC Stratified Medicine Initiative call to investigate targeted therapies in ARDS and sepsis 3. Succeeded in securing Northern Ireland Department for the Economy PhD studentship 4. Presentation of an ARDS case study at the Northern Ireland Clinical Initiative Collaborative conference 2016 highlighting a collaborative precision medicine research proposal planned collaboratively by QUB and GSK 5. A position paper is planned and in keeping with the current theme of precision medicine, it is anticipated that this paper will set the direction for precision medicine in ARDS 6. Societal impact by securing funding for a post-doctoral research assistant (PDRA) for drug development using the extra-vascular lung permeability lung model (EVLP) and another PDRA to investigate the role of regulatory T cells in the pathogenesis of ARDS. Multi-disciplinary: Critical care and peri-operative research, basic scientists, clinical trialists and clinical trials methodologists
Start Year 2016
 
Description Adult mesenchymal stem cell culture and differentiation in commercial hydrogels (Dr F Lundy) 
Organisation Biogelx
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Established an active collaboration with our partner BioGlex Ltd and commenced pilot studies to determine 1) Hydrogel formulations for optimal culture adult stem cells and 2) Hydrogel formulations for optimal differentiation of adult stem cells. Knowledge exchange with Biogelx Ltd. to share QUB knowledge on adult stem cell culture and differentiation. As part of this collaboration the QUB research team gained an understanding the role of the 3D environment in stem cell culture, and were able to pursue a line of research interest that was also of potential benefit to our commercial partner. With the help of a technical member of staff and both UG and PG students we developed optimised protocols for hydrogel culture and for RNA extraction from hydrogels.
Collaborator Contribution Bioglex Ltd provided in-kind support and knowledge of the materials and previous uses in cell culture applications, in order to guide the QUB research team in the practical product usage. Biogelx played an active role in the partnership and were available to discuss viable options in terms of hydrogel formulation and to synthesise hydrogels as required.
Impact This Proximity to Discovery project has allowed the QUB research team to build a good working relationship with this new collaborator. QUB staff have gained an understanding of the uses of BioGelx Ltd's products. Multi-disciplinary: Chemistry, Cell Biology Other outputs/outcomes: Presentation to BioGelx (BioCity Scotland)
Start Year 2015
 
Description Development and validation of TempO-Seq assays for Immuno-Oncology application in cancer research and diagnostics (Dr S McDade) 
Organisation BioSpyder Technologies Inc
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution This Proximity to Discovery project aimed to develop a collaborative partnership with BioSpyder and using the combined expertise and resource within the partnership to establish Proof-of-Concept data towards the future co-development and validation an Immuno-Oncology or other relevant panel using the Biospyder TempO-Seq platform. The overall goal of this project was to facilitate development of the relationship between the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) and BioSpyder to enable: 1) Knowledge exchange to explore co-development of a Immuno-Oncology assay for commercial application; 2) Access of CCRCB investigators to apply BioSpyder's proprietary TempO-Seq assay for academic discovery research, and; 3) Clinical validation of their technology through access to results derived from clinically relevant samples, enabling assay benchmarking. Key researchers from the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology hosted senior BioSpyder staff at a scientific retreat to define the scope of the proof of concept pilot study for the technical validation of BioSpyder's TempO-Seq platform via a head to head comparison against standard sequencing. At this meeting, the Proof of Concept project, MTA and collaboration agreement and potential future project plans were agreed. Generation of proof of concept data using TempO-Seq assays on research and clinically relevant materials has generated high-quality pilot data to underpin future grant applications. Data analysis and integration with clinical and pathological data was conducted jointly.
Collaborator Contribution Regular in-depth interaction between BioSpyder senior staff and QUB staff to share expertise and establishment of TempO-Seq assays to enable researchers to access these cutting edge assays. QUB and BioSpyder have participated in on-going project updates, knowledge exchange, and exploration of grant opportunities through regular telecons. They also provided QUB scientists with laboratory and data analysis training.
Impact This two-way sharing of expertise, including training of CCRCB academics at BioSpyder HQ, has facilitated the establishment and implementation of TempO-Seq assays at QUB in the recently established Core Genomics Unit. This will streamline CCRCB laboratory workflows and reduce informatics 'bottlenecks' by condensing data generation and simplifying analysis. This Proximity to Discovery funding has enabled knowledge exchange and generated "Proof of Concept" pilot data which will underpin applications for funding to both the commercial and research streams e.g. CRUK, MRC, PCUK/Movember, InnovateUK, H2020 and InvestNI. Other outputs/outcomes: Scientific Retreat at QUB for QUB & BioSpyder staff QUB lead scientists (McDade, McArt) were trained on lab and data analysis of Biospyder TempO-seq assays. San Diego Innovation Hub panel discussion at the Northern Ireland Clinical Innovation Conference 2016 by BioSpyder's CEO & Co-Founder, highlighting his company's interaction with Queen's (funded through P2D) This project has led to a successful NI DfE CAST Studentship.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Development of novel applications for the Labcyte Incorporated Echo liquid handler (Dr D Simpson) 
Organisation Labcyte Incorporated
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The QUB PI, Dr. Simpson, has transferred knowledge and provided expertise to Labcyte in the area of molecular biology and imaging. QUB has shared preliminary research findings with Labcyte to demonstrate that quantification of microRNAs directly from cell lysates in the small volumes are only achievable with Labcytes Echo liquid handler, with the aim of developing a new genomics application that has the potential to enhance much of the current research within this research group.
Collaborator Contribution Labcyte has provided unlimited remote expert guidance to key researcher staff at the Centre for Experimental Medicine in order to define optimal instrument settings. Labcyte hosted QUB staff at their headquarters , providing access to laboratory facilities, consumables, and technical knowledge exchange with Labcytes Research and Development team. Labcyte will also introduce QUB staff to academic and commercial groups utilising their Echo instrument to allow QUB researchers to gain further insight into the range of instrument applications.
Impact Through this collaboration a strong working relationship has been established, and the potential to develop additional new relationships has arisen via planned introductions to Labcyte Incorporated key customers. Through the relationships developed in this project Labcyte have committed to provide training and application development support to the new QUB Genomics Core Technology Unit (CTU), which will house the Echo system. This will enhance the ability of the CTU to provide services which employ the Labcyte platform, both within the University and externally. Other outputs/outcomes: Guest Speaker at Labcyte Genomics Symposium (Edinburgh) Media Interview for SelectScience
Start Year 2015
 
