The Life Sciences Research Network Wales and the Life Sciences Bridging Fund have team up to sponsor the Innovation Zone at this years BioWales Conference on Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th March.
Come and visit the Innovation Zone in Bar Fresh at BioWales and see our platform technology showcase, book a one 2 one session with our platform holders and check out some research presentations from Principal Investigators funded by the Life Sciences Bridging Fund and the Life Sciences Research Network. Please view the flyer below to see the full schedule of events in the Innovation Zone.
The Life Sciences Research Network Wales is part of the Welsh Government’s £50 million Sêr Cymru programme aimed at building research capacity within Wales.
As part of this initiative, the Welsh Government established three research Networks addressing the Grand Challenges of:
- Life sciences and health
- Advanced engineering and materials
- Low carbon, energy and environment
The Life Science Research Network Wales is based in Cardiff University and led by Dr Andrea Brancale. This initiative was supported by a grant of £7.3m from the Sêr Cymru programme and HEFCW and aims to discover and develop new drugs in areas of unmet medical and veterinary need.
The Network brings together leading academics from Aberystwyth, Bangor Cardiff, and Swansea Universities and has supported over 125 new research projects. The Network works closely with a number of industry partners, the NHS and other major funding bodies and has a strong focus on its links to other funders, such as the Life Sciences Bridging Fund who support a pathway to potential commercialisation of the outputs of academic research for ultimate patient benefit.
In its third year, the Network has supported a range of activities including PhD students, individual research projects and platform technologies at universities across Wales. This Scientific Drug Discovery Congress is an opportunity for students and leading academics from across Wales to highlight their research and discuss the challenges faced in developing the next generation of therapeutics. The event will be attended by a number of leading researchers whose work has successfully led to commercialisation, as well industry representatives with substantial experience in the journey through the drug development pathway.
Welsh Government Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James, will be attending the congress to give an address on the growth of the Life Sciences sector in Wales.
Speaking ahead of the event the Minister said:
“The Welsh Government recognises the importance bio-medical research can have for the Welsh economy, for Wales’ reputation as well as for the health of its people suffering from acute or chronic medical conditions. Over the last few years we have invested millions in supporting Life Sciences in Wales and as one of our key priority sectors, we are keen to see this important area grow even more.
“I am encouraged by the great work and results that the Life Sciences Research Network Wales is already producing and as a government we remain committed to working with industry and academia to further build on the existing excellence in our research base.”
Professor Julie Williams, Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales will also be attending to speak about the development of the Sêr Cymru programme and its vision going forward.
The Network is committed to developing the next generation of scientists and has supported 56 PhD students across Wales and 70 postdoctoral researchers. These researchers are developing the next generation of drugs to tackle major societal health issues such as:
- Antimicrobial Resistance
- Neurodegenerative diseases
The Network has already had success in commercialising the outcomes of the academic research and is supporting research with a biotechnology company to develop a technology originally patented by Cardiff University. The technology aims to inhibit the spread of breast cancer and is an excellent example of the World Class research developed within Wales potentially leading to new therapies. The company is already listed on the London Stock Exchange with a valuation of around £100m and hopes to be ready to go into human clinical trials in 2017.
Dr Brancale, the Scientific Director of the Network said: “the level of engagement with the Network, from academics has been immense so far. We have seen over 400 new drug discovery projects being submitted to us for review – and we have supported over 125 of them. The Network is making a real difference by focusing funding on potentially high impact research and supporting the discovery of novel potential therapeutics.
International Industry Collaboration
The Network has supported a PhD project which is also part funded by an international industry partner, Qbiotics Ltd. This project has been developing compounds for human wound healing and has filed several patents to protect the intellectual property being generated from this research. Due to the early positive outcomes, this project has secured follow on funding from the industrial partner. Due to their successful collaboration with academics based in Cardiff, Qbiotics hope that further developments from this project will lead to clinical trials in the near future.
Dr Ryan Moseley, Principal Investigator on the human wound healing project said: “Our collaborative research with Qbiotics is addressing the current lack of effective treatments for abnormal wound healing and excessive scarring in skin. Given our very promising results from laboratory studies, we are confident that such anti-scarring responses will be replicated during future human based studies, leading the successful development of these compounds as novel anti-scarring pharmaceuticals, thereby addressing the inadequacies of existing therapies for the benefit of patients and clinicians alike.”
A new €11.96m project will see world-leading universities from Wales and Ireland working together with small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) to develop innovative medical products that could revolutionise how we treat disease.
The Celtic Advanced Life Science Innovation Network (CALIN) collaborative programme aims to connect Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) with world leading Higher Educational Institutions including Bangor, Cardiff and Swansea Universities in Wales, and University College Dublin, The National University of Ireland Galway and Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork in Ireland.
