£93 million package of support announced for UK’s health industries
Published by University of Leicester Press Office for University of Leicester in Health and also in Education
- £25.9 million from third wave of Biomedical Catalyst announced
- New £38 million National Biologics Manufacturing Centre to be based in Darlington
- Additional £29.3 million invested in innovative health companies
Innovative business and academic projects from across the UK’s health sector –including one from the University of Leicester -will benefit from a new £93.2 million package of support announced today by Universities and Science Minister David Willetts.
The investment includes £25.9 million from Round 3 of the Biomedical Catalyst. 29 companies and five universities will receive investment from the Catalyst. Projects include clinical trials to ‘repurpose’ a cancer drug that could be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and an implant to reduce pain and restore mobility to knee cartilage injuries.
As part of the recent Spending Review it was announced that there will be additional support for the Catalyst. Academic researchers and universities can continue to apply for additional funding through the Technology Strategy Board and Medical Research Council (MRC) in Round 4 of the Biomedical Catalyst, which is now open.
Professor Anthony Gershlick from the University of Leicester has received £384,904 funding for studies in the development of a novel side-branch stent.
Professor Gershlick said: “Coronary artery disease (CAD) remains a major cause of mortality and morbidity. Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI)-balloon inflation at the site of the narrowing with stent placed to keep the artery open-has become the dominant treatment for CAD. While PCI is a safe procedure with high success it can be more difficult and less predictable when disease occurs at branch points (bifurcation) as the angle between main and side branch can result in either a gap or overlap between the 2 stents used to treat each branch, due to the cylindrical stent ends being straight.
“Our aim is to develop a novel stent with a balloon modifiable proximal end conformed once placed in the bifurcation side arm allowing the end to accommodate the side branch/main branch angle. The main branch would then be stented with conventional stents for complete coverage of the bifurcation with no overlap/gap between the stents and no intrusion into the side branch stent. Initial work (previous NIHR grant) resulted in 2 early prototypes. The current proposal aims to build upon this work to allow the device to translate to clinical trials and practice.
“We have specific plans to refine the design of our prototypes using computer modelling, Finite Element Analysis, and to laser cut improved prototypes to test in latex bifurcation models (stent behaviour under direct vision). After any needed re-design, for stent prototypes to be successfully, repeatedly and reliably conformed in-vitro, an appropriately study will be undertaken. Assessment of in-vivo performance will use micro-CT to assess stent remodelling/relationships with the main vessel stent and histological studies early and at 28 days for tissue reaction to the implanted stent at bifurcation site (to ensure there are no downsides to the concept of in-vivo conformability eg a nidus for in-stent intimal hyperplasia or stent thrombosis) The ultimate aim is to develop a side branch stent for CE mark and testing in man.”
Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:
“By investing in new technologies now we are maintaining the UK’s position as a world leader for innovation. The biomedical industry is a fast moving, high growth sector and the Catalyst has proven to be extremely successful in supporting new business ideas. This investment further drives forward our life sciences strategy.”