The University of Manchester - Proximity to Discovery: Industry Engagement Fund - Phase 3

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester

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 Collaboration between Dr David Brough and Astex Pharmaceuticals 
Organisation Astex Pharmaceuticals
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Preparing the grounds for a framework agreement between DNEP/NMHD and Astex
Collaborator Contribution Awaiting final report
Impact Awaiting Final Report
Start Year 2017
 
Description Collaboration between Dr Helen Hawley-Hague and Philips 
Organisation Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.
Department Philips
Country Global 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Exploring the acceptability and potential impact of the use of predictive analytics in the prevention of falls and the management of long-term conditions.
Collaborator Contribution Project ongoing
Impact Awaiting project completion and final report
Start Year 2017
 
Description Collaboration between Dr Jordi Bella and Biogelx Hydrogel modification with recombinant, receptor-specific mini-collagens for tissue regeneration applications 
Organisation Biogelx
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution This project was initially planned as and Industrial Collaboration with Biogelx Ltd, a Scottish company manufacturing hydrogels for research. The original aim was to produce new synthetic collagen-hydrogel biomaterials with adjustable composition and stiffness for use in tissue engineering and regeneration therapies. Unfortunately Biogelx went into administration at the end of August 2021, before we could even start the project due to delays in recruitment (see below). We had to adapt the project to this new situation and importantly we lost the company financial contribution. The award is scheduled to end in three weeks, on the 31st of March 2022. However, we have been able to complete some of the originally planned work and have prepared a manuscript for submission with title "Incorporation of natural and recombinant collagen proteins within Fmoc-based self-assembling peptide hydrogels". We will submit the manuscript to the journal Gels (MDPI), for a Special Issue with title "Advances in Composite Gels". As part of this research we have been successful in producing recombinant mini-collagens with enhanced thermal stability. These mini-collagens have designed sequences (not existing in nature) and are effective cell adhesion substrates. They represent novel IP which could be potentially protected or licenced by the University. At the end of the project we will approach University of Manchester Innovation Factory to discuss the new IP and to explore if there are potential avenues for commercial development.
Collaborator Contribution The award is still live. Nevertheless, our data so far is encouraging and we are already planning to continue this research expanding to different types of collagen and different hydrogel chemistries. In the immediate future, work will be carried out by existing members of my laboratory and masters students doing their research project with us. Page Break In what ways might this benefit society and/or the economy? The global 3D cell culture market has been estimated to exceed the billion USD target and is predicted to grow annually in double digits over the next 5-10 years. Currently, animal-derived materials have the highest share of this market but synthetic or biotechnological materials are predicted the fastest growth due to increasing demand for animal-free products. The combination of our recombinant mini-collagens with different types of chemically synthesized hydrogels can provide tuneable cell-culture substrates with adjustable composition and stiffness to mimic a wide range of tissues and to better control stem cell phenotype, maintenance and differentiation. The data obtained during this project and its follow up will provide us with proof of concept to approach suitable manufacturers of hydrogels to discuss the combination of our recombinant mini-collagen technology with their hydrogel systems. These composite biotechnological collagen/hydrogel biomaterials will generate cost-competitive cell culture substrates with improved cell adhesion, proliferation, survival, and phenotype. These new biomaterials will be perfectly placed to have commercial impact in the expanding market of 3D cell culture for regenerative medicine applications.
Impact Awaiting Project completion and final report Publicaation pending
Start Year 2017
 
Description Collaboration between Prof Mark Dunne and Heptares 
Organisation Heptares Therapeutics Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Novel islet cell targets for metabolic diseases associated with hypoglycaemia
Collaborator Contribution Awaiting final report
Impact Project ongoing
Start Year 2017
 
Description Collaboration between Prof Mark Dunne and Zealand Pharma 
Organisation Zealand Pharma
Country Denmark 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The Development of Translational Data sets for Use in the Treatment of Hypoglycaemia
Collaborator Contribution Consumables, and access to technology and industry expertise
Impact Project ongoing
Start Year 2017
 
