Oxford P2D: From Technologies to Therapies

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford

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

10 25 50
 
Description Women Entrepreneurs - ACE (Awareness Connectivity and Exchange)
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact The WE ACE program is inclusive and diverse. We followed two main strategies to ensure that: 1- this program is free of charge to participants. The reason behind that is to lower barriers to entry for women and relive them from an unnecessary economic burden (one of the recommendations from reports mentioned above is investing in women's training). This reduces socio-economic based discrimination. 2- We have also widened the reach of our program and increased the diversity of the cohorts by offering 25-30% of the available spaces to women with no direct affiliation to the University of Oxford. It is worth noting that our cohorts represented diverse backgrounds including BAME at a high rate (19 WE ACE 2021 participants identified with 15 different backgrounds including at least 5 participants). This is why in this report, we specify the impact was international; because of the virtual nature of the program (on-line), geographic location was not a barrier and some of our participants joined the program from the USA, India, and Australia. The impact of the program can be divided in two: one of qualitative and quantitative feedback of the participants during and after completing the program and second in the tangible consequences the program had on the participants. 1- The full feedback reports from both WE ACE 2020 and WE ACE 2021 are available upon request. I summarise some findings below: Quantitative feedback (cohorts 2021, 16 responders out of 19 participants): When asked about the overall satisfaction from the course, the evaluation of facilitators and program content based on various criteria the score was invariably above 88% classified as "excellent". All participants said they would recommend the program to others. In fact, few of the 2021 cohort participants were referrals from previous participants or innovation supporters who learnt about the program. Qualitative feedback When asked how they would describe the program, these were the words that participants used: eye opening, inspirational, coaching Sisterhood, confidence-building, caring, excellent, embracing vulnerability, empowering, collaborative, insightful, exhilarating, challenging, community building, fun, self-discovery, coming out of your shell. • An example of why participants thought the program's content was excellent: "Every session involved us trying out different scenarios which pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me try tactics I have never used/ am not comfortable with before. Every session felt like a real life negotiation/reflection session. I have felt a range of emotion (empathy, drive, compassion,determination, management of temperament etc) in this time. this was great learning about myself as well. There was so much love and care put into everything and balanced so well with theory! I enjoyed taking part in the programme." • An example of why participants thought the facilitators were excellent: "The facilitators did a fantastic job in creating incredible content, choosing scenarios and creating 1:1 reflection and discussions. This was incredible. I would love to engage with all of them in future. They and all the participants made me feel very safe and provided a close-confidant perspective to my leadership presence. Experts in the field! So grateful to be a part of this!" • Examples of why participants thought the most helpful aspects of the program: "I learnt a lot about my negotiation styles, behaviour under pressure etc. I also understood the limitations that I subject myself to, which can unfavourably affect my working. I also learnt different approaches the people employ to get the best outcomes out" "I think gaining awareness about some aspect of myself - where my self-confidence comes from, what triggers me and how I react to that trigger, and how I present myself. I liked getting feedback from others who pointed out things I myself wouldn't spot. I also liked learning from other people's examples." "The constant opportunity to speak and reflect on my own opinion about difficult subjects that I hadn't encountered before was a true learning experience." • Examples of what participants learnt from this experience: "Leadership presence, negotiation tactics, friendships with very strong women - who will be my future support systems :) To just go for it! To contact people, to have meetings, you just never know unless you try! breathing techniques before a meeting" "I really liked that we worked on realistic examples of negotiation situation, pitching, etc. Knowing that I did that well, gives me additional confidence for the future. But I think most importantly for me personally, I have realized that I should stand up for my own ideas, values, etc. more, and improved a bit how to do it in a 'grounded' way so I think that's something very tangible I will be taking away from the programme." "I learned to listen, be more empathetic, and more understanding of other people's take on different subjects. I learned a great deal about my own shortcomings and more importantly, how to address these and grow as a leader and that leadership comes in different flavours." • When asked about their intention to continue the relationship with the WE ACE community: "I would love to engage with any kind of activities (support/campaign management/program facilitation etc) that might assist in the subsequent COHORTs of WE ACE." "I would like to remain part of the WE ACE community and would like to continue to remind in communication with the 2021 cohort." • Examples of impact on the women's careers and ventures Some of the participants ventures and what they achieved since completing the WE ACE program is on the WE ACE website which we have provided the URL for. 2- Some tangible success stories I would like to highlight here: Two participants, Dragana Savic (WE ACE 2020) and Weronika Slesak (WE ACE 2021), have founded their startups and joined the IMAGINE IF! pre-accelerator to take their ventures further, both in life sciences. Dr Mehak Mumtaz (WE ACE 2020), COO and co-founder of iLof, Intelligent Lab on Fiber, powered by AI and serves in the space of precise and patient-centric drug development, won various competition as female founder as well as funding; she acknowledged the tremendous impact the program had on pitching and negotiating confidently and successfully. Dr Michelle Tang (WE ACE 2020) co-founded SynaptixBio to develop novel lifesaving therapies for paediatric leukodystrophies. She serves as co-founder and CSO. Dr Martine Abboud (WE ACE 2020) founded the Creo accelerator, based in the Middle East to support women entrepreneurs in the region, immediately after she exited WE ACE 2020; Martine acknowledged the direct impact WE ACE had on her turning a yearn to start a business for years into action, inspired specifically by the mission of WE ACE, to transform women's mindset as entrepreneurs rather than just focus on skill. Dr Anaid Benitez (WE ACE 2021) is developing a real-time DNA damage repair diagnostics test to assess the DNA repair capacity of tumour samples to help clinicians stratify patients into more effective treatment strategies. Anaid attributes her success in securing a place in the highly competitive Cancer Tech Accelerator program to the WE ACE program and the support she had from the experts and peers. More on the impact and success stories on the WE ACE website (URL link provided).
URL https://iwanroberts0.wixsite.com/weace
 