Description Feasibility studies using H4R antagonists - development of a collaboration with a clinical stage biotech company (Dr K Dib) 
Organisation Ziarco Pharma Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Dr Dib's group performed the laboratory work described in this project. The group generated the data of this study. Dr Dib & the Chief scientist of Ziarco Pharma met to discuss on-going and future research in this area.
Collaborator Contribution Ziarco-Pharma provided their H4R antagonist to Dr Dib's group and provided financial support to the project. The company invited Dr Dib to attend a meeting at their headquarters and provided input into the present project.
Impact Establishment of a partnership between an academic laboratory and the industry sector.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Forging dynamic partnerships with the medical device industry to address global healthcare challenges (Dr N Irwin, Prof C McCoy) 
Organisation Harland Medical Systems, Inc
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Funding from this award was used to support visits by QUB researchers to Harland Medical Systems, a global provider of advanced surface enhancement systems for healthcare with a follow-up visit by PI and QUB Commercial Development Manager to learn more about the company's business model. The major objectives were to identify strategic ways of collaborating to address the global healthcare challenge of catheter-associated infections through a greater mutual understanding of research priorities and capabilities, and inform industry of the research programmes and technologies developed at QUB. Presentations were made by QUB scientists outlining the research groups latest research findings; expertise and guidance provided in areas of microbiological testing and the offer of access to our testing facilities and use of our characterisation equipment. During a site tour QUB researchers witnessed first-hand the company expansion, manufacturing and testing facilities which could support future joint work. During meetings with the Harland team we learned about company priorities and research interests before presenting our relevant capabilities, instrumentation and research interests. A variety of collaborative engagements ranging from funded PhD studentships, specific evaluation/equipment access, consultancy and joint projects (short- and long-term) were discussed, including the development of anti-infective and hydrophilic catheter coating formulations. The potential licensing of our lubricious catheter coating technology in addition to the generation of further intellectual property through expansion of the coating portfolio was discussed. A follow-up teleconference was held to introduce our Business Alliance Manager to the team and follow up on these discussions. The QUB PhD students gained valuable first-hand experience of the industrial testing required to further develop their laboratory-based research before commercialisation and were inspired to see where their research could end up in the commercial world. These visits have, importantly, strengthened our relationship with Harland and demonstrated our commitment to working with them, as well as highlighting the potential benefits for industry of working with QUB researchers and the support provided by the QUB Research and Enterprise Directorate.
Collaborator Contribution QUB researchers have benefited from Harland's offer of access to industry-standard equipment for generation of preliminary data to support research proposals and the production of prototype devices facilitating commercial and clinical translation.
Impact This project has benefited UK-based researchers in terms of learning about industry-standard procedures; access to industry-standard testing and coating equipment; establishment of a strong working relationship with the potential for investment by Harland in collaborative programmes of work with associated benefits to the UK economy; and serious interest by this company in licensing our patented lubricious catheter coating, with associated potential economic impact to QUB. Other outputs/outcomes: Seminar at Harland Medical (Minneapolis) Multidisciplinary: Chemists; polymer scientists; engineers; marketing personnel.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Forging dynamic partnerships with the medical device industry to address global healthcare challenges (Dr N Irwin, Prof C McCoy) 
Organisation Teleflex Medical
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Funding from this award was used to support visits by QUB researchers to the research headquarters of the multinational medical device company, Teleflex Medical, in Cambridge, Boston, in August 2016, with a follow-up visit by the PI and a PhD student in November 2016. The major objectives were to identify strategic ways of collaborating to address the global healthcare challenge of medical device-associated infections through a greater mutual understanding of research priorities and capabilities. The QUB presentation on our complementary research capabilities, recent publications and on-going projects was followed by an interactive break-out session where the QUB and Teleflex teams worked together to identify potential ways of further developing the synergistic interests and targets of QUB and Teleflex. This project provided a net benefit to the UK in terms of the training and enhanced industry experience received by QUB researcher and PhD students, access to industry-standard equipment and materials, and increased commercial awareness and insight for UK researchers into current industry needs, priorities and on-going projects.Teleflex have been offered access to our equipment, capabilities and expertise here at QUB, including our in vitro models and characterisation methodologies. We also presented our latest research findings to inform Teleflex of new developments in relevant research areas.
Collaborator Contribution During the visit to Teleflex, the company's senior director and team leaders accompanied QUB researchers on a tour of their laboratories and testing facilities. They demonstrated, and offered us access to, their models, equipment and characterisation methodologies of relevance and benefit to our research projects at QUB. Their researchers and team leaders from across the respiratory, urology and microbiology divisions presented their current projects and we learned about the company's research priorities. Teleflex have kindly donated consumables including PVC tubing, and given us free access to their in vitro sputum models, for the generation of preliminary data to support joint proposals. We have also benefitted from time spent with their research teams in learning about industry priorities, needs and ongoing projects to allow us to align our research programmes to address these needs.
Impact Potential partnership and investment by this company in follow-on research programmes at QUB as a result of this project would generate many benefits for the UK: employment for researchers; commercial and clinical translation of research, thus benefiting the NHS and patients; and potential licensing income from sales of developed and patented technologies, thus benefiting the UK economy. Multidisciplinary: Polymer scientists; microbiologists; engineers; chemists; pharmacists. Other outputs/outcomes: Successful application to Northern Ireland DfE CAST Studentship funding scheme Presentation to Teleflex Medical Staff on Functionalising Surfaces
Start Year 2016
 