Description Collaboration between Prof Sue Kimber and Randox 
Organisation Randox Laboratories
Country Global 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Industry secondment of PDRA from UoM to Randox Laboratories, to extract industry expertise and progress the development of a novel pluripotency biomarker for use as a commercial antibody assay.
Collaborator Contribution Randox provided expertise around the area of commercial antibody production, and donated time in their laboratory and some consumables.
Impact Following the completion of the project, the PI is currently writing a paper for publication, and Randox have offered to file the patent and cover associated costs. . This is around novel biomarker combinations for the identification of pluripotency and very early identification of loss of pluripotency.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Collaboration between Prof Tjeerd Van Staa and Imosphere 
Organisation Imosphere Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Exploring new methods for clinical sample preparation with diagnostic potential
Collaborator Contribution Project ongoing
Impact Awaiting project completion and final report
Start Year 2017
 
Description New Collagen-Modified Hydrogels for Wound-Healing Applications 
Organisation Biogelx
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Established a new collaboration with Biogelx and the laboratory of Steve Richardson (UoM) to evaluate new formulations developed by Biogelx using cell culture assays. Materials from Biogelx have been sent to our laboratories for beta testing. Work is under way. Established a new collaboration with the Department of Chemical Engineering, Escola d'Enginyeria Barcelona Est-EEBE, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, to investigate physical and material properties of new recombinant collagen proteins produced during this project. Materials have been sent to Barcelona for experimental analysis and work is under way. Started a new collaboration with the Department of Biochemistry, University of Cologne, for structural biology analysis of some of the new recombinant collagen proteins produced during this project. Materials have been sent to Cologne and work is under way.
Collaborator Contribution as above
Impact New MRC-funded CASE PhD studentship to develop a modified collagen hydrogel-based osteoclast culture system (PhD student: Mattia Vitale; Title: Customized collagen-hydrogel matrices for osteoclast differentiation and culture; Supervisors: Judith Hoyland, Jordi Bella and Stephen M. Richardson; Start: September 2018). New UoM/WT funded Access to Expertise award with the National Biologics Manufacturing Centre, The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), Darlington, County Durham, to perform a "Cost of goods model for the manufacture of engineered recombinant collagens for tissue regeneration applications" Biogelx included a blog entry in their website where they highlighted our collaboration, "Application of Biogelx collagen in skin research. Interview with Louisa Dean", https://www.biogelx.com/application-biogelx-collagen-in-skin-research/. They have also run social posts in LinkedIn and Twitter. In all these posts they have specifically mentioned the MRC Proximity to Discovery - Industry Engagement Fund as supporting this research Knowledge of hydrogel preparation and evaluation transferred to UoM New recombinant collagen proteins with increased thermal stability Biogelx is keen to expand their product strategy to wound-healing and regenerative medicine applications. They were impressed by our data on fibroblast spreading on one of their hydrogels. We had one meeting with two Biogelx representatives including their CEO Mitch Scanlan and we are seeking to engage clinicians from UoM in future conversations.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Novel islet cell targets for metabolic diseases associated with hypoglycaemia 
Organisation Heptares Therapeutics Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution • Dunne. New funded research award with Heptares Therapeutics, 2017-18. • Dunne. New research collaboration with Heptares Therapeutics, initiated 2018. Initiative between UoM and The Royal Salford Hospital. Expected funding 2019
Collaborator Contribution As above
Impact Heptares Therapeutics: Contract-research project with the host laboratory (approximately £50k) to describe the impact of a series of proprietary compounds and agonists of a target GPCRs on islet function. Modification of a human insulin-secreting cell line without the functional expression of ATP-sensitive K-channels.
Start Year 2017
 
Description The Development of Translational Datasets for Use in the Treatment of Hypoglycaemia 
Organisation Zealand Pharma
Country Denmark 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution • Benerjee has partnered Zealand Pharmaceuticals to achieve orphan drug designation for a new drug dasiglucagon from European Medicines Agency (EMA). • Benerjee has partnered Zealand Pharmaceuticals to achieve regulatory approval from Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) • Benerjee has partnered Zealand Pharmaceuticals to obtain ethical approval for 3 phase 2/3 clinical trials to run in tandem, 2018 (tbc)-2021 • Banerjee/Dunne have partnered with Zealand Pharmaceuticals to establish the Manchester site as the UK Chief Investigator site for the international clinical trials.
Collaborator Contribution as above
Impact • Benerjee has partnered Zealand Pharmaceuticals to achieve orphan drug designation for a new drug dasiglucagon from European Medicines Agency (EMA). • Benerjee has partnered Zealand Pharmaceuticals to achieve regulatory approval from Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
Start Year 2017