Description Industry sponsored Post-doctoral Fellowships for Network
Amount $1,500,000 (USD)
Funding ID The precise final monetary value is being calculated 
Organisation Janssen Research & Development 
Sector Private
Country Global
Start 06/2020 
 
Description Newton Institutional Links Fund (Turkey/UK): Investigation of Wnt-catenin signalling at the plasma membrane in health and disease
Amount £340,000 (GBP)
Organisation British Council 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2018 
End 01/2020
 
Description Collaboration with Evox 
Organisation EvOx Therapeutics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Evox therapeutics were invited to speak at the Industry Insight Seminar series about Exosome-Based Therapies for the Treatment of Rare Genetic Diseases. From this and other activities, the University of Oxford was awarded £646,003 to study "Hybrid nanoparticles of extracellular vesicles and adenoassociated viruses (AAVs) as an innovative gene replacement therapy for phenylketonuria"
Collaborator Contribution Evox Therapeutics, a world-leading company developing transformative extracellular vesicle (EV) therapeutics, will provide access to highly innovative techniques and industry expertise. This together with the University of Oxford's vast experience working with EVs as therapeutic agents and the field of rare genetic diseases, will allow the team in Oxford to build an innovative gene replacement strategy, harnessing the best characteristics of EVs and Adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) in a single system. The result will be a fundamentally new way to treat patients suffering from rare monogenic diseases without exceptions, safely, efficiently, and repeatedly.
Impact This project will capitalize on the strengths of both the Oxford laboratory and Evox Therapeutics, EVs as therapeutic agents and the field of rare genetic diseases providing the opportunity for a student to gain skills in state-of-the-art techniques in whole organ physiology, translational medicine, nanomedicine, and gene therapy.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Collaboration with Merck 
Organisation Merck
Department Merck UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Visiting and discussing scientific collaboration with Merck and formation of Strategic Partnership between Merck and Oxford. We aim to establish deep collaborative working. Follow up teleconferences are in progress and there is huge optimism that this will work.
Collaborator Contribution Frequent discussions with Merck about strategic partnership
Impact This has just begun
Start Year 2016
 