Description Integrative environment for data acceleration, analysis and biomarker discovery (Dr D McArt) 
Organisation Analytics Engines
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution This project sought to build a collaborative programme of work between researchers in the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) and local industry partner, Analytics Engines Ltd. The partnership sought to improve the research potential and impact of science undertaken within cancer research at QUB and establish the promise of technology workflows with potential application in the commercial sector. Researchers from CCRCB carried out pilot studies to develop proof of concept architecture for high throughput cancer bioinformatics utilising Analytics Engines' technology. Provision of access to extensive datasets.
Collaborator Contribution Analytics Engines staff worked with QUB to help to ensure on-boarding of the sample datasets genomics, and training and teaching of the QUB team to use the software stack. Analytics Engines have engaged with key QUB research staff on algorithm development and specific realisations of the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) specific algorithms.
Impact Formation of a close working relationship between QUB researchers and Analytics Engines, with on-going technical knowledge exchange and training. QUB cancer researchers have gained knowledge from the Big-data domain, and Analytics Engines have gained an insight into the vertical specialisation of bioinformatics and genomics at QUB. The team have developed an RNAseq pipeline with the potential to be used as a blueprint for DNAseq. The project has allowed the high performance computing limitation within CCRCB Bioinformatics workflows to be addressed. The longer-term benefit to project partners are that: 1) CCRCB can provide evidence to external funders that the appropriate capabilities to undertake supporting data analysis of molecular pathology and genomics research programs exist, and 2) for CCRCB and AE, the project will provide the essential preliminary data and evidence of success to leverage additional external funding applications to build upon this pilot data, towards a future goal of commercialization. As part of information, teaching and learning, Dr McDade and co-investigator Dr McArt have held regular knowledge-exchange sessions with AE to impart current trends in data analytics. In turn, AE will teach modern compute methods as part of the MSc in Scientific Programming and Statistical Computing. Other outputs/outcomes: Analytics Engines hosted a Life Sciences Event in Cambridge 2015. QUB PRDA undertook an exchange to Analytics Engines Ltd. to engage with them on algorithm development. This project has led to an MRC Industrial CASE Studentship (MRC MR/N01880X/1).
Start Year 2015
 
