Nexxus News Spring 2011 edition
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Nexxus News Spring 2011 edition Document Transcript

  • 1. Issue 29Spring Connecting, communicating & informing life sciences in Scotland New biologics 05 Angel Biotechnology equipped to respond to changing market needs Matters of the heart 08 hospital one of largest cardiothoracic centres in Europe Grampian BioPartners 12 scientists turned investors provide invaluable help to SMEs Stepping out 14 Glasgow Caledonian University co-ordinates multinational, interdisciplinary project tiny lights making 10 a big impact in life science applications
  • 2. 2 Nexxus News Nexxus Events March 2011 Sharing reaps rewards CoMMErCIALISAtIoN StrAtEGIES for benefit of industry and academia. fundamental value of a piece of MoLECULAr dIAGNoStICS It was a busy and very productive science and research. I would Glasgow three days and thank you to suggest that both Andy’s everyone involved, especially to presentation and NuCana BioMed tECHNoLoGY-PUSH or Den Barrault of SULSA for project Hugh Griffith’s call for a ‘proof of CLINICAL-PULL managing the visit. relevance’ fund at the Scottish How to deliver innovation in Enterprise Life Sciences dinner, NHS Scotland, Edinburgh Scotland has placed itself in a give a clear direction for the future globally competitive position of investment in our sector. It is NEXXUS BIoSCIENCE CLUB through research collaboration one that we need to work together Industry Skills for Young and Nexxus aims to develop even on to make happen. Academics, Glasgow closer links with our research pools and the Universities they As part of the process of April 2011 represent. encouraging investment in the life CoMPANIES SHoWCASE sciences in Scotland, Nexxus Edinburgh AN UNfortUNAtE ACCIdENt February also saw our second organised a delegation of Scottish involving me, a mountain in event with the WS Society for the SMEs to the OneNucleus Genesis NEXXUS BIoSCIENCE CLUB Lanzarote and the force of gravity Life Sciences and Law Network conference in London at the end Career Paths in Life Sciences, Glasgow meant that I had an unexpected (LSLN). The LSLN is based upon of last year. This event is a trip (pun intended!) to my local the premise that sharing ‘must-do’ in many people’s May 2011 hospital earlier this week. knowledge between Scotland’s life calendars. It proved to be a winner SME tooLBoX Thankfully this is something I have scientists and the country’s legal with many new contacts made and Drug development/Clinical not had to do for many years and professionals is key to contracts secured (see page 15 Trials, Glasgow it was a revelation. The courtesy development and investment in for details of just one success and kindness of the staff was the sector. We were fortunate to story). Currently we are working HorIZoNS IN MEdtECH exemplary and the facilities tip-top. secure the services of Professor with Scottish Enterprise and Glasgow I was admitted, examined, x-rayed Andy Porter and James Shaw of Scottish Development and ‘stookied’ (eg plaster cast) all Grampian BioPartners (see page International and using our strong 6tH ANNUAL CoNVErGENt in an hour. I was especially taken 12). They gave a thought- links with BayBio - the San tECHNoLoGY SHoWCASE by the fact that the x-ray was provoking presentation on Francisco Bay area life sciences ANd CoNfErENCE* real-time and shared remotely with de-risking life science investment network - to secure face-to-face Healthcare Efficiency through the orthopaedic consultant - all by sharing knowledge on the meetings for Scottish SMEs with Prevention and Intervention, part of a seamless and speedy Stirling (Jointly organised by service. EDTC, SHIL, SUIP, Wellness & Health Innovation and Nexxus) This brought home to me just how much sharing of information and June 2011 knowledge is changing the face of NEXXUS BBQ healthcare and the life sciences. Glasgow It also chimes with a number of For further info about the above recent developments within free (except*) events see Nexxus. Early in February, Nexxus along with SULSA, SINAPSE and the Other Scottish Scottish Bioinformatics Forum was Events pleased to host a visit by members of the European ShareBiotech Annual SULSA Symposium 7 June 2011, Glasgow project. The aim of the project is to create an international network of symposium2011 bioscience facilities across the European ShareBiotech Group meets with Dave Wyper, SINAPSE Atlantic region of Europe to the
  • 3. Nexxus News 3boutique Venture Capital investors sure everyone working in life Zebrafish Facilityin the West Coast USA. Watch this science would agree with thisspace for further developments. observation but would also conclude that it is not just theIn addition, Nexxus is working with quantity, but also the quality, ofpartner organisations such as the thought that counts. In Scotland tHE ZEBrAfISH, DanioScottish Stem Cell Network we are fortunate to have both and rerio, is a powerful model(SSCN) and Scottish Health it is by linking together and sharing organism for biomedicalInnovations (SHIL) to provide a ideas that we will further enhance research. Its genomeseries of industry related events our position as a global player. is known and there areon crucial topics such as quality many genome featuresmanagement and regulatory conserved in humans.compliance. We are keen to Accordingly, Zebrafishcontinue with this and would be are increasingly used aspleased to work with other a model to study humanmembers of the community. Graeme Boyle diseases and to date Director cardiovascular disease,Linus Pauling once commented T: 0131 200 6411 or cancer, neurodegenerative of disease-associatedthat the best way to have a good T: 0141 300 5381 and infectious disease and variants and large-scaleidea is to have lots of ideas. I am E: visual disorders have been screening of a small studied. It is a particularly chemical library for the attractive experimental identification of therapeutic Cancer system due to its rapid and external development, candidates. Professor John Craft meantime will discovery coupled with optical clarity during embryogenesis. use the system to study reproduction in fish and ProfESSor HING LEUNG, will characterise the of the College of Medical, The Glasgow Caledonian mechanisms of differential Veterinary and Life Sciences, University Zebrafish expression of the multiple University of Glasgow, has the clinic. In addition, when Facility is an advanced vitellogenin genes and discovered how a protein we increased the amount high capacity aquarium define the function of each present in prostate cancer cells of ERK5 in prostate cancer system developed for gene. He also intends drives growth of the disease. cells, again in the laboratory, the maintenance of to introduce the recently they developed more cancer wildtype and transgenic developed technology for ERK5 is a protein within a outwith the prostate. This lines of Zebrafish. The gene knockouts using zinc cell and works as part of the makes ERK5 a very exciting University’s Facility has finger nucleases. ‘information highway’ to control molecule to develop new equipment necessary for the growth and development of treatment on.’ the production of transgenic The University is keen to cancer. According to Professor animals and for morpholino support research groups Leung’s study, ERK5 is present Prostate cancer is the most knock-downs. It aims to interested in undertaking in abnormally high levels of common cancer diagnosed provide a cost effective, Zebrafish research in prostate cancer, including in men in the UK. Each year high quality alternative experimental design and invasive cancer which has 36,000 men are diagnosed model organism which acquisition of preliminary spread to other parts of the with the disease - 2,500 will meet the needs of data. Investigators wishing body. It is also present in of these are in Scotland. researchers throughout to make use of the facility or relapsed cancer following The study, reported in the the West of Scotland. to discuss either service or previous hormone therapy. British Journal of Cancer in collaborative arrangements February has been described Currently, Dr Xinhua Shu’s should contact He explains, ‘When the effects by researchers and cancer group is studying the Dr Xinhua Shu or of ERK5 are reduced in the charities as ‘extremely function of retinal disease Professor John Craft laboratory, we observed less exciting’. The research genes in Zebrafish. His (T: 0141 331 8763 / ‘invasion’ by the cancer cells. was part funded by Cancer work includes knock- T: 0141 331 3220 This supports the idea that Research UK (CRUK), the down of candidate genes, E: / medicine or drugs blocking Beatson Institute and the construction of transgenic E: ERK5 might be useful in Prostate Cancer Charity. fish lines with expression for more information.
