Full Steam Ahead - Accelerating Industry Engagement through the Leicester Life Sciences Accelerator Innovation Hub and Life Science Opportunity Zone

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leicester

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
 
Title VariantValidator 
Description Novel and accurate base calling tool for the identification of disease causing genetic disease 
Type Of Material Data handling & control 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Better variant calling in the assignment of causal genetic mutations resulting in more accurate diagnosis of inherited diseases. The use of the new software is beinging tested and validated locally (through East Midlands & East of England NHS Genomic Laboratory Hub). Impact case for REF 2021. 
URL https://variantvalidator.org/
 
Description All-cause and cardio-renal-metabolic mortality in people with type 2 diabetes: a comparative international trend study. 
Organisation AstraZeneca
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Past experience of pharmacoepidemiologicalprojects related to The Efficacy of SGLT2 and cardiovascular risk in Real World Setting (CVD-REAL) Experience in investigating mortality trends and identify risk factors for cardio-renalmetabolic diseases using electronic health records datasets from several countries, including UK.
Collaborator Contribution AstraZeneca's experience of collating and analysing nationwide databases Access to collected data from primary care electronic health records from 5 countries (UK, Norway, Sweden, Spain and Canada) to compare all-cause and cardio-renal-metabolic mortality among people with and without diabetes (at no cost)
Impact Project in the set up phase - project initiation in June 2019. Expected outputs: * research report to be disseminated via publication in peer reviewed journal * help policy makers with an informed decision to focus on potential diabetes-related complication, * strengthen the role of UK as a global leader in epidemiological research using large scale electronic health record databases
Start Year 2018
 
Description Developing a research relationship with Nonacus 
Organisation Nonacus Ltd
PI Contribution Significant experience of detecting cancer causing mutations in lung and breast cancers using non invasive methodologies (ctDNA) Experience of monitoring for disease relapse using ctDNA assays Access to patient samples, clinical and follow up data Experience of beta testing kits for clinical/diagnostic validation
Collaborator Contribution Nonacus, a local SME, specialises in cancer genome analysis and developing customised targeted NGS panels for sequencing of ctDNA Experience of working with UoL as a service supplier
Impact Project in ste up pahse - paperwork and travel plans in progress for meetings in March & April 2019 Expected outcomes: * develop new collaborative research projects in CTC mutation/CN profiling and cfDNA methylation profiling. * discuss potential external funding opportunities (e.g. Innovate UK)
Start Year 2018
 
Description Discussion/consultation on a clinical trial of aortic dissection using anti-GM-CSF antibody 
Organisation Roivant Sciences Ltd
PI Contribution The University of Leicester applied for a patent using anti-GM-CSF antibody for prevention/treatment of aortic dissection (AD) in 2015 following a publication from my team in Nature Communications. Pre-clinical mouse model of AD Novel imaging biomarker of high risk AD patients/vessel location Access to patients through local (UoL/UHL), national and international clinical trails network Patents held for the use of Anti-GM-CSF antibodies in the treatment of AD
Collaborator Contribution Roivant Sciences is a pharmaceutical company that in-licenses late-stage drug candidates and develops them. With a focus on disease neglected diseases with high societal medical needs. Licensing access to pre-clinical validated anti-GM-CSF antibody for clinical use
Impact Project in start up phase - initial discussions not under confidentiality agreements (patents protection in place). Contracts will be put in place following the confirmation of licencing deal for anti-GM-CSF antibody. Outputs to date - Consultancy agreement in place - directly funded by Roivant Potential future outcomes: * Clinical trial - Roivant will need access to patent and patients * royalty opportunity on development of commercial marketed product Output and follow on funding opportunity from the MRC CiC funding provided for the pre-clincal (mouse model) funding though MC-PC_15045.
Start Year 2018
 
Description EMBER industry day 
Organisation AstraZeneca
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution UoL world leading experts in breathomics in partnership with University Hospitals Trust and Loughborough University as part of the East Midlands Breathomics Pathology Node (EMBER)
Collaborator Contribution Major Pharma companies interested in using breathomics approaches to stratify patients by: disease status or therapy response in real world clinical trials.
Impact Meeting was held on 14th Nov 2019. Discussions are ongoing to establish clinical trails at Uol/UHL
Start Year 2018
 