Description Polyurethanes in drug delivery applications (Prof K Malcolm) 
Organisation Lubrizol Corporation
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The two main objectives of this Proximity to Discovery project were: (i) to offer QUB academics insight into the polymer materials available through Lubrizol for use in medical device and drug delivery applications; (ii) to highlight QUB research activities of potential interest to Lubrizol. Ultimately, the aim of the project is to develop collaborative research projects between QUB and Lubrizol. In order to build a relationship with a new partner in the field of drug delivery Prof Malcolm visited Lubrizol and attended a series of seminars presented by Lubrizol staff describing the company's portfolio of polymer materials and processing capabilities. Prof Malcolm organised a research seminar in Belfast which was attended by three senior Lubrizol employees. A large number of QUB staff participated in the Belfast seminar. Presentations were made by these key QUB academic staff to Lubrizol Corporation on current QUB research activities in the use of thermoplastic polymers for drug delivery and medical device applications. The manufacturing, technical and analytical capabilities available at QUB were showcased to Lubrizol staff at this knowledge exchange event, focusing on key polymer processing and drug delivery research facilities within the School of Pharmacy, the Medical Polymers Research Institute and the Polymer Processing Research Centre.
Collaborator Contribution Key Lubrizol staff travelled on a knowledge exchange visit to Queen's University Belfast to share information on the company, its range of products and technologies on offer. Supply of polymer samples to QUB for initial testing will occur, with the provision of technical support to QUB during the evaluation period.
Impact Initial engagement has allowed both partners to communicate and develop their key research/business interests and has clearly defined research topics of mutual interest (specifically concerning the application of thermoplastic polyurethane polymers (TPU) to drug delivery) in order to form a foundation for future research collaborations and funding applications. Other outputs/outcomes: Research Seminar at Lubrizol (Brecksville, Ohio) Workshop for key senior Lubrizol staff (QUB, Belfast) Conference Paper (N Welsh et al., 2016)
Start Year 2015
 
Description Translating antimicrobial peptide gelators and small biomolecular therapeutics from the laboratory to patients (Dr G Laverty) 
Organisation SpheriTech Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Hosting of a knowledge exchange visit from SpheriTech Ltd related to developing a self-assembling peptide hydrogel as a wound healing formulation. Showcasing of QUB laboratory facilities (tissue culture, microbiology, microscopy, spectroscopy, rheology) to SpheriTech Ltd, and introducing SpheriTech Ltd to key staff members within the School of Pharmacy.
Collaborator Contribution SpheriTech Ltd has provided technical knowledge and expertise in relation to the design and commercialisation of antimicrobial wound healing platforms, and has shared their specialist expertise in the development and scale-up of polymers. The CEO of SpheriTech Ltd visited the School of Pharmacy QUB and delivered an oral presentation on this company's work. Face-to-face discussions between SpheriTech CEO and Dr Laverty and QUB Research and Enterprise occurred before and after this event.
Impact Successful engagement of the Queen's University Belfast researchers with a leading biotechnology company has allowed for a successful mutual knowledge exchange and sustainable partnership building with the aim of exploring future collaborative projects and funding opportunities for the rational design, development and commercialisation of biomolecular polymer platforms in healthcare. Other outputs/outcomes: SpheriTech Seminar at QUB 2 x published Journal Publications (1 in-press)
Start Year 2015
 
