Lab roundup 1 May - Discovery Park, UK Space Agency, Leica, MiNA Therapeutics, Horiba, Tecan and more
28 Apr 2023
Discovery Park has appointed Birkbeck (University of London) Bio-business programme director and entrepreneur Renos Savva as its new Head of Innovation. The co-founder of Domainex, Savva said: “I know first hand the challenges faced by life science businesses - including unlocking funding and being able to access the facilities you need. A large part of my role is mentoring and supporting the many businesses located at Discovery Park, as well as building our network even further.”
The UK Space Agency has announced it is launching a £20 million International Bilateral Fund (IBF) to strengthen strategic relationships with international partners and boost new partnerships from emerging space nations. Available to industry, research and academia organisations, it will initially provide up to £2 million to aid research projects such as Earth Observation, space traffic control and space debris, with more funding introduced over two years. The agency will oversee the first segment of funding with the Science and Technology Facilities Council. The money will aid 30 project proposals, which could each receive amounts up to £75,000. Successful proposals will be entitled to a second phase of IBF funding of up to £1.5 million over a year. This follows the newly-created Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) £370 million investment plan to establish the UK’s status as a global science and technology superpower by 2030.
Engineering design and manufacturing company, Illustrious Healthcare Solutions, has partnered with University Hospital Southampton (UHS) to develop an innovative Critical Care Transfer Stack (CCTS) that improves internal transfer of critically ill patients within acute healthcare environments. The CCTS is a mobile frame which attaches onto a bed to support life-saving medical devices such as monitors, ventilators, O2 cylinders and accessories. These devices are mounted to the vertical aspect of the CCTS for visibility during patient transfer. They also safely transport cylinder holders, suction units, include integrated storage areas and contain an integrated power supply unit.
Pioneer of small activating RNA (RNAa) therapeutics, MiNA Therapeutics, signed a multi-target research collaboration and option licensing agreement with BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. The collaboration will allow for the discovery, and potential development and commercialization of RNAa therapeutic candidates targeting a number of rare genetic diseases. BioMarin will employ MiNA Therapeutics’ proprietary RNAa algorithm and technology platform to identify and characterize RNAa molecules targeting a number of genetic diseases for which there are currently no or minimal therapeutic options. MiNA CEO Robert Habib stated: “Our RNAa therapeutic platform has delivered unique and differentiated clinical benefits in other early clinical studies, demonstrating that MiNA’s platform may have significant benefits over other genetic medicine approaches.’’
Microscopy and scientific instruments providerLeica Microsystems’ Mica microhub has won the Red Dot Design Award 2023. The solution leverages machine learning software, automation tools, and fluorescence unmixing techniques to automate the imaging workflow for researchers, regardless of microscopy experience. The company claims Mica eliminates more than 85% of setup steps. "The Red Dot Design Award for Mica is a testament to our commitment to provide researchers with advanced imaging platforms that simplify their workflow and enhance their research," said Leica President Annette Rinck.
NeraCare, developer of laboratory tests for personalised survival prediction of melanoma patients, has signed a strategic partnership with biotech SkylineDx, focused on research and development of molecular diagnostics, for exclusive co-development and licensing agreement for the Immunoprint proteomic test that identifies early-stage melanoma patients at high risk of relapse and death.
Avacta Group plc life sciences company announced the first patient has been dosed in the US under its Investigational New Drug (IND) Application in its phase 1 multi-centre trial evaluating the safety and tolerability of AVA6000, a novel tumour targeted form of doxorubicin and Avacta’s first therapeutic product based on its proprietary pre|CISION™ technology. The US-based patient was dosed in the escalation study of patients with locally advanced or metastatic selected solid tumours known to be FAP-positive, at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. CEO Dr Alastair Smith commented: “Dosing the first patient in the US is a key milestone and reflects the continuing excellent progress in the ALS-6000-101 clinical trial and the therapeutics division as a whole.”
Early-stage cancer therapeutics and women’s health life science company, Nuneaton-based ValiRx PLC, has announced a collaborative services agreement between Physiomics PLC and ValiRx Nottingham-located subsidiary Inaphaea BioLabs Ltd. Based in Oxford, Physiomics is a leading oncology consultancy that uses mathematical models to support the development of cancer treatment regimens and personalised medicine solutions. Dr Suzy Dilly, ValiRx CEO commented: “This collaborative services agreement is the first step towards converting Inaphaea into a true tCRO. The Physiomics modelling skills will enable our clients to interpret and build on the data generated within the Inaphaea facility.
Horiba UK Veterinary helped highlight the effects of one of the most serious equine bacterial infection as part of Strangles Awareness Week 2023. Strangles, caused by Streptococcus equi, affects the upper respiratory tract and has a 100% infection rate among horses who lack immunity, as well as a 10% fatality cases in some outbreaks, states the firm. HORIBA UK Veterinary Lisa Martin added: “Rapid diagnosis is not only beneficial to an infected horse by enabling treatment sooner, but it also ensures its correct isolation to prevent infection spread and support biosecurity.”
Tecan and DYNEX Technologies have announced a partnership to broaden the availability of ELISA products in the US. Customers will now have direct access to Tecan’s ELISA-related kits and comprehensive portfolio of reagents alongside DYNEX's fully automated ELISA workstations.