  • 4. 4 Nexxus News MedTech support for Scottish SMEs A NEW initiative will assist focus additional resources on Scottish SMEs to work with stimulating Scottish technology the University of Strathclyde SMEs to expand their portfolios in the development of new and, ultimately, have a positive medical technology, products impact on patient health and the and services. The initiative, wider economy. Strathclyde MedTech, will make funding available to established Professor Trish Connolly, medical technology companies, Director of SIMD noted, or companies in their supply ‘There is ample opportunity for chain, or those companies further product development interested in entering the field within the sector where there from other industries such as is a real clinical need and electronics, optoelectronics, consequently market pull. Care wellness, textiles, plastics and must be taken in the course automotive components. of development ensuring regulatory, materials, modelling, The funders of the new initiative prototyping, manufacturing, Trish Connolly are the Scottish Government sterilisation, packaging and (SEEKIT) and the European other practical considerations also be able to help companies of projects it can address. In Regional Development Fund are not overlooked. This is a form an overview of regulatory the recent past it has delivered (ERDF), who have backed it complex specialist area in which needs and ethics allowing them consultancy projects ranging with nearly £700,000 over three we, with our core expertise of to plan for new product R&D.’ from a few days on medical years. taking multidisciplinary, clinically- applications of laser technology, driven, medical device projects Overall, Strathclyde MedTech scoping diagnostic applications Over the past four years, to pre-market demonstrators can will provide companies with for a company’s surface treatment Strathclyde Institute of greatly facilitate. We can provide advice and support, as well as technology to longer studies Medical Devices (SIMD) has a pathway to facilitate medical encouraging Scottish firms to on bench testing renal dialysis successfully drawn in many device clinical investigations and collaborate with the University pumps as well as more involved international companies in the on to product launch.’ and other companies. Funding collaborative developments medical field, resulting in the is available to help Scottish involving multiple partners and development of a wide range Strathclyde MedTech’s Industrial SMEs work with the University of lasting two to three years. of technologies. These include Manager, Dr Alan Lindsay said, Strathclyde through consultancy a portable life support system, ‘SMEs can find it difficult to or research projects, including In terms of funding available, an award-winning wound develop the sometimes complex feasibility studies, prototyping an average of ca £5K per project diagnostic device, novel blood convergent technologies and testing/facilities access for would be the norm in the first separation/salvage technology (medicine/engineering/science) technologies in areas including instance, however if a company and transdermal monitoring and products sought by diagnostics, cardiovascular can demonstrate a commitment technology among others. clinicians, cost conscious health devices, rehabilitation/assisted to strengthen its relationship Several of these have been services and patients. SMEs living, drug delivery, biomaterials, with the University, eg by jointly through clinical trials and are need help in accessing clinical neuroprosthetics and cell/tissue applying for further research CE marked products which are and other specialist opinions engineering. and knowledge exchange either on the market, or will be at an early stage and also funding, including KTPs, then shortly. Strathclyde MedTech, later in the development cycle. The University has a strong higher levels of funding will be which is hosted by SIMD, will Strathclyde MedTech staff will track record in the development considered. of medical technology, with more than 80 scientists and engineers, For further information on spanning a dozen departments, working with Strathclyde collaborating with a network of MedTech contact Alan Lindsay approximately 50 clinicians. One T: 0141 548 4110 of the great strengths of its wide E: base of expertise is the diversity W:
  • 5. Nexxus News 5Advanced biologics specialistsANGEL BIotECHNoLoGY for their Phase I clinical trial. The conduct its trial. This is Angel’s coreHoLdINGS PLC is an established Pilot Investigation of Stem Cells in competence and commencement ofcGMP contract manufacturer Stroke (PISCES) trial is the world’s this clinical trial further strengthensspecialising in the provision of first fully regulated clinical trial Angel’s track record of workingadvanced biologics, including of a neural stem cell therapy for with advanced therapy medicinalautologous and allogeneic cell disabled stroke patients. The first products, supporting our client’stherapy products, stem cells, now in an excellent position patient in the PISCES trial was clinical development from Phasecellular vaccines, recombinant to become a market leader in safely discharged two days after I through to commercial launch.’proteins and bacteriophage. providing the specialist services the straightforward neurosurgicalAngel supports biotechnology required for the manufacture of procedure was conducted at Despite the number ofand pharmaceutical companies new biologic products. Angel’s the Southern General Hospital organisations working in the fieldworldwide and offers a full business development and in Glasgow. ReNeuron recently of regenerative medicine, very fewrange of services from process project management philosophy announced that, following a positive have commercialised cell therapydevelopment through pre- is to develop a collaborative independent safety review of products. It is accepted withinclinical, clinical and commercial relationship with each client and progress of the first patient treated, the industry that if regenerativemanufacture. to fully understand their specific the clinical trial would progress to medicine can achieve the requirements. The development, treatment of the remainder of the projected therapeutic outcomesAngel’s manufacturing facility, production and quality first patient cohort. and overcome the variouslocated at Pentlands Science Park departments work closely to regulatory hurdles, then it is likelyon the outskirts of Edinburgh, is develop bespoke documentation Gordon Sherriff, Chief Operating to have a profound impact on theregulated by the Medicines and and process improvements to Officer of Angel, said ‘Angel is healthcare industry. With Angel’sHealthcare Products Regulatory assist clients translate their new very pleased to be manufacturing help, it is hoped that many moreAgency (MHRA). Angel has held technologies into regulatory the ReN001 stem cell product for therapeutic products will enter thea Manufacturer’s Authorisation compliant, and commercially the clinical trial. This is a world market, and make a real differencefor Investigational Medicinal viable, therapeutic products. first, an important landmark in the to the lives of patients and theirProducts since 2005 and a development of cellular therapies families worldwide.Manufacturer’s/ Importer’s Licence Recent advances in cell biology and a tribute to the dedication offor the manufacture of commercial have led to the development of the ReNeuron and Angel teams. For further information contactproducts since 2008, enabling therapeutic products containing, or The critical nature of the work Susan McKee, Businessthe provision of an integrated entirely composed of, viable cells. has drawn upon Angel’s technical Development Managerdevelopment and manufacturing These new cell based treatments and regulatory expertise to T: 0131 445 6077service through all stages of the are showing great promise, and provide ReNeuron with clinical E: susan.mckee@angelbio.comproduct lifecycle. have the potential to treat a range material of the highest quality to W: of conditions, and - in particularInitially listed on the London - the unmet clinical needsStock Exchange (AIM) in 2005, associated with degenerativeAngel announced a share tissue diseases. The manufactureplacing in January 2011 which of these cell therapy productsraised £1.9M. The proceeds of poses specific logistical, regulatorythis placing will be used to fund and quality challenges, in additionan increase in development to the technical challengesand manufacturing capacities, associated with the manufacturestrategic capital investments of all biotechnology products.and additional working capital tosupport business growth, enabling Angel supports innovativeAngel to continue to respond to companies working in the fieldthe changing market needs. of regenerative medicine, an example of which is ReNeuronAngel has invested in a highly Group plc. Angel has beenskilled management team ReNeuron’s manufacturing partnerwith considerable experience for over three years, producingin biomanufacturing, and is the GMP grade stem cell therapy
  • 6. 6 Nexxus News Boost for the life science sector in the Helsinki Region tHE HELSINKI (capital) Region companies in the region. In The project enhances the A region with of Finland offers an attractive response to this the HealthBIO employment opportunities of many strengths environment for biosciences. Cluster arranges financing life science PhDs by providing The HealthBIO Centre of events. Financiers from all over training in business and The Helsinki Region provides Expertise serves as an Europe have been invited to industry skills, career coaching, excellent research and co- independent contact point for these meetings. recruitment support and also operation opportunities for biotechnology in the Helsinki provides financial aid for scientists and companies as well Region, focusing on health The service sector is growing companies to hire unemployed as facilities and services for start- applications in biotechnology fast within life sciences and jobseekers. up companies near to its strong and associated business areas. HealthBIO has gathered together basic research community. The Helsinki Metropolitan Region a number of smaller service The project involves five cluster is managed by Programme organisations into larger groups, graduate schools and the There are nine universities, Director Riikka Paasikivi of consolidating their services into courses span topics such as six polytechnics and several Culminatum Innovation Oy Ltd. a bigger package. This makes ‘What is biobusiness in general? research centres, among them it easier for the companies to How does a biotech company the Institute for Molecular The major target group of attract international customers work? How do you make deals Medicine Finland (FIMM). HealthBIO in the Helsinki Region and partners. and get financing? What do Four campuses are relevant is local biotechnology-related the international markets look to life sciences: Meilahti companies. The programme Other methods used in serving like?’ Participants also attend Medical Campus, Viikki Life supports these companies so companies are seminars, workshops in career planning Science Campus, Kumpula that they can develop their ideas, workshops, co-participation at and how to sell themselves and Science Campus and Otaniemi grow and enter new markets. international fairs and exhibitions, their ideas. Technology Campus. The A further aim of the programme lecture courses and forecasting umbrella organisation, is to support the creation of studies. HealthBIO in the Helsinki The courses have been very Biocentrum Helsinki, has around service enterprises derived from Metropolitan Region has a pool of well received. So far 15 PhDs 600 people engaged in research higher education research, and 50 consultants providing services have found a new position or in molecular biology, molecular the transfer of technology from demanded by local SMEs. job at a life science company in medicine and biotechnology at higher education institutions to the region with the help of the the University of Helsinki and businesses. provides both local project. Aalto University. and international companies Services for companies with web-based services. It offers news and information on A good example of the practical health-related biotechnology in initiatives of HealthBIO in the Helsinki Region and serves promoting and strengthening the companies, universities, research life science sector in the Helsinki institutions, and other interested Region is the ‘Boost Biobusiness’ groups operating in the field. project. Companies selected for the project received services New opportunities and coaching based on their for students particular needs, for example with updating their business plan, As a way to support and raising funding, upgrading quality stimulate a new generation systems or partnering for R&D or of life science scientists and market entry. businesses in the Helsinki area, HealthBIO has established a A survey conducted a couple of business education project for years ago showed that financing graduate students called ‘PhDs was a big issue for biotech to Business Life’.