Description Understanding the state-of-the-art in molecular diagnostic testing (Prof M Shields) 
Organisation Hibergene Diagnostics Ltd
Country Ireland 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution This Proximity to Discovery project involved an industrial secondment to enable a postdoctoral researcher from QUB's Centre for Experimental Medicine to spend time working with a company partner (Hibergene Diagnostics Ltd.). The main objective for the placement was to enable a two-way exchange of knowledge and skills. During the placement, Dr. Cox was able to contribute technical expertise to the company, especially in the area of real-time PCR methods and analysis including optimal DNA/RNA extraction procedures for specific samples, preparation and handling of real-time PCR reagents, performing and optimising PCR assays, and analysis and interpretation of PCR data. She was able to advise on optimising/validating a new molecular assay to detect norovirus, and also on wider issues of sample storage, processing, and work flow within a clinical laboratory. Dr. Cox, supported by our wider research team, is the focus of the ongoing partnership.
Collaborator Contribution The main objective for the placement was to enable a two-way exchange of knowledge and skills. Dr. Cox and the company both felt this objective was achieved, and that both parties benefitted.Dr. Cox gained an insight into the day-to-day working of an industrial laboratory, and how industrial research & development differs to university/clinical research & development (ie. time pressures, targets based on company revenue, quality assurance of incoming materials and final product, and QA documentation). She gained knowledge of the key phases of commercial assay development (feasibility, verification and validation), including assessing performance against design goals, comparison against gold standards, issues of batch to batch variation and robustness studies. She also gained specific experience working with a novel molecular assay to detect RNA targets. Seeing the different stages of product development was particularly valuable, as she will be able to apply this knowledge in the future when developing in-house assays within a university or clinical laboratory. In marketing terms, she learned about the importance of identifying areas of clinical need, market and competitor analysis, ease of use and simple interpretation of results for non-specialist users.
Impact In addition to contributions made during the placement (funding of accommodation, management time etc.) the company partner are funding a contract research project with the university. The contract research project between the company and QUB has involved optimisation, refinement and validation of two prototype molecular diagnostic assays that are now being commercialised by the company. Other outputs/outcomes: Presentation of secondee at QUB Centre for Experimental Medicine Seminar Series Partner funded contract research at QUB resulting in a 6 month employment contract for the PDRA that undertook the secondment Introductions of company to other QUB researchers resulting in an MRC Industrial CASE application (Dr. Simpson - Hibergene)
Start Year 2016
 
Description Analytics Engines Life Sciences Event (Cambridge) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Analytics Engines hosted a Life Sciences Event entitled "The Importance of Big Data and Data Analytics from Precision Medicine". As a result of the collaboration, Prof D Waugh, the Director for the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology was an invited speaker. This event brought together key thought-leaders, with representatives from Almac, AstraZeneca, 14M Genomics, Debiopharm contributing to the event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description BIO 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Dr Frances Weldon, Business Alliance Manager, attended BIO 2016 to scope and develop opportunities for academic-clinical-industry collaboration with pharma and biotech industries that are developing solutions for cancer, respiratory disease, diabetes and vision-related conditions. Dr Weldon was based at the Invest Northern Ireland stand and held over 20 meetings with companies using BIO's on-stand Partnering Programme. Meetings proved very fruitful, with follow-up on many areas and a resulting greater exposure of Queen's University Belfast's research capability to emerging and established Pharma and Biotech companies, including, for example, Sanofi Pasteur, Noven Pharmaceuticals, Cellectis, Kymab, Clear Gene, Lantern Pharma and Synergys. The conference afforded Dr Weldon valuable networking opportunities and facilitated exposure to current trends in academic-industry collaboration from an industry perspective. Attendance at BIO 2016 has resulted in a pipeline of potential partnering opportunities which did not exist previously.