Description EMBER industry day 
Organisation GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
Country Global 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution UoL world leading experts in breathomics in partnership with University Hospitals Trust and Loughborough University as part of the East Midlands Breathomics Pathology Node (EMBER)
Collaborator Contribution Major Pharma companies interested in using breathomics approaches to stratify patients by: disease status or therapy response in real world clinical trials.
Impact Meeting was held on 14th Nov 2019. Discussions are ongoing to establish clinical trails at Uol/UHL
Start Year 2018
 
Description EMBER industry day 
Organisation MedImmune
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution UoL world leading experts in breathomics in partnership with University Hospitals Trust and Loughborough University as part of the East Midlands Breathomics Pathology Node (EMBER)
Collaborator Contribution Major Pharma companies interested in using breathomics approaches to stratify patients by: disease status or therapy response in real world clinical trials.
Impact Meeting was held on 14th Nov 2019. Discussions are ongoing to establish clinical trails at Uol/UHL
Start Year 2018
 
Description Exploring the collaborative landscape between Johnson Matthey and UoL 
Organisation Johnson Matthey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution PIs with significant transnational research experience in: early cancer detection - Circulating free DNA and next gen sequencing, breathomics (East Midlands Breathomics Pathology Node - EMBER) - measuring volatile organic compounds in exhaled breath for the development of novel biomarkers of disease and disease progression and treatment efficacy and metabolic biomarker identification for multimorbity (cardiometabolic disorders), AI and big data (access to clinical samples and data)
Collaborator Contribution Significant experience and knowledge of chemistry and its applications, we research, develop and innovate solutions to make the world cleaner and healthier. Delivery of short, medium and long-term research projects, giving us a sustained pipeline of new and enhanced products for patient benefit
Impact Visit to JM Head Offices on 21st Novemeber 2018 to: * discuss linkage of JM and UoL expertise to develop diagnostic products for use in NHS or for consumer health applications * scope of research ideas/projects * Identify potential funding sources (internal JM fund) and external (Innovate) Project in follow up phase and outputs will be formalised, contacts put in place and funding applied for over the next 2-3 months multidisciplinary collaboration - multi-morbidity, multiple disease areas, chemistry, proteomics, metabolomics, genomics, big data and AI Update March 2019
Start Year 2018
 
Description Far East academic-industrial collaborations 
Organisation Shimadzu Corporation
Country Japan 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Access to clinical trial and normal samples for assessing high throughput proteomic approaches to develop novel disease bio-markers and bio-markers for intervention efficacy Leicester PI is clinical/translational hub of the UK for MRC funded National Phenome Centre
Collaborator Contribution Contribution of equipment and proteomics protocols/data analysis for the establishment of a new biomarker discovery lab at UoL in combination with the National Phenome Centre
Impact The new biomarker discovery lab is currently in the set up phase - labs are being fitted out and equipment ready for installation (Update March 2019)
Start Year 2018
 
