Integrating Industry Engagement into the Vision for Queen’s Biomedical Research in 2020

Lead Research Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast

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.
 
Description Department for the Economy (NI) Collaborative Studentship Award Prof L Martin
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Organisation Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2019 
End 09/2022
 
Description Digital Toolkit for objective clinical assessment
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Organisation Invest Northern Ireland 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2019 
End 02/2020
 
Description Improving the lives of children with disabilities using postural support equipment: scoping collaborative industry-academic-clinical opportunities (Dr C Kerr) 
Organisation James Leckey Design
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Dr Claire Kerr (Queens) led on development of the proposal, performed scoping exercises and made initial contact with academic and clinical partners. Further to this Dr Kerr led on systematic review topic scoping, selected review methodology, conducted independent systematic searches, co-ordinated data extraction, interpreted results, manuscript preparation and development of patient and public involvement aspects (including co-ordination of meetings). Dr Kerr also liaised with Business Alliance team regard future funding.
Collaborator Contribution Leckey committed staff time and resources in developing a relationship with Dr Kerr and NHS clinicians. Leckey hosted local meetings, committed staff time for meetings, systematic review activities and external visits.Facilitated connections between UK clinical teams using therapeutic products relevant to the project. Brokered and facilitated meetings with the Connected Health Innovation Centre (N. Ireland)
Impact McConnell K, McGowan J, Finney L, McNeill S, Kerr C. A systematic review of the effectiveness of static supportive equipment in management of the hip in children with cerebral palsy. Presented at QUB School of Nursing and Midwifery Research Showcase, Sept 2017 Manuscript currently in preparation. Funding application drafted for submission to Connected Health Innovation Centre open call (submission Feb 2018). Multi-disciplinary: physiotherapy/allied health, biomedical engineering, computing.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Innovation and implementation of small RNA sequencing technologies with Bioo Scientific(Dr David Simpson) 
Organisation Bioo Scientific
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Dr Simpson provided experience of molecular biology, specifically analysis of RNA, in discussion about Bioo Scientific products. Dr Simpson also provided end user feedback and the customer perspective. Mr Ryan Wong (PhD Student) provided expertise, labour to test the protocols and assisted in developing these into a more user-friendly format. Queens provided access to beta testing of new products in an academic environment.
Collaborator Contribution Bioo Scientific's hosted Mr Ryan Wong (PhD student) at their laboratories in Austin, Texas for a 2 week period. This included the dedication of staff time to training and supervision of Mr Wong whilst in their laboratories. Opportunities were also afforded to provide Mr Wong with wider experience of work practices in industry. Throughout the project a Senior Scientist at Bioo Scientific engaged with Queens staff to discuss the implementation of their protocols and how they can be improved.
Impact Genomeweb webinar: https://genomeweb.webex.com/genomeweb/onstage/playback.php?RCID=dfce631cf1e536650caf14668315a7b1 Poster at American Society for Human Genetics meeting. Skills and experience gained by Mr Ryan Wong Access to new technology We anticipate that the samples currently being processed may identify biomarkers for heart disease
Start Year 2017
 
Description Proof of concept study to evaluate the application of novel GSK protease inhibitors in cystic fibrosis (Prof L Martin) 
Organisation GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
Country Global 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Prof Martin has led the collaboration and liaised closely with Dr Ho (GSK) to ensure the delivery of the project. The laboratory studies were conducted by Dr James Reihill (Senior PDRA), Ms Jessica Maye and Ms Lisa Douglas (PhD students) from the Martin group.
Collaborator Contribution Dr Ho arranged for the provision of novel compounds through MTA as well as a good body of data to facilitate laboratory studies. In addition, to being available for a number of TCs to discuss the work packages and resulting data, Dr Ho also arranged a student placement which enabled Lisa Douglas (PhD student, School of Pharmacy, Queens) to visit two GSK facilities in Philadelphia in August 2017.
Impact International student placement with global pharma (Lisa Douglas) Access to unique GSK compounds for research Publication in a high impact journal (pending) Conference presentations (pending) Relationship cemented with GSK with potential for future collaborative research Opportunity for future funding (under review) Multidisciplinary: Electrophysiology Biochemical Medicinal chemistry Drug discovery
Start Year 2017
 