Description Collaboration with Novonordisk Research Centre 
Organisation Novo Nordisk
Country Denmark 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We are working together with the new Novonordisk Research Centre to genereate resources to facilitate the differentitation of human stem cells into mature endocrine beta-cells.
Collaborator Contribution We have generated constructs suitable enabling any stem cell line to be equipped with the machinery for site-specific genome editing. We are also working towards constructs which will enable lineage tracing during the differentiation of stem cells in vitro.
Impact The work has only just begun
Start Year 2018
 
Description Collaboration with Sysnav 
Organisation Sysnav
Country France 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Consultation on development of the Actimyo device (magneto-inertial device). Using and testing the Actimyo device in natural history studies.
Collaborator Contribution Development and production of the Actimyo device, analysis of Actimyo data from studies. For one collaborative project/trial, we have received substantial investment from a charity to run a trial, and the ActiMyo device will be one of the outcome measures used. As such, Sysnav have made an in kind contribution by providing the ActiMyo devices at cost (approx. £1750 each instead of £6800, an overall savings of £200K).
Impact Development of a secondary outcome measure for clinical trials in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy recognised by the EMA (2021). Ongoing collaboration to utilize Actimyo as an outcome measure for Angelman Syndrome to determine the natural progression of the disease. There are multiple therapies currently in clinical trial, and this device will be instrumental in assisting us to determine the efficacy of the treatment.
Start Year 2011
 
Description Oxford-IBM Scientific Workshop 
Organisation IBM
Department IBM Research in the UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The Business Partnerships Team has supported the growing research partnership between Oxford and IBM for many years and we organised all aspects of this conference.
Collaborator Contribution IBM Research are active collaborators across a wide range of scientific areas at the interface of physical and Life sciences. For this workshop they helped co-develop the scientific agenda and provided half of the speakers and attendees.
Impact The partnership is still in it's development phase. The main outcomes have been the establishment of a new doctoral training programme. This is funded through EPSRC iCASE awards and spans many disciplines at the interface of physical and life sciences. We are also in continuing discussion about a much larger and broader research partnership. IBM are very active and equal partners in all our ongoing research and have contributed significant in kind contributions of people and technological resources to the partnership.
Start Year 2017
 
Title Angelman Syndrome Natural History Study - FAST UK 
Description Actimyo device is a magneto-inertial device being used in the Angelman Syndrome Natural History Study to identify sensitive outcome measures for upcoming clinical trials in Angelman. This trial is funded through FAST-UK. This device has previously been tested in a number of trials for different conditions, inlcuding DMD, MS, ALS, SMA and PD (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifiers: NCT02785978; NCT04882904; NCT04882891; NCT04888702; NCT04888689; NCT03882827; NCT03039686). 
Type Diagnostic Tool - Non-Imaging
Current Stage Of Development Early clinical assessment
Year Development Stage Completed 2021
Development Status Under active development/distribution
Clinical Trial? Yes
UKCRN/ISCTN Identifier NCT05100810
Impact This device is currently being utilized as an outcome measure to assess the natural progression of the disease, Angelman Syndrome. Whilst this study is ongoing, a number of clinical trials using gene therapies to treat Angelman Syndrome are currently underway, and this device will be instrumental in assisting us to determine the efficacy of these treatment, and whether they improve motor function. 
 
Title Oxford Acute Myocardial Infarction (OxAMI) Study 
Description CMR Imaging to assess hyper-acute changes in the human myocardium after STEMI 
Type Diagnostic Tool - Imaging
Current Stage Of Development Early clinical assessment
Year Development Stage Completed 2018
Development Status Under active development/distribution
Impact Improved/accelerated research approaches 
 
Description AIM days 
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 The P2D fund has allowed us to run Academic Industry Meeting Days (AIMdays), which support effective academic-industry networking and, in particular, engagement with small and medium sized companies (SMEs). AIMdays provide companies with a platform to host roundtable discussions with a group of academics with common interests. Each discussion is focused around a "challenge" that the company submits and this allows industry to set the agenda for the day. Academics and clinicians from across the University of Oxford then sign up to participate in multidisciplinary discussions centred around these questions, with academics attending from a wide range of different departments. For our academics, AIMdays provide them with a chance to find out how their knowledge could be used to solve industry challenges. It is also a great way for them to widen their network and to meet potential industrial collaborators and employers.