Description Genomics England uptake of VariantValidator 
Organisation Genomics England
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Development of novel variant identification tool for predicting the causal mutations in genetic disease Adaption of VV sofetware for bespoke alignment with Genomics England Ltd (GEL) pipelines
Collaborator Contribution Incorporation of VV into GEL pipelines Validation and testing of VV in
Impact exchange of ideas and collaborative improvements to clinically focused software grant application to Wellcome Trust (Technology Development Call) - preliminary application approved and full application in progress potential REF impact case Multidisciplinary approach- clinical genomics, IT, software development Addiational significant relationship established following on from previous P2D funding from MC-PC_15056.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Iinvestigation of machine learning approaches to integrate genomic profile and novel treatment strategies for stratification of patients to different risk groups 
Organisation Roche Pharmaceuticals
Country Global 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Collaboration with Roche to investigate machine learning approaches to integrate genomic profile and novel treatment strategies for stratification of patients to different risk groups. UoL brings significant experience in the development of biostatistical pipelines fro complex clinical trails data analytics.
Collaborator Contribution Roche Limited has access to a unique resource of patients with haematologic malignancies; the data include the genetic and epigenetic heterogeneity of individuals along with ex vivo drug efficacy of several inhibitors approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The initial findings of these data highlighted the potential of the heuristic value of an integrated functional genomic approach to the identification of novel treatment strategies (Kurtz etal, PNAS, 2017, E7554-E7563).
Impact The key milestones of the project are: ? Exploration of the deep-sequencing panel of genetic data; ? Assessment of drug panel data including both individual and combined inhibitors; ? Identification of potential candidates and possible modelling scenarios under the machine learning framework; ? Evaluation of selected machine learning algorithm(s) on the integrated data. ? Appraisal of the model outcomes, draw conclusions and identify future possibilities. The project focused on identifying a subgroup of patients diagnosed with follicular lymphoma (FL) or diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) who have High Unmet Medical Need (UMN) with available therapies. The project has addressed the theoretical issues of different machine learning models and develop a statistical analysis plan.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Intelligent systems for target identification of catheter ablation in atrial fibrillation 
Organisation Boston Scientific
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Novel machine learning algorithm to find accurately locate the atrial locations as targets for catheter ablation during persistent atrial fibrillation Experience in developing new non-invase methodologies for detecting atrial fibrillation Access to patients/patient data through multiple clinical trails (learning and test data sets)
Collaborator Contribution Companies - well know device manufactures in the field of heart disease
Impact Initial contact at European Heart Rhythm Association 17th-21st March - not under CDA - follow up meetings will be covered by appropriate IP protecting paperwork Presentation of pilot data (invited speaker) Expected outputs: 1) Further knowledge of the the size of potential market of the technology 2) Explore further research collaboration on improvement of the technology 3) Explore possibility to obtain more clinical data from other centres collaborating with industrial companies for training the machine learning model 4) Arrange further conversations with industry R&D
Start Year 2019
 
Description Intelligent systems for target identification of catheter ablation in atrial fibrillation 
Organisation Johnson & Johnson
Department Biosense Webster
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Novel machine learning algorithm to find accurately locate the atrial locations as targets for catheter ablation during persistent atrial fibrillation Experience in developing new non-invase methodologies for detecting atrial fibrillation Access to patients/patient data through multiple clinical trails (learning and test data sets)
Collaborator Contribution Companies - well know device manufactures in the field of heart disease
Impact Initial contact at European Heart Rhythm Association 17th-21st March - not under CDA - follow up meetings will be covered by appropriate IP protecting paperwork Presentation of pilot data (invited speaker) Expected outputs: 1) Further knowledge of the the size of potential market of the technology 2) Explore further research collaboration on improvement of the technology 3) Explore possibility to obtain more clinical data from other centres collaborating with industrial companies for training the machine learning model 4) Arrange further conversations with industry R&D
Start Year 2019
 
Description Intelligent systems for target identification of catheter ablation in atrial fibrillation 
Organisation Medtronic
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Novel machine learning algorithm to find accurately locate the atrial locations as targets for catheter ablation during persistent atrial fibrillation Experience in developing new non-invase methodologies for detecting atrial fibrillation Access to patients/patient data through multiple clinical trails (learning and test data sets)
Collaborator Contribution Companies - well know device manufactures in the field of heart disease
Impact Initial contact at European Heart Rhythm Association 17th-21st March - not under CDA - follow up meetings will be covered by appropriate IP protecting paperwork Presentation of pilot data (invited speaker) Expected outputs: 1) Further knowledge of the the size of potential market of the technology 2) Explore further research collaboration on improvement of the technology 3) Explore possibility to obtain more clinical data from other centres collaborating with industrial companies for training the machine learning model 4) Arrange further conversations with industry R&D
Start Year 2019
 
Description Maximising opportunities to engage with new industry for breathomics 
Organisation Novartis
Country Global 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Close working relationship in developing mask for breathomics studies - mass spec identification of volatile organic compound in exhaled breath to develop disease specific biomarkers and biomarkers of disease exacerbation/progression (COPD and exacerbated asthma)- developing new approaches. Current interactions are at an early stage and therefore non-confidential - correct contractual paperwork will be put in place as projects develop.
Collaborator Contribution Owlstone - Development of mask and breath capture technologies Pharma - implementation of current breathomics methodology in clinical trails for novel therapeutics
Impact new work with Owlstone - still in discussion no new clinical trails established to date Update March 2019
Start Year 2018
 