Description Targeting biofilm associated proteases in acinetobacte baumannii: developing selective, non-antibiotic anti-biofilm compounds (Dr Williams & Prof Gilmore) 
Organisation Domainex
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Dr Rich Williams has led the collaboration with Domainex. Further to this both Dr Rich Williams and Prof Gilmore have been developing a strong relationship with Domainex on a number of additional projects. Queens have hosted site visits for Domainex to meet with PIs within the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) (Queens) exploring further opportunities for collaboration.
Collaborator Contribution Domainex supported the collaboration by assisting in the selection and design of molecules to explore structural activity relationship around the hit compounds identified and developed. In addition, Domainex delivered a seminar at Queens in order to develop the relationship with CCRCB further meeting with other research groups.
Impact This relationship has led to several grant applications to the Wellcome Trust and MRC. As part of this relationship the company is seeking to generate and provide projects from which Domainex can become involved as a fee for service company. As such, Domainex have offered: medicinal chemistry support (both mentoring and wet chemistry), biological screening (High Throughput Screening), computational modelling, ADME and in-vivo modelling.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Visit to Mitra Biotech (US) for knowledge exchange (Dr Darragh McArt) 
Organisation Mitra Biotech Pvt Ltd
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Queen's are contributing towards know how from a bioinformatic and computational biology context which adds to the productivity of the companies offering.
Collaborator Contribution MitraBiotech hosted Queens researchers.
Impact Several strong synergistic avenues both from an academic context as well as from a commercial opportunity are currently being explored that use skills learned from both partners. Multidisciplinary collaboration involving bioinformatics and software design.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Astra Zeneca Site Visit to Queens 
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 The Business Alliance Team supported a visit from Astra Zeneca (AZ) to Queen's involving AZ representatives Duncan Young, Vicki Foster, Terry Reed and Shaun Grady. This was a successful visit that fostered the following interactions; (1) Prof Lorraine Martin (School of Pharmacy) made a connection with the AZ respiratory group and is currently exploring potential mechanisms for collaboration (2) Dr Rich Williams (CCRCB) submitted an application to the AZ EPSRC CASE studentship competition (3) AZ had a specific interest in our entrepreneur schemes and Shaun Grady (VP of Business Development Operations) is currently in contact with Prof Margaret Topping (Dean of Graduate School) regarding AZ involvement in such training schemes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Bio 2017 
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 Alex Chacko, Queen's Commercial Development Manager, visited the 2017 Bio International Convention in order to identify potential Industry partners or collaborators. Dr Chacko met with several companies including Sanofi Aventis, Eli Lilly, Abbvie and Intezyne. Following these meetings Queen's has since registered as a member of the Eli Lilly open innovation drug discovery programme and hosted a visit from Dr Bakewell, Intezyne. Intezyne are currently exploring the possibility of a Phase 1 clinical trial with Queen's. Further to this, Dr Sandra Van Schaeybroeck has an agreed programme of work with Intezyne (sponsored biomarker research project) that is in the final stages of approval (approximate value of £250,000).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Biodesix Site Visit 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 The Business Alliance Team supported a visit from
Dr Mark Duncan, Senior Director, Proteomics Technology Development from Biodesix. The visit has fostered the following;
(1) Biodesix are interested in locating in NI/UK and Dr Frances Weldon/Prof David Waugh prepared a Value Proposition for the company which is currently under consideration.
(2) Dr Mark Duncan has subsequently reached out to Queen's researchers regarding the exploration of several potential collaborative research areas and the available funding opportunities to pursue this (MRC, INI).
(3) Dr Mark Duncan provided valuable insights to Dr Brian Green (academic lead on the Queen's Mass Spectrometry Core Technology Unit (CTU) into developing a successful model for a Mass Spectroscopy Facility that would be viable and an attractive proposition for potential industry users.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description European Academy of Childhood Disability 2017 - potential collaborator meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The intended purpose of the activity was to inform decision making involving a workshop discussion with potential collaborators. Outcomes: two key directions for future research scoped. All present interested in developing/continuing contact and relationship.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Exchange visit to Bioo Scientific (US) (Dr David Simpson) 
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 Mr Ryan Wong (PhD Student) completed an exchange to visit Bioo Scientific (Austin, Texas) receiving training in RNA extraction, small RNA library preparation and sequencing (including the use of new protocols not yet publicly available). Following his return, Mr Wong implemented a small RNA sequencing protocol at Queen's.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Focus groups with families of children with physical disabilities 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Patients, carers and/or patient groups
Results and Impact 20 parents of children with physical disabilities attended a series of focus groups (May/June 2019) to discuss day to day usefulness of a digital toolkit for clinical assessment of activity in paediatrics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Follow-up visit to MitraBiotech (USA) 
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 A second visit to MitraBiotech intended to develop plans for (a) a funding application and (b) perform a customer discovery exercise for the development of a bespoke framework and establishment of a more long term sustained partnership. Additionally a MSc student joined the visit with the purpose of career development. The company and QUB researchers have a shared vision on the development of a platform designed by Dr McArt.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Genomeweb webinar (Dr D Simpson) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Webinar on Genomeweb sponsored by BiooScientific. Dr Simpson described the evaluation of BiooScientific's NextFlex kit in comparison with a Small RNA kit from Qiagen.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://genomeweb.webex.com/genomeweb/onstage/playback.php?RCID=dfce631cf1e536650caf14668315a7b1
 
Description QUB Nursing and Midwifery Post-doctoral research showcase 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Purpose was to share information. Poster presentation at regional research showcase event. Outcomes: raised awareness of clinical/academic/industry collaboration across all three sectors
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Site Visit from StemCell Technologies 
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 Queens sponsored a site visit from Stemcell Technologies for the exploration of potential areas of collaboration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Student Placement with GSK (USA) 
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 Over the period of a week, Ms Lisa Douglas spent time with a number of groups, across disciplines relevant to the project: (1) Enzymatic/ selectivity (2) Protein biophysics to include molecular modelling of compound with target and (3) Safety and pharmacology.
Dr Ho also arranged unique access for Lisa to sit in on a team meeting which enabled her to gain a comprehensive overview of a drug discovery programme at GSK. The benefits to Ms Douglas from this placement were significant and a considerable amount of experience was gained across a number of disciplines. Importantly for career development and the development of transferable skills, Ms Douglas was able not to only experience a number of scientific environments but also gained an awareness of the business strategy/development side of the company and factors which have to be considered in the progression of a compound through the drug development pathway.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2017
 
Description UK potential NHS collaborator meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The purpose of the activity was to share information involving a researcher/clinician based in an NHS trust in England visiting QUB/Leckey to discuss research ideas and potential for future collaboration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Visit to MitraBiotech (USA) 
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 The activity was a 2 day trip to the Mitra Biotech facility in Woburn, Boston allowing QUB staff to get a sense of the overall structure of the company, including its vision and strategy. The objective of the visit is to facilitate knowledge exchange in order to scope and develop work packages that would form part of the proposed Grant for R&D application. This visit was instrumental in allowing QUB to understand Mitra's business and workflows. It also provided an extended period of time with MitraBiotech to define potential projects of mutual interest and draft proposals accordingly.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2017