Specific impacts:
• During BIO detailed discussions regarding the BioSpyder-QUB relationship were held, resulting in a follow-up visit to Queen's University in October, involving introductory meetings with other researchers in the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences and the scoping of a PhD studentship project , which has subsequently been awarded.
• Lantern Pharma visited QUB in October 2016. A non-disclosure agreement has been put in place and discussions regarding opportunities for collaboration to support Lantern Pharma's drug development programme are ongoing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description BioTrinity 2015 (London) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This event was attended by staff from QUB Research & Enterprise and the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences (F. Weldon, C. Gujral, A. Stitt, L. Martin) and QUB had a stand to promote medical research to potential industrial partners. A number of partnering meetings with industry representatives and investors were held. Dr Martin gave a presentation on her Protease-Tag technology. QUB are now part of the OBN network and receive updates from the Oxford Academic and Health Sciences Network. It was a valuable learning experience which allowed the academics to understand what industry are looking for when seeking to partner or licence technology.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description BioTrinity 2016 (London) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact In April 2016, two members of the Business Alliance team at Queen's attended the BioTrinity 2016 networking event in London. Queen's has fostered a strong relationship with the event's organisers, OBN, and this has been instrumental in connecting research taking place in Queen's, and the wider Northern Irish region, into the UK's leading bio-partnering event. Attendance at the event has fostered several follow-on conversations, and has led to OBN supporting the Queen's Pharma Study Tour, in which undergraduate students visit several pharmaceutical companies during a week-long tour.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Engagement with Biogelx Ltd. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Continued engagement with Biogelx Ltd via regular teleconference updates for discussion of potential areas of collaborative R&D.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Engagement with Biointeractions Ltd. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Engagement with BioInteractions Ltd. for commercial evaluation of lubricious coating technology.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Labcyte - Edinburgh Genomics Symposium (Dr Simpson) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Dr Simpson was a guest speaker at this symposium and gave a talk entitled "Miniaturisation, Automation and Development of Novel Genomic Applications with Echo® 525 and Access™ System", which allowed Dr Simpson a platform to promote the Proximity to Discovery work with Labcyte and provided an invaluable opportunity to discuss applications with other system users.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.labcyte.com/edinburgh2016/
 
Description Northern Ireland Clinical Innovation Conference 2015 (Belfast) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Proximity to Discovery Fund was promoted at the 2nd annual Northern Ireland Clinical Innovation Conference, an event focused on improving collaborative efforts to accelerate adoption of innovation in the healthcare system. A promotional flyer was produced and the scheme introduced to many of the delegates at a networking session. The meeting showcased Northern Ireland's clinical and academic biomedical research capability, infrastructure and world class research outcomes, with the goal of increasing the number and scale of international medical research partnerships in Northern Ireland. The agenda was designed to allow engagement, discussion and debate in a variety of workshops covering cardiology, cancer, respiratory, precision medicine and medicines optimisation, as well as accelerating adoption and diffusion of innovation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Northern Ireland Clinical Innovation Conference 2016 (Belfast) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Proximity to Discovery Fund was promoted at the 3rd annual Northern Ireland Clinical Innovation Conference. A promotional flyer was produced and the Proximity to Discovery scheme introduced to many of the delegates at a networking session. The Conference aims to enhance Northern Ireland's ability to attract, foster and implement clinical innovation by showcasing indigenous clinical research excellence to potential global partners. This year's theme was Precision Medicine, which is revolutionising healthcare by harnessing technology, genomics and diagnostics to deliver a more targeted and efficient way of matching patients with the treatments that will be most effective for them. Northern Ireland is already building world class capability across the precision medicine spectrum in academia, business and clinical care. The Conference seeks to build further relationships with global partners to maximise the impact of this capability on a world stage.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Oral presentation (Northern Ireland Clinical Innovation Conference 2016, Belfast) (Dr Shyamsundar) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact An oral presentation on the Proximity to Discovery project between QUB scientists (Dr Shyamsundar, Dr McAuley) and project partner (Dr Budd, GSK, Fibrosis and Lung Injury Discovery Performance Unit) was made at the Northern Ireland Clinical Innovation Conference (NICIC16). NICIC aims to enhance Northern Ireland's ability to attract, foster and implement clinical innovation by showcasing indigenous clinical research excellence to potential global partners.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Precision medicine in ARDS and sepsis (QUB, Belfast) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact This workshop was the first meeting of the UK ARDS and sepsis stratified medicine consortium. The workshop included UK researchers in ARDS and sepsis, industry partners and experts in trials methodology. The purpose of this workshop was to discuss and define newer trial designs using enrichment strategies to deliver clinical trials in critical care. The ultimate purpose is to deliver precision medicine to critically ill patients. A direct outcome of this workshop was the submission of an outline application to the MRC Stratified Medicine Initiative call.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Presentation to Teleflex Medical Staff on Functionalising Surfaces (Dr Irwin) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation made to Teleflex Medical Inc. team leaders and scientists from across their divisions to inform them of on-going research projects at Queen's University Belfast, capabilities and expertise available at QUB, and to outline potential ways in which we could work together to address global healthcare challenges. Outcome is a CAST studentship, generation of collaborative research proposals and interest in funding these joint programmes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description QUB Centre for Experimental Medicine Seminar (Dr Cox) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The activity is a seminar to share knowledge, information and skills gained by Dr. Cox during her industrial placement with a wider audience within the CEM.
One of the main objectives of the original placement was to expose Dr. Cox to working practices and methods within a growing biotech company. Academic research groups can benefit from learning about these practices and methods, this activity is a mechanism to achieve this.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Research seminar at Lubrizol Corp (Brecksville, Ohio) (Prof Malcolm) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Prof Malcolm presented an overview of relevant research activities within QUB during a 2 hr seminar and question time. The seminar was attended by approx. 200 Lubrizol employees and was also live-streamed live to staff at remote Lubrizol facilities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description San Diego Innovation Hub Panel Discussion, Northern Ireland Clinical Innovation Conference 2016 (Belfast) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact BioSpyder's CEO & Co-Founder, Joel McComb, took part in a San Diego Innovation Hub Panel Discussion at the Northern Ireland Clinical Innovation Conference 2016 highlighting his company's interaction with Queen's (funded through Proximity to Discovery) and his interaction with InvestNI regarding the company's business case for growth outside the US.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description SelectScience Interview (Dr Simpson) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interview to SelectScience about Assay Miniaturization Advances Cardiovascular Research at Queens University Belfast.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.selectscience.net/editorialfeatures.aspx?editorialFeatureID=47&videoID=3611
 