Description Maximising opportunities to engage with new industry for breathomics 
Organisation Owlstone Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Close working relationship in developing mask for breathomics studies - mass spec identification of volatile organic compound in exhaled breath to develop disease specific biomarkers and biomarkers of disease exacerbation/progression (COPD and exacerbated asthma)- developing new approaches. Current interactions are at an early stage and therefore non-confidential - correct contractual paperwork will be put in place as projects develop.
Collaborator Contribution Owlstone - Development of mask and breath capture technologies Pharma - implementation of current breathomics methodology in clinical trails for novel therapeutics
Impact new work with Owlstone - still in discussion no new clinical trails established to date Update March 2019
Start Year 2018
 
Description Maximising opportunities to engage with new industry for breathomics 
Organisation Pfizer Global R & D
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Close working relationship in developing mask for breathomics studies - mass spec identification of volatile organic compound in exhaled breath to develop disease specific biomarkers and biomarkers of disease exacerbation/progression (COPD and exacerbated asthma)- developing new approaches. Current interactions are at an early stage and therefore non-confidential - correct contractual paperwork will be put in place as projects develop.
Collaborator Contribution Owlstone - Development of mask and breath capture technologies Pharma - implementation of current breathomics methodology in clinical trails for novel therapeutics
Impact new work with Owlstone - still in discussion no new clinical trails established to date Update March 2019
Start Year 2018
 
Description Maximising opportunities to engage with new industry for breathomics 
Organisation Sanofi
Department Merial Plc
Country Global 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Close working relationship in developing mask for breathomics studies - mass spec identification of volatile organic compound in exhaled breath to develop disease specific biomarkers and biomarkers of disease exacerbation/progression (COPD and exacerbated asthma)- developing new approaches. Current interactions are at an early stage and therefore non-confidential - correct contractual paperwork will be put in place as projects develop.
Collaborator Contribution Owlstone - Development of mask and breath capture technologies Pharma - implementation of current breathomics methodology in clinical trails for novel therapeutics
Impact new work with Owlstone - still in discussion no new clinical trails established to date Update March 2019
Start Year 2018
 
Description Nonacus placement to learn and develop next-generation sequencing methodologies 
Organisation Nonacus Ltd
PI Contribution Significant experience of detecting cancer causing mutations in lung and breast cancers using non invasive methodologies (ctDNA) Experience of monitoring for disease relapse using ctDNA and whole exome sequencing approaches Access to patient samples, clinical and follow up data Experience of beta testing kits for clinical/diagnostic validation(tumour and germline samples)
Collaborator Contribution Nonacus, a local SME, specialises in cancer genome analysis and developing customised targeted NGS panels for sequencing of ctDNA.
Impact Project in start up phase - due to commence late March 2019 The anticipate outputs of the exchange are: * experience an industry environment for PhD student * data towards PhD projects including industry standard bioinformatic pipelines and the co-development of customised targeted NGS panels, * translational research grant applications (>£200K including Wellbeing of Women, Wellcome Trust, Rosetrees Trust) * strategic POC support date for an application for an MRC Biomedical Catalyst Award .
Start Year 2018
 
Description Novel expectorant sample processing accelerating development of face mask sampling and biomarker analysis 
Organisation QuantuMDx Group Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution UoL's Mask Aeorosol Sampling system (MASS) has demonstrated potential to detect TB in patients who do not cough. Set up (inc Cat III laboratory and patient sample access) to investigate the compatibility of solublised mask material with QuantuMDx CAPTURE-XT and Q-POC technology for bacterial concentration, lysis and DNA extraction with molecular detection of target pathogens, including TB bacteria.
Collaborator Contribution QuantuMDx will contribute staff time and provide access to experimental CAPTURE-XT research rigs and Q-POC devices with full training Expertise in the development (spin out) of clinically relevant diagnostics for microbiological infections
Impact The project is in start up phase - contracts etc with the placement due to begin April 2019. Anticipated outputs from the project include: * Findings will support a Wellcome Trust Innovator Award application, to involve QuantuMDx for development of a front-end module to integrate MASS samples with Q-POC * development of a novel end-to-end process for the non-invasive diagnostics for TB *publication of high impact papers Opportunity for commercial engagement for MRC CiC funding from MC-PC_16051
Start Year 2018
 