  • 7. Nexxus News 7 Riikka, ‘is the existence of good mutual partnerships between the companies, the universities and the public sector here. I’m sure Nexxus joins EDCA that greatly contributed to our receiving this award.’ NEXXUS HAS become a ’Forming this ‘super- member of the European syndicate’ amongst European For further information contact Diagnostic Clusters networks will strengthen Riikka Paasikivi Association (EDCA), a Scotland’s position, as it can new organisation designed bring together businesses, T: +358 50 521 5944 to facilitate co-operation SMEs, large pharmaceutical Riikka E: amongst European biotech companies, and potential Paasikivi W: clusters in promoting medical funding sources from a much W: diagnostics. broader spectrum - bothIn the Helsinki Region, strengths W: geographically and in termsare to be found within almost all The field of medical of expertise,’ said Graeme W: diagnostics includes a broad Boyle, Nexxus Director.areas of life science, for example W: range of technologies, andin neurological disease and the sector is expected to Dr Till Bachmann, Chiefbrain research, cancer research, grow rapidly alongside the Operating Officer andmolecular medicine, diagnostics, Culminatum trend towards personalised Head of Bio-chip Research medicine. in the Division of Pathwaystem cells, cell therapy andbioinformatics. Innovation Medicine at the University and HealthBIO The initiative was founded by Euromediag, the of Edinburgh and Nexxus’ steering group chair inBiotechnology is also one of the diagnostic group of the the East of Scotland, is IN tHE HELSINKI rEGIoN,region’s rapidly growing business HealthBIO is managed by Eurobiomed cluster also heavily involved withsectors with about 100 companies Culminatum Innovation Oy (Languedoc Roussillon – the project on behalf ofoperating within the life science Ltd, which is a development Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur Nexxus. ’I am delighted to company owned by the in France) and Wal-Dx, the be part of this commitmentsector. In addition, numerous to encourage and enhance Uusimaa Regional Council, in vitro diagnostic group ofsubsidiaries of international pharma BioWin (Wallonia, Belgium). the engagement of the the cities of Helsinki, Espoo andand diagnostics companies have Vantaa, and the universities, Including Nexxus, several Scottish life sciencessettled in the area. polytechnics, research institutes other regional networks sector, particularly SMEs, and business community of the have joined the EDCA, with European activity in Helsinki Region. Managing the including Biocat (Barcelona, diagnostics,’ he said.‘The level of basic research in the Centre of Expertise Programme Spain), Life Science Clusterbiomedical sector is very high in Krakow (Poland), OBN At the group’s initial (OSKE) within the HelsinkiFinland,’ said Riikka Paasikivi, Metropolitan Region is the main (Oxford, UK), Uppsala meeting in DecemberProgramme Director of HealthBIO function of Culminatum. Bio (Sweden), and ZMDB 2010, Professor Tea Petrin,Cluster at Culminatum Innovation (Berlin-Brandenburg, former Chairwoman of theOy Ltd. ‘We need to combine The national HealthBIO cluster Germany), representing European Cluster Policy covers the five major Finnish a total of 250 in vitro Group, said, ’The Europeanour forces to help small and diagnostic companies. Commission should enhance regional bioclusters within themedium sized companies to get Centre of Expertise Programme cluster collaborations sinceinto international markets. We 2007 – 2013. The participating The EDCA, currently in it can yield many benefitsare also collaborating with inward regions are Helsinki Region, planning stages, will likely including the strengtheninginvestment organisations to attract Kuopio, Oulu, Tampere and be launched by mid-2011. of regional pioneering work Turku. By co-ordinated co- Its objectives are to underpin that shows the way to goodinternational players into our practice in EU technological operation and networking the competitiveness ofthriving biotech hub.’ of regional and other European in vitro diagnostic empowerment.’ national activities, and with players through networkingEntrepreneurial spirit a multidisciplinary approach and innovative partnerships, For further information, to top level expertise and to expedite access to non- contact Graeme Boyle, competencies, the cluster aims EU markets (particularly Nexxus DirectorIn recognition of its entrepreneurial to build on the international North America and Asia) and E: g.boyle@nexxusscotland.spirit, the EU’s Committee of competitiveness of Finnish to harness the growing role com or project leaders,Regions has awarded the Helsinki biotechnology. of medical diagnostics in Philippe Outrebon and PierreMetropolitan Region one of its healthcare practice. Member Vidal of Euromediagthree European Entrepreneurial organisations hope the EDCA E: pierre.vidal@eurobio will help foster collaborative or Frédéric DruckRegion Awards for 2012. The R&D projects and sharing of of the Wal-Dx/BioWin groupother recipients are Catalonia technology platforms. E: and Tvarna (Slovakia). Aerial photograph of Foresterhill Campus‘A particular strength of ours,’ said
  • 8. 8 Nexxus News Scottish cardiothoracic centre one of largest in Europe tHE GoLdEN JUBILEE Reperfusion Service which is a NAtIoNAL HoSPItAL in new NHS service for heart attack Clydebank provides advanced patients. In fact, over 3000 acute cardiac care to a population of coronary syndrome (ACS) 2.5 million people in the West of patients are managed invasively Scotland. The hospital hosts the in the Golden Jubilee National West of Scotland Heart and Hospital each year. Seven Lung Centre which provides hundred of these patients have regional services in emergency ‘primary’ or ‘rescue’ interventional cardiology, PCI in heart attack patients who electrophysiology, device are transferred from across the implantation and cardiothoracic West of Scotland by the Scottish surgery. The hospital also hosts Ambulance Service. The hospital the Scottish National Services is proud of the fact that its ‘door- for advanced heart failure, to-first-balloon’ time (2009/2010), congenital heart disease and which is a measure of the Colin Berry in theatre pulmonary hypertension. standard of care, is the shortest Considering all of these services in the United Kingdom. The across Scotland. The service has and the British Heart Foundation. together, the Golden Jubilee hospital also provides a regional specialists in cardiac magnetic They have published in the New National Hospital is one of the service for advanced imaging in resonance imaging and England Journal of Medicine, largest cardiothoracic centres in cardiac CT and MRI. transcatheter device implantation. Circulation and other Europe. In the not too distant future, it is internationally-leading journals. Cardiothoracic surgery planned to provide transcatheter The hospital also has other key pulmonary valve implantation. The hospital’s research strategy attributes over and above clinical The Cardiothoracic Surgical focuses on developmental clinical care. The Beardmore Centre for service is one of the busiest in the Pulmonary Vascular Disease - studies for new therapies and Health Sciences is a new state- United Kingdom. Over 1,500 the hospital also hosts the devices which have the potential of-the art research and skills coronary artery bypass operations national service for pulmonary to improve patient health and centre which will open in Spring and valve replacements are vascular disease. Professor wellbeing. Dr Colin Berry is 2011. The Beardmore Hotel and performed each year. Andrew Peacock and his team academic lead in Cardiology and Conference Centre has 14 are international experts in this research governance is delivered meeting rooms, including a 170 National Services field and have led clinical trials through a Research Management seat auditorium. The auditorium of new drug therapies for this Office (Dr Catherine Sinclair) and has video links to the cardiac Advanced Heart Failure - the condition. the Board’s R&D Group. catheterisation laboratories for hospital hosts the Scottish ‘live case’ transmissions, and national service for heart failure research Beardmore Centre for several national meetings have including heart transplantation, Health Science already made use of this facility. mechanical ventricular assist Research is a key priority in the devices and the acute and hospital. The research that is The latest development of the The Jubilee hospital also longer term management of undertaken includes commercial Board will see The Beardmore provides clinical care in other patients with heart failure. studies and trials and Centre for Health Science open areas, notably in orthopaedics investigator-initiated single and in 2011, providing an exceptional and ophthalmology. Adult Congenital Heart Disease - multi centre clinical trials. focal point for training and the National service for adult research activity with: Cardiology congenital heart disease, led by Investigators in the hospital are Dr Hamish Walker, includes a supported by the Chief Scientist • consulting rooms specifically The Cardiology Department, led team of doctors and nurses who Office, the Scottish Funding designed for patients who by Dr Keith Oldroyd, supports the provide in-patient and out-patient Council, Medical Research choose to participate in West of Scotland Optimal care for patients referred from Scotland, the Wellcome Trust research studies; and
