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Case Study - Delivering the Lifescience Launchpad

A cohort of nine Northwest SMEs, including seven based within the footprint of GM AHSN, have taken part in a unique programme to help them understand more about commercialising their health-related products and services.

The ‘Lifescience Launchpad’ was organised by Bionow, as part of Greater Manchester Academic Health Science Network’s business engagement programme.

Topics covered included market research and commercial analysis, health economics, developing products to meet specific unmet needs, NHS procurement and how to sell to the NHS, regulatory IP and translational requirements, clinical trials and evaluation, grant and seed funding and action planning.

 “GM AHSN has a specific focus on helping SMEs to develop their products and to support the spread of innovation at scale within the NHS. The Bionow Lifescience Launchpad is one of a number of support initiatives we are bringing to Greater Manchester SMEs.”

Dr Linda Magee, Executive Director of Industry and Wealth at GM AHSN

Bionow recruited nine companies, who are already developing products and services of direct relevance to the NHS, to take part in the programme:

Blueberry Therapeutics is a modern, innovation driven, drug discovery and development company committed to the development of innovative therapies to treat diseases where infection and/or inflammation are major factors. Blueberry employs cutting-edge nanopolymer drug delivery technology, which enables them to exploit both small molecule and biologic approaches in developing treatments. Their portfolio includes a number of different programmes in the areas of infection and inflammation where there is a high unmet medical need. Blueberry’s lead product BB0305, a novel nanoparticle antifungal formulation for the topical treatment of onychomycosis, will enter Phase 3 trials in 2016.

C-Major has designed and trialled the world’s first controlled retraction hypodermic device system that meets the needs of clinicians to reduce the number of needle stick injuries globally. The company is now completing the design and is looking to establish production and device approvals for entry into the fastest growing segment of the $3Bn safety syringe market by 2018.

Galen Research Limited, a leading International developer of Patient Reported Outcome (PRO) measures for use in clinical trials, health economic studies and routine clinical practice. The company has an established reputation for high quality work with the major UK, European and US pharmaceutical companies.

Gelexir Healthcare is introducing a novel, non-surgical procedure for the treatment of chronic lower back pain caused by degenerative disc disease.

Imagen Biotech is developing a technology (high content screening) to allow oncologists to personalise chemotherapy and thus select the best treatment for each patient. 

Lumbacurve International Ltd has designed and manufactured an innovative low back pain relief device. Recent independent clinical trials have shown it to be significantly more effective than current standard treatment guidelines.

Newtec Vascular Technology Ltd develops cardiovascular medical devices. Newtec is currently preparing to commence a clinical study on its first product for prevention of vascular stenosis (blood vessel narrowing).  The device is simple and quick to fit at the time of surgery with minimal deviation from existing clinical practice.

Optasia Medical uses novel image analysis techniques to extract clinically relevant information from medical images to better inform patient treatment.  Physicians can then make better informed decisions in managing patients suffering from musculoskeletal diseases especially in the elderly.
Sensam has developed a point-of-care breath test system to aid diagnosis of a range of illnesses.  The current focus is on the diagnosis of a common stomach infection and the trials in clinical environments are currently under way.  Further work has just started on fine tuning 0f the Sensam system for the lung cancer detection and screening.

 

“With such a diverse cohort of companies spanning drug development, diagnostics and medical devices it was interesting to witness the participants’ engagement and evident learning throughout the programme.  The attendees were all very experienced in their respective fields but clearly all had much to learn with regard to engaging with the NHS.”

Dr Diane Cresswell, Executive Director of Business Development at Bionow 

The nine companies taking part completed a business diagnostic with Bionow in order to gauge future requirements and support needed as part of the 3 month programme.

In collaboration with GM AHSN’s Innovation Nexus, delivered by TRUSTECH, we look forward to continued working with Bionow and our other partners in developing the best support structure for SMEs who wish to work with us in developing and delivery new innovations into the NHS.

Delivery Partners

The LifeScience Launchpad was delivered by specialist support organisations who gave their time pro bono including Inventya, Yorkshire Health Economics Consortium, TRUSTECH, Boyds, HGF, Intercytex, NIHR, Integral Finance, The Knowledge Transfer Network and Epiphany Capital.

About Bionow

Bionow is a not for profit membership organisation for the biomedical / life-sciences industry in the North of England and supports business growth, competitiveness and innovation.  We have over 250 Members including our corporate sponsor AstraZeneca and the University sponsors Manchester, Liverpool, Lancaster, Newcastle, Durham, Sunderland and Leeds. Our membership base includes start-ups and early stage firms as well as established growth-oriented companies. Bionow's membership offering focuses upon the specific needs of firms at their different stages of development, including dedicated business support programmes, shared procurement schemes with significant cost savings, exclusive insurance benefits, recruitment and training services, local and national events and access to a vibrant network of businesses. For more information, visit www.bionow.co.uk.

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What did they say?

Dr Mike Davies of Blueberry Therapeutics

“The Launchpad provided useful information and enabled me to make some key contacts.  I’ve already started work with one of the presenters to further develop our product which wouldn’t have happened without this course.”

Simon Douglas, Steve Dobson & Phil Brown of C Major

“The workshops were well structured and informative, and the presenters keen to help and refer you to others for additional advice and help.”

  

Stephen McKenna, James Twiss & Jeanette Wilburn of Galen Research

“The Launchpad programme was extremely valuable for Galen Research. It provided detailed information about areas that we didn’t have much knowledge on prior to the course. Important to us was the information regarding how the NHS works and how to sell to them which we have previously struggled with before. It also provided a lot of different grant and funding avenues for us to explore. We also made some good contacts from networking at the sessions. The final session was really useful to recap all the modules and have chance to discuss individually our own products and services with the module speakers.”

Philippe Jenny and Jane Bramhill of Gelexir Healthcare

“The Launchpad sessions were extremely valuable and informative, especially about the clinical study elements, NHS procurement and regulatory requirements.”

Rod Benson of Imagen Biotech

“I found the Launchpad particularly helpful especially since Imagen Biotech’s new focus is going to involve working closely with the NHS. Two very useful sessions were around the help available to small companies regarding clinical trial design and information about the CCGs and NICE.”

David Pegg and Mark Keen of Lumbacurve International

“Now that LumbaCurve has successfully completed clinical trials, our challenge is to communicate and commercialise it into the NHS. The Bionow Launchpad network has proved invaluable in providing access to potential funding sources and NHS innovation conduits.”

Rob Carson of Newtec Vascular

I found Lifescience Launchpad to be very informative and an excellent opportunity to gain valuable feedback from medical device/lifescience experts. The NHS contacts were particularly helpful and are assisting Newtec in locating suitable clinical study sites for its implantable device designed to improve vascular surgery outcomes.”

Anthony Holmes of Optasia Medical

“The Bionow Launchpad was very timely for us. Having been quite active in the US and mainland Europe, we have planned a UK push for 2015. The Launchpad provided us with the perfect opportunity to take in the highlights of the broad healthcare landscape in the UK. We were surprised at the breadth and depth of help available, a lot of it at no cost to ourselves. Whether via grants, business links, help with product validation and even commercialisation into the NHS, we now have many more avenues to explore. I have a suspicion that when we come to review our 2015 activities, these 6 afternoons will prove to be some of the most valuable time we've spent.”

Frank Kvasnik of Sensam Ltd 

"The Bionow Launchpad was very useful to us.  The sessions were well structured and very useful material was delivered by knowledgeable presenters in a very friendly fashion.   Information, and contacts made, have already helped us to deal efficiently with several statutory issues and move rapidly forward.”