Manchester – Confidence in Concept 2019

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: UNLISTED


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 Confidence in Concept (CIC) scheme is a key part of MRC’s translational research strategy and provides annual awards to institutions to flexibly support a portfolio of early stage translational research projects. CIC is designed to accelerate the transition from discovery research to viable translational projects by supporting preliminary studies to establish proof-of-concept so that the approach will then become competitive for more substantial translational funding.


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Description Immune-privileged, immortal, myogenic stem cells for gene therapy of Muscular Dystrophy. (UniMab)
Amount € 2,345,625 (EUR)
Funding ID 884952 
Organisation European Research Council (ERC) 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 01/2021 
End 12/2025
Description Wellcome Trust A2E
Amount £25,000 (GBP)
Organisation Wellcome Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Description Royce/TATA Steel Collaboration 
Organisation Henry Royce Institute
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution 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. Combination of our recombinant collagen technology with self-assembling 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. These collagen-modified hydrogels have the potential for easy and cost-effective production of biomaterials for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Our recombinant collagen technology can overcome some of the problems of animal-derived collagens associated with zoonotic risks, sample heterogeneity and degradation or limited engineering capability, or the difficulties in collagen-like peptide synthesis. We have already encountered instances where the synthesis of some designed collagen-like peptides has proven too challenging for peptide manufacturers, whereas recombinant versions of the same designs will be easy to produce in house with our technology. Additionally, we can manufacture recombinant collagens with sequences that do not occur in nature, much longer that what can be achieved currently via chemical peptide synthesis. These engineered collagens can lead to novel applications in tissue regeneration and potentially. As an indirect benefit, our protocols of hydrogel modification with collagens will be applicable to the design of hydrogels incorporating antimicrobial peptides, which could be particularly useful for wound healing applications.
Collaborator Contribution As a follow-up of this research we have been successful in producing recombinant mini-collagens with enhanced thermal stability, with novel characteristics, and with potential antimicrobial activity. 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. We have pending a meeting with University of Manchester Innovation Factory to discuss the new IP and to explore if there are potential avenues for commercial development.
Impact Royce / TATA Steel collaboration. This is a research collaboration between the Royce Institute at the University of Manchester, University of Sheffield, Imperial College London, and University of Cambridge. I am one of the named collaborators. Details of the agreement still being finalised.
Start Year 2023
Description iMATCH 
Organisation Innovate UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution This project has built upon our pre-clinical data in the MPSII mouse model and takes the treatment a step closer to the clinic. We now have funding through Avrobio to run a clinical trial in 21/22 for 5 patients with MPSII. This treatment could revolutionise the treatment of MPSII.
Collaborator Contribution as aboe
Impact publications
Start Year 2021
Description A guidance system for guiding a clinician in delivering a needle to a target location within a hollow organ in a patient's body. The guidance system includes: a computing device; a target sensor configured to provide target sensor data describing the position of the target sensor, wherein the target sensor is configured to be positioned at or proximate to the target location within the hollow organ; a needle sensor configured to be carried by the needle or a device on which the needle is mounted, and to provide needle sensor data describing the position and orientation of the needle; at least one information delivery device configured to deliver information to the clinician. The computing device is configured to, using the target sensor data and needle sensor data, compute targeting information describing at least the orientation of the needle relative to the target location, and to use the at least one information delivery device to deliver guidance information to the clinician for assisting the clinician in delivering the needle to the target location, based on the targeting information 
IP Reference WO2023285826 
Protection Patent / Patent application
Year Protection Granted 2023
Licensed No
Impact This research demonstrates a clinically significant benefit that can be realised through further research in terms of patient outcomes, length of stay within the ICU and reduced healthcare costs.
Company Name Polynerve 
Description Polynerve develops a synthetic nerve conduit for use in nerve graft surgeries. 
Year Established 2022 
Impact Currently applying for funding