  • 9. Nexxus News 9• training rooms equipped with • provide a dedicated facility for state of the art conference technology and fibre optic clinical skills training involving the use of a patient simulator; New state of the audio visual links from the cardiac catheterisation laboratories (cath labs) • enhance surgical skills training through the provision art campus opens and theatres, providing the of a purpose-built area with opportunity for enhanced the ability to live stream surgical skills training. surgical procedures from the hospital; andThe Beardmore Centre for HealthScience will complement the • add four additionalexisting services provided on conference training roomssite by providing a unique to the facilities alreadycombination of state-of-the-art available within Thehealthcare professional training Beardmore Hotel andfacilities, a hospital and a hotel Conference Centre. Edinburgh Napier Sports Science student and Scottishresulting in an ideal venue for Rugby Sevens squad member Dougie Fife is put through hisshowcasing equipment Integration with other paces at Sighthill’s sports research labassociated with all aspects key stakeholders SCotLANd’S NEWESt HUB areas for training nurses; aof patient care. for health, science and sports sports facility which includes a The Golden Jubilee National education opened its doors biomechanics laboratory andThe Centre will also: Hospital has strong links with to 5,070 students and staff in an environmental chamber Universities in the West of January. that can recreate high altitude• enhance the experience of Scotland, notably the Institute conditions with controllable patients participating in of Cardiovascular and Medical The new £60M state of the art temperature and humidity clinical trials; Sciences in the University of Edinburgh Napier University levels. Glasgow. building in Sighthill in the west• increase the number of trials of Edinburgh, serves students The new campus has already hosted by the Golden Jubilee In order to facilitate and deliver from the Faculty of Health, been awarded a BREEAM National Hospital; research the hospital now hosts Life and Social Sciences. (BRE Environmental The Faculty comprises Assessment Method) the NHS West Cardiovascular the School of Life, Sport & ‘excellent’ rating. Low carbon• provide excellent co-located and Metabolic Specialty Group Social Sciences and the emissions and effective hotel accommodation for whose members include NHS School of Nursing, Midwifery overall energy performance patients taking part in clinicians, academics, & Social Care - which are play a key part of the design. research projects; statisticians, and managers being brought together in one During construction, 8,000m3 from IT and R&D from across location for the first time. of demolition material was the West of Scotland. It is also recycled and incorporated into• enhance the clinical skills represented on Glasgow The 24,345m2 building is the the new building. training experience for all Biomedicine which links equivalent in size to three healthcare professionals Universities and the NHS in and a half football pitches. Dame Professor Joan through the provision of At its core is the eight storey Stringer, Principal and Vice the West of Scotland. two single bedroom ward block which was retained from Chancellor of Edinburgh simulation areas; the old university buildings, Napier University said, ‘I The Golden Jubilee National while a further 13,833m2 was am exceptionally proud of Hospital is keen to developGolden Jubilee National Hospital developed and integrated this new landmark building industrial partnerships with life around it. for the city. I believe that we sciences and medical device have created a truly special companies. Contact Dr Colin The new campus offers centre for the teaching of Berry in the first instance students and staff top-class health, science and sports T: 0141 951 5180 facilities including 25 specialist of which both our students E: teaching rooms and 9 clinical and Scotland can be proud. (PA) skills laboratories - including The architectural wow factor W: life-like hospital wards including and innovative facilities High Dependency Unit (HDU) combine to make it a first W: simulator suites which mimic class environment in which about-us/health-science intensive care treatment to learn.’
  • 10. 10 Nexxus News LEDs in life sciences LIGHt EMIttING dIodES of a similar device that uses a (LEds) have moved beyond the blue wavelength of light to treat realm of car dashboard displays acne and expects to bring this and high-tech televisions; these product to market later this year. tiny lights are beginning to make a big impact in life science ‘We still have a bank of IP in this applications. area and our key focus is to take what we believe is a potential From cancer therapy to technology platform and apply neuroscience research, Scottish it to other applications such as life scientists are building wound healing or cosmetic uses,’ companies based on LEDs, a said Ian. form of lighting that relies on semiconductor materials to mLEd produce long-lasting light with low energy consumption. Their The Glasgow-based company small size, hardiness and low Samuel, leader of the Organic depth of penetration into the skin mLED is based on an ethos of heat production also make LEDs Semiconductor Centre at the is attained. collaboration. The company’s the component-of-choice for University of St Andrews. future lies in making the most of inventors looking to incorporate ‘It’s a unique product,’ said Ian. collaborative efforts in several a light-producing element in their The device they developed ‘We’re the first ambulatory light different disciplines. life science devices. allows patients to receive source for PDT skin cancer Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) treatment on the market.’ mLED’s technology originated at The emergence of LEDs in life at home, at their convenience. the Institute of Photonics (IoP) at science devices is part of a wider PDT involves the application of Ambicare is rolling out Ambulight the University of Strathclyde, a trend towards cross-disciplinary a pharmaceutical to the skin, its PDT at a series of European commercially oriented research collaboration that draws on deep absorption, and then controlled centres and taking the product to unit that works to bridge the gap expertise in disparate specialties. exposure of the area to light, Australia, with hopes to expand between academic research Electronics, photonics and inducing a reaction that activates into the US soon as well. and industrial applications in optics researchers have years the drug to destroy cancer cells. photonics. In 2009, the now-CEO of experience developing The company also recently of mLED, Dr Jim Bonar, received LEDs in high-tech industry ‘It’s the same total dose of light completed the initial clinical trials funding to assess the commercial sectors, for specialist devices that the large static lamps in as well as general lighting, hospital would produce but over An array of microLEDs with pixel and this knowledge is now a longer period of time,’ said diameter of 72 um operating at benefiting those with life-science Ambicare Health CEO Dr Ian 370 nm applications in mind. Muirhead. Ambicare Health The original Ambulight PDT device James and Ifor developed used Patients with non melanoma Organic LEDs (OLEDs), which skin cancers can spend less can be placed on a thin substrate. time in hospital, thanks to an This allows the entire device to be LED device made by St Andrews small, portable, and lightweight based Ambicare Health. The with a disposable dressing. company, previously known as Ambicare’s production devices Lumicure, was founded in 2004 use LEDs and diffusers and the by Professor James Ferguson, red wavelength of light emitted by consultant dermatologist these LEDs matches that specified and head of the University by existing medical protocols. of Dundee’s Department of This ensures the pharmaceutical Dermatology and Professor Ifor is being activated and the desired
  • 11. Nexxus News 11potential of some of the research extremely small liquid samples.going on at the Institute in a six- The decay of this fluorescencemonth ‘CEO-designate’ role. intensity over time can also be measured with great sensitivity. Illuminated‘I got to look at the IoP’s RetractormicroLED technology, which In another project, mLED isI knew was internationally collaborating with the IoP andrenowned, to establish if there Stanford University in the US.was a good market opportunity They work in optogenetics,there,’ he said. a field that combines genetic engineering and optics to triggerThere was, and mLED spun out activity or inactivity of neurons,in July 2010. Micro LED arrays to study the central nervousrely on the same semiconductor system in action. Using mLED’stechnology as other LEDs, but technology can help controltheir uniqueness lies in their the firing of action potentials partners to help take the devicehigh power density and the in nerves and the biological to market. Market researchprecise control users have over processes being studied with commissioned by SHIL estimatesprogramming the dense patterns extremely high precision. working in NHS Ayrshire and that two thirds of hospitalof light displayed, both spatially Arran. procedures would benefit fromand temporally. Older methods of using light use of the Illuminated Retractor as this sort of trigger can Murali found operating room making the total global market forThe experts at mLED use this unintentionally affect more cells light sources did not adequately the device more than £ platform to reach than intended, but with mLED’s illuminate surgical cavities.out to several sectors including technology it becomes feasible Surgeons’ shadows could block All of these technologies rely onprinting, communications and life to target specific cells with less light from overhead lamps and expertise from physics, optics,sciences. ‘background noise’ or cross-talk head-mounted lights or fibre-optic life sciences and medicine amongst the cells. cables reduced mobility around for their inspiration, execution‘There’s a gap in the market for the operating room. Murali felt and development. Much ofour novel technology,’ said Jim. ‘This field is really catching fire,’ there had to be a better way to the photonics research that‘We can get feedback and work said Jim. ‘At first there were bring light into deep incisions, pre-dated these life sciencewith our customers to establish just four or five researchers and Scottish Health Innovations applications has made LEDsmutual capabilities. Our way of looking into this, and now there Ltd (SHIL) came on board to help energy efficient, long-lasting,operating is that we’re keen to are hundreds or thousands. We develop the concept. dynamic, and inexpensive. Withestablish collaboration, reach out are in a position where we can this technology developmentto people who will be able to take deliver the tools and products to ‘We felt there was fantastic opening up greater possibilitiesour capabilities to enhance their help researchers’ ambitions in potential in this area,’ said for LEDs, it has become feasibleoffering.’ this area. Jim McGuire, the SHIL project to bring these little lights into a leader. ‘It is a wholly Scottish whole new sector, incorporatingmLED has sold demonstrator ‘We recognise that only by having collaboration between SHIL, NHS them into medical and scientificdevices of their platform open relationships in certain Scotland, Design LED Products to the US, China, applications will we be able Ltd, Fearsomengine Ltd, andSouth Korea, Israel and to progress. We’re very much NHS Ayrshire and Arran.’ For further information contact:Germany, to blue chip companies about partnering. That’s why the Ian Muirheadand to SMEs. Closer to home, scientific research market is of The Illuminated Retractor Ambicare Health LtdmLED is considering life science so much interest to us, to use combines a conventional self- E: info@ambicarehealth.comapplications identified by the our skill set to help meet those retaining retractor with built-in W: www.ambicarehealth.comIoP and partners such as the demands.’ LEDs, accomplishing two jobs atUniversity of Edinburgh. once - holding open the incision Jim Bonar, mLED Illuminated retractor and directly illuminating the T: 0141 548 4233One application is ‘on chip’ cavity. E: jim.bonar@mled-ltd.commicro-fluorimetry, in which the Another example of a Scottish W: www.mled-ltd.commicroLED array technology, LED based technology began Prototypes of the disposable Jim McGuire, SHILcoupled with other devices, can with a specialist registrar in retractor have been developed T: 0141 248 7334shine a specific wavelength of general and vascular surgery, and SHIL is seeking, and is in E: to stimulate fluorescence in Murali Subramaniam, who was discussion with, commercial W:
  • 12. 12 Nexxus News Investing in life sciences and talent GrAMPIAN BIoPArtNErS and application that guides their technique allows easy, quick Ltd (GBP), based in Aberdeen, investment decisions. GBP is and cost-effective access using was formed in 2008 by three unusual in that it only invests a minimally invasive technique. colleagues who were the in life sciences, and then, only Through its subsidiary, Oristem, scientific founders of Haptogen, in segments of the market the the company now offers stem a spinout from the University of principals are totally familiar cell collection and banking to Aberdeen. Haptogen was a drug with - immunodiagnostics and individuals. discovery company developing devices, immunotechnology, protein-based treatments for life biologic drug discovery. GBP Athol Haas, Pharmacells’ threatening diseases including has particular expertise in the CEO sees real value in GBP’s bacterial infections and liver areas of antibody diagnostics hands-on approach - ‘Grampian disease/fibrosis. Haptogen also and biologic therapeutics. BioPartners has become a key launched a new antibody platform More recently it has also made part of our business model. technology that pioneered early stage assessments and Deborah O’Neil, NovaBiotics It has contributed not only the isolation and use of shark investments in regenerative financially but also with expert antibodies for the treatment of medicine and vaccine/drug period in the company’s lifecycle. advice, contacts and general disease. Professor Andy Porter, delivery companies. GBP’s ability to understand the life sciences business savvy. It and Drs Gillian Broadbent and science and the company’s was very important for us to not Keith Charlton became the core NovaBiotics novel technology platform from only raise the finance we need to team of GBP following Haptogen’s an early stage, and to grasp achieve our goals but to attempt acquisition by Wyeth. The experience with NovaBiotics the therapeutic and commercial to include useful partners that demonstrates GBP’s willingness potential of the product candidates can improve our business where to undertake due diligence on NovaBiotics has developed, has possible. Our partnership with behalf of other potential investors, been key to attracting syndicated GBP continues to prove that this and to take the lead in supporting co-investment from other funds decision was the right one for us.’ funding rounds. including Tri Capital, Aurora, Discovery Investment Fund ImmunoSolv Early in 2008, GBP made its first and Scottish Enterprise. The investment in Aberdeen based funding rounds in which GBP has ImmunoSolv, based in Edinburgh Andy NovaBiotics, which designs and participated and, latterly, led have with laboratories in Aberdeen Porter develops novel peptide-based helped transform NovaBiotics too, is another company in anti-infectives. Drug development from a preclinical company GBP’s portfolio. Its in-depth GBP is establishing itself as an is a hugely expensive process, with exciting technology and knowledge of apoptosis enabled active, yet informal investment and GBP has invested in the potential products to a leading the company to develop Dead- syndicate for angel investors company five times. Progress biotechnology entity with clinically Cert® technology to improve the wishing to back young life has been rapid - NovaBiotics’ validated anti-infective drug quality of cell populations in vitro science companies. Typical lead compound the biologic, candidates.’ through a novel platform enabling investments range from £10K Novexatin, a brush-on treatment the detection and removal of non- to around £250K. Becoming co- for nail fungus, has successfully Pharmacells/oristem investment partners with Scottish completed Phase IIa clinical trails. Enterprise in 2010 has enabled And further exciting products are Pharmacells is a young GBP’s investees to access in the pipeline. biotechnology company. It is additional funds for investment. based in Glasgow and has Asked about the benefits of GBP’s exclusive rights to a novel adult All three principals were, and still involvement with NovaBiotics, its stem cell technique. It has the consider themselves to be, active Chief Executive, Deborah O’Neil ability to identify, isolate, process scientists, and it is their deep commented, ‘GBP has invested and store recently discovered understanding of science, and of serially in NovaBiotics over the pluripotent cells directly from the benefits of its development course of what has been a critical a blood sample. Its patented
  • 13. Nexxus News 13viable cells. Already generating an innovative Aberdeen funds. Enquiries from both with his vast knowledge of liferevenues, the company has company that has developed a potential investors, and sciences business success. Hisbig plans to develop more tools clinically proven non-invasive from companies looking for particular dual skill set as bothand techniques, and to further early and predictive test for investment are routed through a highly regarded scientist andpromote its expertise in antibody bladder cancer diagnosis the ‘contact’ page on its a successful business owner, isisolation and engineering. and monitoring. A similar website. Several investments a very useful combination andDr Ruth Murray CEO of approach looks very likely to are under discussion, and GBP serves to make PharmacellsImmunoSolv adds, ‘…support be applicable to diagnosis and will be investing further funds into a stronger business allthrough the investment funding monitoring of prostate cancer over the coming months. round.’from Grampian BioPartners and too.the Scottish Co-Investment Fund The final words are, perhaps, For further information aboutis a key part of ImmunoSolv’s During the past year, new best left to Athol Haas who Grampian BioPartners and thestrategy to strengthen our investors have joined the succinctly summarises the companies featured seepresence in key markets and syndicate, and James Shaw, strength of GBP’s proposition, W: www.grampianbiopartners.comto deliver sustainable growth.’ GBP’s Company Secretary, ‘One of GBP’s key contributors, W: has established his own Professor Andy Porter, has W: www.immunosolv.comCytosystems practice in London and become a non-executive W: Edinburgh, extending GBP’s director of Pharmacells. Andy W: www.oristem.comIn the area of diagnostics, GBP geographic reach, and its works continually to add to our W: invested in Cytosystems access to further investment proposition and product range Neuroscientists gather GLASGoW NEUroSCIENCE covered optic nerve hypoplasia, clinic induced neuroprotection, - an academic and clinical visual perception, amblyopia and neurotoxicity, spinal cord injury, community which aims stereopsis. pain inflammation, vision, to stimulate and improve neurodevelopment neuroscience across Glasgow Among the neurodisabilities and neurodegeneration. - reconvened in January explored, either in the laboratory for the second Glasgow or in patients, were stroke, During the wine reception at the Neuroscience Day. Over a schizophrenia and Rett’s end of the day, Graeme Boyle, hundred neuroscientists from syndrome. Nexxus Director, awarded prizes universities and hospitals Graeme Boyle presents to PhD students Emma Reid and gathered at Glasgow Caledonian Basic research was also well Emma Reid with her prize Kamal Gadalla – both from the University for a day of talks and represented with presentations University of Glasgow – in respect posters with sponsors including on free radicals, P2Y receptors, research as it is understood and of best oral presentation and best Blackwell Exhibitions, Nexxus, auditory cortex organisation, disseminated by policy makers poster prize respectively. PerkinElmer, PsyRING, and neurotransmission and and the media. Stratech Scientific Ltd. interneurons. The organising committee As before on Glasgow received extremely favourable The neuroscience of vision Universally acknowledged as Neuroscience Day, the speakers feedback from attendees, was a prominent theme of the the highlight of the day however were at all stages of their and are already using their day. Consultant Paediatric was Keynote Speaker Professor academic careers, from PhD suggestions in planning Ophthalmologist Professor David Nutt, a global expert on students to senior professors. The Glasgow Neuroscience Day Gordon Dutton’s opening talk neuroscience who has devoted more junior speakers rose to the 2012. To keep abreast of gave fascinating examples his career to the development of challenge admirably, producing this and to hear about other of people’s responses to responses to the heath problems talks of excellent quality and forthcoming neuroscience- compromised vision and Dr associated with addiction, anxiety clarity. The poster presentations related events, seminars and Carrie Ballantyne described and other psychiatric diseases. His demonstrated further the jobs, contact Tomoko Iwata compromised visuo-spatial lecture ‘Science and nonscience in great diversity and quality of (E:Tomoko.Iwata@glasgow. development in children with drug policy’ was entertaining and neuroscience research being to request the monthly autism and fragile X syndrome. informative and took attendees carried out in Glasgow. Topics e-newsletter produced by the Other talks and posters on vision on a journey through drug ranged from basic research to group.
