21 January 2015

Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC), the UK’s first open innovation bioscience campus, is delighted to announce that UCL was one of the six exciting academic research projects to have been selected for support under its open innovation challenge in neurodegenerative disease.

Recognising the need for new approaches to tackle diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, SBC worked with MIMIT1 and the universities’ Academic Health Science Centre technology transfer organisations2 to develop the scheme, which was launched last year. It is designed to provide small amounts of funding to kick-start research, and is supported by Astex Pharmaceuticals, Alzheimer’s Research UK, Eli Lilly, GE Healthcare Life Sciences and GSK, who are also contributing their extensive expertise. This will be invaluable to the selected projects, which focus on biomarkers for diagnosis and stratification, and the role of inflammation in neurodegeneration.

Selected on the basis of a range of criteria, including impact potential, the level of innovation and opportunities for collaboration, the SBC funding has facilitated an exciting partnership between UCL and the University of Cambridge. Professor Francesca Cordeiro, a clinical ophthalmologist and academic at the Institute of Ophthalmology, UCL and the Western Eye Hospital has teamed  with Professor Tony Holland, an expert in neurodevelopmental disorders in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge. The project explores the link between Down’s syndrome and the high risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Professor Cordeiro has developed a proprietary ocular diagnostic which can detect neurological changes in the brain and is working with Professor Holland in determining whether this can be used to identify early changes in Down’s patients with the aim of providing treatment earlier than is currently given. UCLB, the technology transfer company of UCL, holds a portfolio of patents covering the diagnostic and is currently in the process of its commercialisation.

1     Manchester: Integrating Medicine and Innovative Technology
2 AHSC technology transfer organisations involved: Cambridge Enterprise, Imperial Innovations, King’s Business, UCL Business, University of Manchester Intellectual Property, and Isis Innovation (Oxford University)

For more information about the UCL project, please contact:
Dr Rachel Hemsley, UCLB Senior Business Manager r.hemley@uclb.com

Notes for Editors
Selected projects

  • University of Cambridge/UCL: Retinal cell biomarkers in the eyes: proof of concept study in people with Down’s syndrome, a high-risk population for Alzheimer’s disease
  • University of Cambridge: inflammatory biomarkers and dementia risk in Parkinson’s Disease
  • University of Oxford: Metabolomics approach to diagnosis of progressive disease in multiple sclerosis using NMR
  • Imperial College London: micro-RNAs in population screening for cognitive impairment
  • University of Manchester: Use of multiple biomarkers to stratify Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
  • University of Manchester: Development of novel NLRP3 inflammazone inhibitors for Alzheimer’s disease

About Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst
Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst is the UK’s first open innovation bioscience campus, pioneering a unique culture to drive early stage bioscience technology and company development, and building a thriving community. It is backed by £38m of funding from its founding partners – GlaxoSmithKline, the Wellcome Trust, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Technology Strategy Boardand the former East of England Development Agency. Consisting of an Incubator, an Accelerator and a Hub, covering 60,000 sq ft of laboratory, office and networking space, the independent facility houses a range of companies, from virtual and start-up firms to those which are more established, as well as other organisations. Co-located with GlaxoSmithKline on the Stevenage site, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst is in the unique position of operating in proximity to the expertise and resources of a major pharmaceutical company, close to both London and Cambridge.

For more information, please go to: www.stevenagecatalyst.com

About Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst’s stakeholders
Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst’s stakeholders are GlaxoSmithKline (www.gsk.com), the Wellcome Trust (www.wellcome.ac.uk), the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (www.bis.gov.uk), Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board; www.innovateuk.org) and the former East of England Development Agency (www.eeda.org.uk)

About UCL Business PLC
UCL Business PLC (UCLB) is a leading technology transfer company that supports and commercialises research and innovations arising from UCL, one of the UK’s top research-led universities. UCLB has a successful track record and a strong reputation for identifying and protecting promising new technologies and innovations from UCL academics. UCLB has a strong track record in commercialising medical technologies and provides technology transfer services to UCL’s associated hospitals; University College London Hospitals, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the Royal Free London Hospital. It invests directly in development projects to maximise the potential of the research and manages the commercialisation process of technologies from laboratory to market.

For further information, please visit: www.uclb.com