Description Phylogenetic analysis of malignant mesothelioma 
Organisation Novogene Corporation
PI Contribution We are currently undertaking a deep interrogation of mesothelioma evolution in a prospective study known as MEDUSA. MEDUSA will generate both unique training and validation cohorts, which can serve as input for machine learning i.e.131 sequenced exomes (plus 100 patients to recruit) = 600 exomes (at 5 regions per tumour + germline), plus whole genome and RNAseq in order to to further elucidate the subclonal architecture of mesothelioma and its impact on clinical outcomes.
Collaborator Contribution Novogene (China) has been involved in providing the next generation whole exome sequencing capacity for MEDUSA study (mesothelioma evolution: Drugging somatic alterations). Novogene is always being on the forefront of the field of bioinformatics analysis and its founder Dr Ruiqiang Li has developed the SOAP: short oligonucleotide alignment program. Novegene has strong bioinformatics team, around 40% of their scientific staff are bioinformaticians with significant expertise in applying Innovative Artificial Intelligence methodologies into their genetic data analysis.
Impact Project is in start up phase- the paperwork is in progress and the placement to China will take place in June 2019 Expected Outcomes: * better understanding of sequencing, manage their projects and develop their NGS pipeline to bring back to UoL * strengthen collaboration with between Leicester cancer research centre/mesothelioma research programme and Novogene, to support the successful bioinformatics analysis of MEDUSA project *POC data for future grant applications of Dean * high impact publication * joint Ph.D studentship with Novogene within next two years.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Predicting adherence to a diabetes prevention programme 
Organisation Ingeus
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The development of the successful diabetes programme that is now being implemented by Ingeus for NHS England and follow on input to successful Ingeus bid for programme delivery
Collaborator Contribution Successful bid to NHS England to deliver the NHS the Diabetes Prevention Programme (NDPP), attended by >65,00 people to date.
Impact Placement will look at prognostic data to model issues preventing patients completing the programme & to develop interventions to increase adherence. Placement to be undertaken May 2019 - contracts in progress. Expected outcomes include: research collaborations, peer reviewed publications and input into REF impact case studies
Start Year 2018
 
Description commercialisation and scale up processsed for medical devices 
Organisation JEB Technologies Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Expert in developing low volume prototype solutions for medical research projects Information exchange to reduce loss of time and efficacy due to the redesign needs for mass production of medical devices (such as stents
Collaborator Contribution Commercial manufacturing processes Information exchange to reduce loss of time and efficacy due to the redesign needs for mass production of medical devices (such as stents)
Impact Contracts and paperwork is under preparation for a placement to take place July 2019 (update March 2019)
Start Year 2018
 
Description screen to identify inhibitors of NEK kinases 
Organisation AstraZeneca
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Significant background knowledge of NEK kinase targets in cancer Biophysical assays for molecule/target engagement - ADP-Glo assays to screen potential kinase inhibitors Evidence of drugability of kinase targets (commercially available compounds)
Collaborator Contribution High throughput set up to maximise efficacy of kinase screens Access to novel compounds (AZ IP) Information about industrial criteria for the analysis of assay (efeficiency and the accuracy)
Impact * Improved by the automation system to bring back industrial standards for performing biochemical assays to UoL * 2340 compounds screened and EC50 activity profiles obtained for NEK1 & 8 kinases * Ongoing med chem programme with AZ is shortlisting compounds for future development - high specificity, selective binding and appropriate physico-chemical properties for drug discovery platform for NEK1 kinase * Publication in preparation for targeting NEK8 Follow on support and commercial engagement for project supported from other MRC P2D & CiC wards (MC_PC_15056, MC_PC_16051 & MC_PC_17171) Update March 2019
Start Year 2018
 
Description Industry Academia Exchange Launch 
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 Launch of the new MRC funding award - showcase of successful placements from MRC P2D MC-PC_15056. Including video highlights and live presentations from secondees and companies. Talks addressed the positive outputs on a personal level (how industry/accademia work), the gathering of proof of concept data (for larger commercial projects and grant applications), publications and the establishment on long standing relationships.
Positive outputs were noted on both sides and heightened interest in the exchange programme has resulted from this. This is especially true for the early career researcher group who now account for the majority of out placements under the IAX scheme (for the 2016 award it was predominantly academic PIs).
A number of new relationships were developed at this meeting e.g. further links between Protexin and researchers in our Renal Team.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018