The AIMdays in Microbiome (2020) and Experimental Medicine in Psychiatry (2021) were attended by a total of 98 academics, 33 doctoral students and representatives of 20 companies. There was a representative from one of the UK funding bodies at each AIMday as well.

The majority of academics attending the AIMdays are at postdoc level (56%), followed by professors or principal investigators (22%) and finally doctoral students (18%), making it a great opportunity for early-career researchers to get exposure to industry in an informal setting. Participating companies also benefit by accessing a group of self-selecting researchers with whom there may be potential collaborative opportunities. In particular, the AIMday format provides a low barrier route for SMEs to engage with a wide range of academics and clinicians at the University. There is no cost to participants, apart from their time. This, together with the assurance that companies will be meeting academics with common interests, is a great incentive for SMEs, who often have limited time and flexibility. For larger companies, it allows them to expand their existing networks and meet academics in disciplines with whom they may not usually interact. 62% of the companies that participate in AIMdays are SMEs.

Additionally, at one of our most recent AIMdays, in Microbiome, 60% of the companies that responded to our post-event survey said that the event facilitated their first interaction with Oxford academics. Outcomes from AIMdays include several follow up meetings, many of which are still at an early-stage. Some more concrete outcomes are already apparent, such as a grant co-application being awarded to an academic from Oxford University for a project with one of the companies that attended the Experimental Medicine in Psychiatry AIMday.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021
URL https://www.medsci.ox.ac.uk/divisional-services/support-services-1/business-development/networking-e...
 
Description Academic Industry Meeting Day- Biomedical Imaging 
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 Series of workshops based on questions led by industry on the theme of biomedical imaging: academics offered insight and possible solutions to the challenges. Impact includes a successful Innovate UK bid (£17.5M) amongst academic and industrial collaborators who met at this event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2018-11-06-oxford-secures-%C2%A3175-million-lead-national-ai-healthcare-pro...
 
Description Industry Insight Seminar Series 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Selected industry speakers provide monthly seminars that are scientific in nature, across a range of medical or health topics. Seminars provide a way in, for Business Partnership Managers to start collaborating with a new company and to find Oxford scientists with the expertise and interest to join a collaboration. They allow University of Oxford scientists to network with industry scientists and are suitable for all scientists with some knowledge or interest in each topic area, from PhD students to PIs. They allow Business Partnership Managers to maintain and strengthen relationships with strategic partners. Industry scientists, located in the University of Oxford BioEscalator, as well as local spinouts are invited to attend. Companies and academics from Oxford, across the UK and across the world attend.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020,2021,2022
URL https://www.medsci.ox.ac.uk/divisional-services/support-services-1/business-partnerships-office/netw...
 
Description Microscopy Workshop Izmir, Turkey 10.2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Teaching of basics of optical microscopy to public/scientists in Turkey - funded by the British Council
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Microscopy Workshop Lubljana, 9.2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Teaching of basics of optical microscopy to public/students
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Networking and Actimyo Presentation to Oxford Clinical Researchers and Health Care Professionals 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Oxford-based academics and health care practitioners working and conducting research in the field of movement disorders were invited to a meeting in which Sysnav presented the Actimyo device and spoke about its applications in research. The meeting provided the platform for researchers to hear about the innovative technology and for Sysnav to meet key opinion leaders in the relevant fields of application. Participants also had the opportunity to meet with a representative from Roche during this meeting (Paul Strijbos) which translated into a collaborative publication: Stride Velocity 95th Centile: Insights into Gaining Regulatory Qualification of the First Wearable-Derived Digital Endpoint for use in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Trials.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Oxford Pint of Science Talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I talked on the technology to a lay audience as part of the Pint of Science event - there was a lively discussion following my talk.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://pintofscience.co.uk/
 
Description School Visit (Radley) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 70 pupils attended a presentation at a school which profiled the work we are doing with genome editing using mouse models of human disease. There was a large discussion on the 3Rs at the Q&A.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018