  • 14. 14 Nexxus News Best foot forward A JoINt rESEArCH and functional form of orthoses is The consortium meet to discuss innovation initiative led by difficult to verify, and repeat progress at the offices of Glasgow Caledonian University, prescriptions can be inaccurate. Orthobaltic services, an SME A-FOOTPRINT, aims to develop Hand manufacturing using project partner based in Kaunus, novel ankle/foot and foot thermoplastics limits design Lithuania orthoses for common disabling choice and limits personalised conditions which are cost function to simple parameters effective, high-speed to market, such as cushioning and and personalised for form and range of motion. Innovation function. in the sector is limited and market competitiveness is Up to 196 million Europeans weak. For both private and suffer disabling foot and ankle nationalised healthcare sectors, pain and the prevalence is set reimbursement for orthotic to rise in an ageing society treatment varies from country with increasing chronic long to country making potentially term conditions. Ankle and foot available markets in Europe orthoses are used to treat many difficult to access. of these conditions, costing approximately €312M per annum To address these problems fit and comfort and functional Materialise NV from Belgium across European health services. the A-FOOTPRINT project performance. Rapid provision will lead the development However, approximately 70% was funded by the European of better orthotic devices with of computer-aided design of these medical devices are Commission in the Seventh excellent supporting technologies software exploiting their made using traditional techniques Framework Cooperation and services should result in expertise from the dental relying on impression casts, Work Programme, under quicker recovery times, reduced sector. The clinical-academic templates and hand fabrication. theme 4 for Nanosciences, symptoms and improved centres at Glasgow Caledonian Personalised devices provide Nanotechnologies, Materials and functional ability thus increasing University, the Mobilab at more effective outcome in terms New Production Technologies1 the quality of life for European KHK University in Belgium of symptom reduction, fit, comfort at a total cost of €5.3M. This citizens with disabling foot and and the University Hospital and aesthetics but are more 48 month joint research and ankle conditions. Working closely Maastricht in the Netherlands costly and time consuming to innovation initiative is led by with multiple stakeholders, the are working alongside SME manufacture. Patient supply Professor Jim Woodburn, project will also develop flexible partners AnyBody Technology typically takes 28 days, the Professor of Rehabilitation, business models sensitive to from Denmark and RSscan Institute for Applied Health different healthcare models International from Belgium to Figure 1. subject- Research, Glasgow Caledonian across Europe. The project develop musculoskeletal, multi- specific foot model University. The consortium specifically targets benefits to body and finite element analysis used to design and optimise a groups and coordinates research, SMEs in the orthotic sector.’ simulations to understand foot personalised foot analysis and pilot testing in five and ankle function in health orthotic device universities, six SMEs and one A-FOOTPRINT is organised as and in impaired states across industrial partner across seven nine integrated work packages. a range of common, disabling European countries. Fontys University from the foot and ankle disorders. These Netherlands will work with simulation techniques will also ‘The A-FOOTPRINT approach Orthotic SME partners (Firefly be used to develop numerical will automate processes to speed Orthoses, Ireland; Junquera y optimisation algorithms in order up the manufacture, delivery and Diz, Spain; Baltic Orthoservice, to optimise orthotic designs supply of personalised devices Lithuania; and Peacocks Medical based on patient-specific exploiting digital scanning, Group, UK) to develop new criteria. To build these models computer-aided design and rapid intelligent patient information the clinical centres will provide manufacturing,’ explains Jim. systems to enable improved the biomechanical modelling ‘Novel devices will be developed diagnostics and prescribing scientists with personalised which are cost-effective, yet protocols for personalised data sets comprising computed personalised to provide better orthoses. tomographic and magnetic
  • 15. Nexxus News 15resonance images of the covering central and distributedfoot and ankle along with manufacturing models.detailed three-dimensionalkinematic (movement) andkinetic (force) data and muscle ‘Co-ordinating the A-FOOTPRINT study New alliancefunction information from presents Glasgow Caledonianelectromyography (see Figure University with a fantastic CLYdEBANK BASEd Tissue specific biomarker panels1 on previous page). opportunity to grow and Solutions and Nottingham is unparalleled.’ Other tools develop capacity and capability based CompanDX have in CompanDX’s “Distiller”Solid freeform fabrication in leading and managing joined forces in a co- portfolio allow for uniquetechniques such as selective large-scale, multinational and promotion and service pathways interactions mapslaser sintering will be interdisciplinary projects with agreement to provide clients to be produced showing thebenchmarked for orthotic an industrial focus to SMEs. in the pharmaceutical and changes in gene interactionsmanufacture by researchers The complexity of the study is biotech sectors with an following differing the University of Newcastle, challenging but highly rewarding unparalleled opportunity to Pre-clinical studies examiningUK. Exploiting the capabilities of as we take ideas from the lab link the supply of human the effects of drug treatmentslayer or additive manufacturing and convert them into treatment tissues and biofluids to on tissues or cells providedwill enable orthotics to be products which will directly subsequent biomarker and by Tissue Solutions can nowdeveloped with new functional benefit our patients.’ target identification studies. be interrogated to revealproperties and capabilities such changes in expressed geneas variable wall stiffness and The A-FOOTPRINT project The two organisations met at interactions, paving the wayembedded sensing. Prototype is due to be completed in the the Genesis Conference in for co-therapy or therapydevices will undergo pre-clinical autumn of 2013. London in December 2010, planning decisions.evaluation using standard ISO where Tissue Solutionsmechanical testing and first- For further information contact was a guest of Nexxus, And CompanDX now hasonto-man clinical trials across Jim Woodburn, Glasgow and immediately realised a route to allow clients toclinical centres in Europe. Caledonian University there was potential to translate in silico studies to T: 0141 331 8483 work together to mutual human ex vivo data usingJim concludes, ‘Research E: advantage. Tissue Solutions the capabilities of Tissueand technology developments W: provides ethically acquired Solutions to source a widewithin A-FOOTPRINT will be and fully consented quality variety of annotated clinicalcombined in a fully integrated human tissue for research for samples from tissues andsystem with the production of Grant agreement NMP2- 1 the development of ex vivo bloods, hair follicles, urineprototype devices demonstrated SE-2009-228893 assays, toxicity testing and and saliva. With increasingwithin an SME pilot factory. target/biomarker discovery pressure on the Industry toMarket surveys are currently and validation, whilst reduce the cost and failurebeing performed to develop CompanDX provides leading rate of clinical trials, methodsnew SME business models edge bioinformatics support that allow companies to in the delivery of composite predict response, identify biomarker panels, drug toxicity issues and drug targets and information on interactions are very much compensatory pathways. the order of the day. Morag McFarlane, CSO Dr Andy Sutton, CEO of of Tissue Solutions said, CompanDx said, ‘The ‘This partnership provides alliance between Tissue a real opportunity to offer Solutions and CompanDX the industry a package that offers an exceptional hasn’t been available before. opportunity for the industry to To be able to conduct ex vivo tap into resources and tools experiments using relevant that provide a human centric clinical samples and then approach and that could have the tools ready to distil address the needs of anA subject undergoes detailed gait analysis out highly sensitive and embattled sector.’