Focusing on Precision Medicine (diagnostics, devices & therapeutics), Regenerative Medicine, and Bio-Compatibility & Safety Evaluation, CALIN will engage with businesses to support advanced life science product development through collaborative R&D.
The Welsh Government’s Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford said: “Life science is a key sector in Wales and Ireland and this funding will support research and development, which is vital to the creation of new products, technology and jobs.
To read more on this story please see the following links:
The Network has funded the following in its latest call:
Round 4 Funded Studentships
The network recently funded 13 Studentships in the 4th Round. Funded studentships include (PI and project title):
Prof Morgan, Targeting the terminal pathway in complement-driven disease
Dr Davies, Investigating novel small molecule enzyme inhibitors for treating cognitive decline and dementia
Dr Wang, Inhibiting IL-17 production by blocking endogenous RORγt agonists for the treatment of autoimmune diseases
Dr Tsai, Design and in vitro characterisation of a novel multimodular targeting platform for cancer treatment
Dr Tai, Smart Multifunctional Nanocarriers with Biodegradable and Dual Responsive (pH and temperature) Properties from Hyperbranched Polymers for Targeted Cancer Drug Delivery
Dr Johnson, Multiplexed in vitro assay for genetic toxicity screening
Dr Taylor, Targeting zinc signalling to prevent cell division in cancer
Dr Rozanowska, Novel Drug Therapy For Mitochondrial Optic Neuropathy and other Mitochondrial Diseases
Dr McBride, Developing an ovine model of Alzheimer’s disease
Dr Prokopovich, Nanotechnology induced prolonged antimicrobial activity of antibiotic loaded PMMA bone cements
Prof Sewell, Development of artificially enhanced T cells for targeting cancer
Prof Kanamarlapudi, Targeting of interleukin‐13 receptor (IL‐13R)2 expressing pancreatic cancer by a novel hybrid lytic peptide drug
Dr Lloyd-Evans, Developing new small molecule therapies for lysosomal diseases
Round 4 Funded Projects
The Network has recently awarded 15 round 4 research project grants. These include (PI and title):
Prof Sheldon, Countering the unrestrained inflammation of sepsis by targeting the JAK-STAT pathway in human macrophages
Prof Riccardi, Addressing an unmet medical need: developing inhaled calcilytics for steroid-resistant asthma
Dr Fallis, Long Life Imaging Probes for Dementia Patient Stratification
Dr Fallis, 18F-Gemcitabine as Diagnostic Tool in Personalised Chemotherapy
Prof Brambilla, Validation in rodent models of a novel approach to treat mood disorders based on ERK signalling stimulation
Prof Aeschlimann, A new angle to diagnosis and treatment of gluten related disorders
Dr Peall, Development of a Drosophila melanogaster model for SGCE mutation positive Myoclonus Dystonia
Dr Westwell, Chimeric phosphoramidate ProTides as anticancer and antiviral agents with fluorescent probes.
Dr Staples, Targeting Homologous Recombination to sensitise cancer cells to DNA-damaging agents
Prof Gumbleton, Development of Novel BMA-sulfobetaine Nanoparticle Delivery system to treat chronic wound infections
Dr Gwenin, The first preclinical analysis for a novel magnetically directed cancer treatment
Dr Loveridge, Novel antibacterial and antifungal natural products from Pseudomonas mesoacidophila
Prof Casini, Targeting G-quadruplex nucleic acid structures with caffeine gold compounds for cancer treatment
Dr Westwell, Developing Bcl3 inhibitors as anti-metastatic drug candidates
Dr Brancale, Development of a safer method for corneal stromal photo-crosslinking to stop the progression of keratoconus or to treat bacterial corneal infections
Round 2 Funded Impact Awards
The Network has recently funded 4 Research Impact Awards. These include (PI and title):
Dr Gonzalez, ADC targets from in-silico high-throughput screening identification into target validation
Dr Parker, Evaluation of folate receptor α (FRα) binding oligopeptides for targeted gene and drug delivery
Dr Patel, Evaluation of Novel CD200:CD200R Blockade Cancer Immunotherapy
Dr Francis, Targeted metabolic inhibition of T-lymphocytes: directing immunity during human disease
Round 2 Funded Platform Grant
The Network has recently funded one Platform Grant (PI and title):
Dr Piggott, Development of a PDX platform for Drug Discovery and Studies of Disease Biology in Wales
Earlier this month, as part of its 50th Anniversary celebrations, Cancer Research Wales held in association with the Life Sciences Research Network Wales (LSRNW), the first of several specialised workshops planned for 2016. These workshops are designed to equip the scientists of Wales with a working knowledge of some of the very latest advances in cancer research to help support their own work. The workshop which was kindly organised by Drs Andrea Brancale and Salvatore Ferla of the Cardiff School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, focused on Anticancer Computer Aided Drug Design. The school has a great track record in this area with several candidate compounds that have been designed using this approach already heading towards the clinic.