Description Seminar at Harland Medical (Minneapolis) (Dr Irwin) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation made to Harland team and directors to inform them of on-going research projects at QUB, capabilities and expertise available at QUB, and to outline potential ways in which we could work together to address industry needs.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Site Visit from Teleflex to Queens 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Teleflex visit to QUB on 08/11/17. Team included Denzell McBurney (Global Director of Urology and Advanced Engineering), John Victor (Vice President of Advanced Engineering), Graham Spence (Engineer). During the meeting the QUB and Teleflex teams discussed collaborative development projects. Teleflex provided an update on their current R&D priorities and QUB provided an update with regards to their recent research developments. Teleflex expressed interest in joint programmes of work and are currently internally assessing their areas of greatest priority in order to inform key strategic objectives for collaborative work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description SpheriTech Seminar (School of Pharmacy, Queen's University Belfast, hosted by Dr G Laverty) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact SpheriTech Ltd provided a seminar to Queen's University Belfast staff and student researchers, outlining company products available to investigators and research conducted by the company and opportunities for future collaborations/networking. This increased awareness of SpheriTech Ltd to researchers and highlighted opportunities for future collaboration. It has increased the researcher's understanding of important considerations in pharmaceutical development of biomolecular therapeutics, and the smart translation of research. Networking of SpheriTech Ltd with other QUB staff at this event has resulted in the potential collaboration in other research areas.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Student Project Presentation (Dr Dib) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact The BSc student who worked on the collaborative project between Dr K Dib and Ziarco Pharma Ltd gave an oral presentation to present the non-confidential aspects of work carried out in Dr Dib's laboratory and disseminate the research knowledge to other QUB academics and researchers attending the presentation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
 
Description Visit of Company (BioSpyder) to QUB (Belfast) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact This was a scientific retreat to finalise plans for pilot project to be completed within the Proximity to Discovery project and discuss collaborative agreement and potential future synergies with range of academics within QUB and explore future grant opportunities.

Outcome: 1) Finalised scope of pilot project. 2) progressed collaborative agreement discussion 3) Identified funding opportunities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Visit to Company (BioGelx Ltd, Scotland) (Dr. Lundy) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact PI visit to BioGelx Ltd in BioCity Scotland for delivery of a research summary presentation to the company.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Visit to Company (BioSpyder) (California) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact QUB academics were trained on lab and data analysis of Biospyder TempO-seq assays and also carried out analysis of pilot data. Further future grant opportunities were explored.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Workshop for key senior Lubrizol staff (QUB, Belfast) (Prof Malcolm) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Key senior Lubrizol staff (Global Technology Manager; President and Chief Operating Officer; Business Development Manager) visited QUB to learn more about some of the research activities within the School of Pharmacy and the Polymer Processing Research Centre at QUB. More than twenty QUB staff participated in the meetings, including leading academic researchers and key personnel from the QUB Research and Enterprise Directorate.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2016