  • 16. 16 Nexxus News My Job a few classes and have even working hard to finish over the been subjected to marking next few months. undergraduate assignments. The other big thing coming up EUSci activities then take up for me is the hunt to secure whatever time I have left in the a good postdoc. I’m keen to day. While editing, we would continue research into the field be constantly working towards of developmental genetics and deadlines (content, artwork, cancer and have been looking copyediting, printing, etc), each for labs that have the right fit with their own set of challenges. with my research interests. Certain days would involve I’ve started talking to people at chasing down writers, others conferences and meetings and were spent handling the logistics will be putting significant effort of getting 32 pages of content into promoting myself and my edited by different people, and research in the hope of having then finally trying to track down a position secured by the time I enough funding to publish. finish my PhD. Hayden Selvadurai, PhD Student, magazine, a semesterly popular Centre for Integrative Physiology, science magazine published Q: So what’s taken up most Q: What would you want to University of Edinburgh and former by staff and students at the of your time recently? do if you weren’t doing what Editor-In-Chief of EUSci magazine University of Edinburgh (www. you’re doing now? After a bit of writing After handing over the editorial Q: So what is it you do? and editing, I took over as Editor- reins for EUSci I spend less I’ve always enjoyed science in-Chief for a couple of issues, time on the logistics of putting writing and communication and For my PhD project, supervised a role that, in addition to writing each issue together, though had considered trying to get by Dr John Mason in the Centre and editing content, tested my am still involved, primarily in into science publishing when I for Integrative Physiology, organisation and management securing funding. So far we’ve finished University. However, I’m investigating the role a skills to the extreme! been meeting the printing costs I realised towards the end of particular gene pathway plays for each issue through a mix of my MSc back home in New in brain development and how Q: tell us about a typical day grant funding and advertising Zealand that I should stick to its deregulation contributes to (or is there no such thing?). sales, though now we are trying research while I had the drive tumour formation. to work out a sustainable way of to do it. As luck would have it One of my favourite things about financing the magazine. To this I got a scholarship to do my The brain is an enormously the academic environment is end we’ve initiated discussions PhD at Edinburgh University complex structure and forms that there is no such thing as a with various members of the and fortunately have had ample under the direction of an even typical day. Certain days I have University and Edinburgh opportunity to maintain my more complex interplay of genes a heavy load of hands-on lab Beltane, who are providing interests in both science writing being switched on and off in work, while other days are spent useful guidance. and research at the same time. the right place at the right time. behind a microscope or computer When this goes awry, defects analysing data. Q: What’s on the cards for For further information, in development can arise or the next few months? contact Hayden tumours can form as a result At the moment I’m also writing T: 0131 651 1707 of excessive growth. I’m trying up my findings for publication. Obviously finishing my PhD E: to uncover the role one set of Various teaching activities also project in a timely fashion is my genes plays in this process in a keep me busy. I’m supervising main concern at the moment. particular part of the brain. an honours student, which I’ve had a bit of bad luck with involves a mix of bench one of my experimental models Outside of the lab, I’ve had a fair instruction and discussing the so have had to plan out a new bit of involvement with EUSci project in fine detail. I also tutor set of experiments, which I’m
  • 17. Nexxus News 17Translational research –a vital keytrANSLAtIoNAL rESEArCH fully applied in the clinical situation Clearly, alternative approaches are candidates by assessing drughas been much talked about in and visa versa. Information required to improve the predictability potential at the early stages of therecent years, but what exactly is feedback from the clinic is of action and ultimately reduce pre-clinical research and clinicalit and how important is it set to particularly important with ‘first in the huge costs associated with development. Such biomarkersbecome? Dr John Waller and class’ molecules (new concept clinic failures. Using translational may focus on evaluatingDr Lorcan Sherry, both formerly drugs with no precedent in the research approaches, it is possible appropriate target expressionsenior research pharmacologists clinic). Here the data from Phase I to carry out pre-clinical and clinical and compound exposure,at MSD (Merck & Co.), and studies (typically pharmacokinetic studies using such techniques engagement, efficacy and Directors of newly formed and pharmacodynamic studies) as PET imaging and receptor However, it is imperative thatOracleBio give us their thoughts. can feed back from the clinic occupancy studies to ensure that the chosen biomarker responds and influence studies carried the compound is engaging with similarly in both pre-clinical‘In essence, translational research out in a pre-clinical setting. This the target molecule in sufficient models and humans, therebyinvolves carrying out a scientific can generate data that can be quantities and extrapolate this to allowing cross-species integrationstudy with the focus on how the very useful for the continued the clinical situation. of data and strong translationaldata generated can be applied to development of the compound interpretation of results.the population under study,’ said in Phase II and III studies. In Only once this type of informationJohn. ‘In the field of biological addition, the data can be used to has been confirmed, and the ‘In summary,’ he concluded,research and drug development, influence the work carried out on correct molecule selected, would ‘the future value of translationaltranslational research strives to any ‘back-up’ compounds. a compound progress to the more research will depend on continuedbetter connect laboratory based costly Phase II studies with the efforts to integrate researchdrug discovery with new therapies ‘This change in mindset expectation that the success rate information and knowledge acrossbeing developed in the clinic has prompted a number of should be higher. industry, hospitals and academicand demands a multi-directional pharmaceutical companies to institutions to deliver robust,dialogue between the drug implement ‘proof of concept’ role of biomarkers validated, translational researchdiscovery scientists and clinicians.’ teams comprising of both pre- tools to better characterise both clinical scientists and clinical A critical component of drug and disease responses earlierThe drive for translational exploratory medicine experts translational research within drug and with greater confidence.’research within the drug that together, can bridge the gap discovery programmes is thediscovery industry has come between pre-clinical and clinical implementation of biomarkers. OracleBio offers both practicalabout due to the vast amounts studies,’ he concluded. ‘A biomarker is something that can and consultancy translationalof investment in research and be measured and evaluated as biomarker services todevelopment that have resulted In action an indicator of normal biological pharmaceutical companies, SMEin a significantly lower return on processes, pathogenic processes, drug development companiesinvestment than anticipated. An example of translational or pharmacological responses and other organisations within research in action includes to a therapeutic intervention,’ the life science sector. For further‘In the search for the answer clinical studies investigating said John’s co-director Lorcan. information contact John orto this problem, drug discovery the actions of drugs on the ‘Biomarkers can reduce the Lorcan at orinstitutions have highlighted central nervous system. In the attrition rate of late stage clinical see research as the key specific case where a new anti-to future success,’ he continued. depressant concept drug fails to‘Previously, it was not uncommon provide anti-depressant action,for pre-clinical scientists to work the clinical scientists may be lefton a drug discovery programme wondering if the mechanism ofand hand over the project to a action is appropriate for treatingcompletely different set of clinical depression or, alternatively, if thescientists with little or no continuity. compound failed to reach theThis scenario often meant specific target areas of the brainhowever that information gathered in sufficient quantities to havein the pre-clinical stage was not the desired effect.
  • 18. 18 Nexxus News In a bookshop near you SEVErAL of our local Stem Cells: Scientific scientist-authors have had facts and fiction recent releases which are in by Christine Mummery, Ian the bookshops now - here’s a Wilmut, Anja Van de Stolpe rundown of just some of them and Bernard Roelen to whet your appetite. Stem cell science is moving from Another Kingdom: forward so rapidly that it can often the amazing world of be difficult to keep up with new fungi edited by Lynne Boddy developments, their implications, and Max Coleman and separate the facts from the fiction. ‘Fungi can kill and cure us, they can also poison and feed This book, providing clear and us,’ states the introduction of impartial information, was written this new book from the Royal by four researchers led by a Botanic Garden Edinburgh. distinguished developmental biologist, Professor Christine much more than this and I hope antiseptic, Simpson’s discovery Mummery of the University of my research demonstrates that the of chloroform and the intriguing Leiden and including Professor lessons learned in the early years story of ‘James Barry’, who Sir Ian Wilmut of the University should not be forgotten,’ she said. qualified in Edinburgh in 1812 of Edinburgh. and had a successful career Bodysnatchers to as an army doctor but was, According to publisher Elsevier, Lifesavers: three Centuries after death, discovered to be a this book ‘provides readers with of Medicine in Edinburgh woman. The book also covers the information they require to by Tara Womersley and more recent developments such form their own opinions on the Professor Dorothy H. Crawford as a revolutionary treatment for use of stem cells on the basis tuberculosis, creation of a synthetic of facts rather than hype.’ There is no doubt that colourful vaccine for hepatitis B and the characters from Edinburgh’s cloning of Dolly the Sheep. Mycologists - scientists who opportunities not medical history have appeal. The study fungi - suspect that 1.5 Prescriptions: the authors, both from the University If you have a new (non-textbook) million species of fungi exist, development of of Edinburgh, detail medical life science book coming out, or though only 100,000 have been occupational therapy developments in Edinburgh from a great life-science read by local identified. This book, for the in Scotland 1900 – 1960 the time the University’s medical authors to recommend, get in general reader, introduces fungi, by Dr Catherine Paterson school opened its doors in 1726. touch with k.fink@nexxusscotland. their role in maintaining life as we Tales include Lister’s discovery of com. know it, uses of fungi in everyday A University of Aberdeen life, and examines our complex academic explores the history cultural attitudes to them. of occupational therapy and the growth of its practice over the ‘What makes this book so years in Scotland in this book. special is that it brings together Dr Patterson believes that an some of the world’s most appreciation of the history of authoritative scientists to occupational therapy has an create a beautifully illustrated, important role to play in helping enthralling and highly readable newcomers to the profession. account of the world of fungi,’ writes Stephen Blackmore ‘There is a view of the profession FRSE, Regius Keeper, Royal simply as getting people out of Botanic Garden Edinburgh, hospital as quickly as possible. For Ian Wilmut with in the book’s foreword. me, occupational therapy involves Dolly the Sheep
  • 19. Nexxus News 19Youngsters SET to inspiredr AILEEN LotHIAN designs Aileen’s aim is to prepare developing and delivering further students and researchersScience, Engineering and young, talented students to programmes, along with the throughout Scotland on newTechnology programmes solve important environmental potential for expansion into China educational programmes.designed to give pupils hands- problems, and through hard and India. Aileen was invited toon experience of Science, work, and research provide a exhibit at the Eco Expo Exhibition ‘We’re planning programmesEngineering and Technology fundamental understanding of in Hong Kong in November 2010 on topics including biofuels and(SET). Her projects also aim to the importance of protecting our and was also invited to the C40 windpower, which have greatencourage work related learning environment by reducing the conference (C40 refers to a local industry and researchwithin an industrial enterprise. amount of carbon emissions group of 40 cities around the connections. We’re also making released into our atmosphere. world committed to reducing future plans for further educationalMany pupils, teachers and SET The Young SET Ambassadors greenhouse gas emissions). company visits in 2011,’ saidcompanies benefit from personal programmes have been very There, she met environmental Aileen. She is keen to hear fromdevelopment enhancing their successful with the winners of world leaders and discussed any individuals working in theseeducation and management skills the Edinburgh Awards Day final the Young SET Ambassadors fields who would be interestedand encouraging them to develop reaching the UK finals in London. programmes with interested in acting as an Ambassador ortheir creativity and innovation. The energy and renewables parties from government, industry hosting an industry visit.Aileen leads the Young SET programmes were awarded third- and educational establishments.Ambassadors programmes, equal in the UK finals in 2010, She is planning to expand the Announcement of the currentfocused on encouraging talented and the recycling programme programmes and roll them out Young SET Ambassadorsyoung people in Scotland to Edinburgh winners reached the in other countries. programme ‘Reduce Our Carbonconsider careers in science, UK finals, to be held in Marchengineering and technology. The 2011 in London. The Young SET St Augustine’s Roman Catholic High School, winners of the £1,000programme aims to encourage Ambassadors are designed to prize money for the recycling programme 2010work-related learning within an help increase pupils’ education,industrial enterprise. Recent knowledge about science,topics have included energy and engineering and technology andrenewables projects, recycling help young people to developprojects and carbon emissions- their self-esteem, confidence andreduction programmes at schools ability to communicate with othersand SET companies in the East about their hard work carriedLothian, Midlothian, West Lothian out whilst participating on theand Edinburgh areas. programmes.School teams of six pupils, aged The programmes are supportedbetween 12 and 14 years, by mentors, teachers andacross a variety of locations influential leaders including the Young women, in particular, Footprint’ winner will be madein Scotland take part in Young First Minister, the Rt Hon Alex progress rapidly when they in May 2011 at the UniversitySET Ambassador programmes. Salmond, MSP who accompanied take part in the Young SET of Edinburgh. Young SETEnrolled Ambassadors from the Young SET Ambassadors to Ambassadors programmes, Ambassadors was a shortlistedscience, engineering and China in June 2010, where he notes Aileen. Many young candidate in the Nexxus 2010technology companies are linked led the presentation in Shanghai people consider taking careers Most Promising Young Lifewith the students, providing at the World Expo to help grow up in science, engineering and Science Company of thementoring guidance to the teams Scottish Businesses in China. technology after participating Year Award (East).through the project. The projects, Iain Gray MSP also supports and are keen to go on to furtherwhich run from August to June the environmental programmes education, as visits to universities, For further information or toeach year culminate in a local and presents the Young SET and industry, through the SET offer your services, contactYoung SET Ambassador Awards Ambassadors Awards to schools, programme, have proven Aileen LothianDay at which each group presents companies and ambassadors at inspiring. T: 0131 472 4824a working model illustrating the the Edinburgh Final Awards Day. E: aileen@youngsetproject and a top finish here can Aileen is looking forward to orlead to progression to a UK-wide Future developments are working with schools, SET E: enquiries@youngsetcompetition. underway in designing, businesses and university
  • 20. 20 Nexxus News Improved prospects MEMBERS OF THE STEERING GROUP Nexxus promotes and Current members of the supports research East Steering Group are: excellence, innovation and knowledge transfer within Till Bachmann (Chair), the life science community University of Edinburgh; Scotland. Since its launch Jennifer Shipston (Vice Chair), in 2003, it has been Charles River Laboratories; guided by representatives Fiona Godsman, Kelados; from all aspects of the Lee Innes, Moredun life science community Research Institute; Patrick in Scotland including: McCarthy, Genecom; Ruth Prospect House universities, further Murray, ImmunoSolv; education colleges, NHS Alison Bennett, Scottish oNorACH CLINICAL has In December 2010 the company Trusts, professional service Enterprise; Aidan Courtney, relocated to Prospect House, signed a partnership agreement with suppliers and life science Roslin Cells; Jane Kennedy, Dundee Technology Park. The Boston based CliniWorks Inc. to industry representatives. Roslin BioCentre; Christine clinical trial support company distribute their AccelFind™ patient Phillips, NHS Lothian; specialises in supporting its recruitment application in the UK and Current members of the Bob Millar, MRC Human clients to set up and deliver Ireland. The web-based application West Steering Group are: Reproductive Sciences clinical trials covering Phases I to uses real patient data to quickly Unit; Malcolm Bateman, IV. It’s also experienced in clinical find candidates eligible for studies, Chris Packard (Chair), Edinburgh Science Triangle. trial services for medical devices thus reducing the time required for NHS Greater Glasgow and and cell-based therapeutics. feasibility studies, clinical trials and Clyde; Fiona Godsman For further information about even protocol development. (Vice Chair), Kelados; Scotland’s life science industry Managing Director Professor Alison Bennett, Scottish or to tell Nexxus about a news Christene Leiper is pleased with ‘We are now looking forward to Enterprise; Kevin Cullen, story or event which would be the company’s new premises. generating valuable joint services University of Glasgow; of interest to the community, ‘There’s no doubt that the for pharma companies, research John Bremner, Link contact Nexxus at:- campus style environment centres and hospitals,’ said Technologies; Alastair and the nicely landscaped Onorach’s CEO Stephen Leiper, Muir, Vistage; John Waller, 10 The Square, surroundings make this an ‘The additional space in our new OracleBio; Graeme University Avenue, attractive place to work,’ she premises also means we have Milligan, University of Glasgow said, ‘but, more importantly, room to accommodate more staff Glasgow; Janet Halliday, G12 8QQ the relocation means that we as we grow to meet demand.’ Controlled Therapeutics; T: 0141 330 5381 are now more easily accessible to customers and the higher For more information on Onorach’s Kevan Gartland, specification accommodation also services contact Christene Leiper Glasgow Caledonian Roslin BioCentre, means we can offer improved, T: 07918 168 127 University; Catherine Wallace Building, faster services and turnaround.’ E: Breslin, University of Roslin, Midlothian Strathclyde; Louise Rice EH25 9PP Editor: Jan Clark, Nexxus. Editorial Assistant - Kate Fink, Nexxus. (HR Consultant); Jim T: 0131 200 6411 Design: Catchline Communications. Production: Print Services, University of Strathclyde. Hay, Scottish Colleges Page images: Angel Biotechnology (cover, 5), Tom Finnie Photography (2 – top, 4), Glasgow Caledonian University (3), Golden Jubilee National Hospital (8, 9 - bottom), Edinburgh Napier Biotechnology Consortium E: University (9 – top), Martin Dawson, IoP (10 – bottom), Grampian BioPartners (12 - left), NovaBiotics (12 – middle), ImmunoSolv (12 – right), Glasgow Neuroscience (13), A-FOOTPRINT (acting representative). W: Consortium (14 and 15), Ray and Elma Kearney (18 – left), University of Aberdeen (18 – top), The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh (18 – bottom), Christene Leiper, Onorach (20). Since its inception, Nexxus has been funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the Scottish Enterprise Network, Glasgow City Council and the University of Glasgow. Additional funding is now also provided by East Dunbartonshire Council; the Edinburgh Science Triangle (comprising the University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University, Moredun Research Institute, Roslin Foundation, NHS Lothian, Scottish Enterprise, Edinburgh Technopole, Heriot-Watt Research Park, Pentlands Science Park, Roslin BioCentre and the councils of The City of Edinburgh, Midlothian, West Lothian and East Lothian); Glasgow Caledonian University; the Glasgow:Edinburgh Collaboration; NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde; North Lanarkshire Council; Renfrewshire Council; SEEKIT; the University of Strathclyde and the University of the West of Scotland.