For the full story please click on the following link:
Life Sciences Hub Wales (the Hub) has been established by Welsh Government to ensure ongoing development of the life sciences sector in Wales that delivers significant (>£1bn) economic impact by 2022.
The Hub’s mission is to connect, inspire and accelerate growth of companies in this sector, placing Wales on the international map as a preferred location to establish and grow successful life science companies.
The Hub is the nerve centre of a vibrant and prosperous Welsh life sciences eco-system and brings together academic, business, clinical and professional services, funding organisations and Government to provide a commercially-driven melting pot of talent.
Officially opened in July 2014 by Welsh Government the Hub has become a very successful focal point for public and private sector specialists and strategic partners, covering all sector activities ranging from funding to business support to international development and promotion.
The Welsh Government on behalf of Life Sciences Hub Wales Ltd is seeking applicants with an interest in, experience and knowledge of the life science sector, in particular in academia, clinical or industrial roles, with a commitment to generating and developing opportunities for achieving economic growth. Consideration will also be given to candidates from outside the life sciences sector who can demonstrate similar skills and experience.
For further details please refer to the following website:
The Life Sciences Research Network Wales held its 2nd Annual Congress on the 2nd and 3rd December 2015.
Professor Mark Drakeford AM, Minister for Health and Social Services attended the evening poster exhibition and drinks reception then presented awards for the PhD presentations and posters.
The Life Sciences Research Network Wales is part of the Welsh Government’s £50 million Ser Cymru programme aimed at building research capacity within Wales that addresses the Grand Challenges of:
- Life sciences and health
- Advanced engineering and materials
- Low carbon, energy and environment
The Life Science Research Network Wales is based in Cardiff University and led by Professors Chris McGuigan and John Chester. This £15M initiative was supported by a grant of £7.3M from the Ser Cymru programme and HEFCW and aims to discover and develop new drugs in areas of unmet medical and veterinary need.
The Network brings together leading academics from Aberystwyth, Bangor Cardiff, and Swansea Universities and aims to support over 100 new research projects. The Network works closely with a number of industry partners, the NHS and other major funding bodies and has a strong focus on commercialising the outputs of academic research for ultimate patient benefit.
In its first year, the Network has supported a range of activities including PhD students, individual research projects and platform technologies at universities across Wales. Almost 90 projects have been supported in the first 2 years.
The Network is hosting its 2nd Annual Drug Discovery Congress on 2nd and 3rd December 2015 and the event will be attended by a number of leading international researchers as well representatives of the private sector such as multi-billion pound Bio-Technology entrepreneur and Chair of the Welsh Life Sciences Fund, Professor Sir Chris Evans.
Professor Mark Drakeford (Minister for Health and Social Services) will also attending and will be awarding prizes for best presentations and posters to PhD students and young researchers.
Next Generation of Researchers
The Network is committed to developing the next generation of scientists and has supported 43 PhD students across Wales. These students are working on developing the next generation of drugs to tackle major societal health issues such as:
- Antimicrobial Resistance
- Neurodegenerative diseases
The Network has already had success in commercialising the outcomes of the academic research and is supporting a PhD student to work with a new biotechnology company to develop a technology originally patented by Cardiff University. The technology aims to inhibit the spread of breast cancer and is an early example of the World Class research developed within Wales potentially leading to new therapies. The company is already listed this year on the London Stock Exchange with a valuation of around £100M and hopes to be ready to go into human clinical trials within 12-18 months.
Development of novel treatment for solid tumors
Scientists at Swansea University (Prof Paul Dyson and Dr Claire Morgan) were recently awarded a major award by Cancer Research UK to develop novel therapies for the treatment of prostrate cancer. This £180k award will support collaboration with Cardiff University (Prof Alan Clarke) in developing a new therapy to target any solid tumor, including late stage metastatic tumors. This patented technology delegate’s production and delivery of therapeutic molecules to tumour-targeting bacteria that are otherwise harmless to healthy tissue and has the potential to be developed into a new treatment for a wide range of cancers.
Potential Breast Cancer Treatment
Scientists at Cardiff University (Dr Jun Cai) are working on a novel strategy for treatment of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), which is one of the worst, forms of breast cancer for younger age patients (<40-year-old) and currently lack an effective therapy. Following collaboration between Cardiff University’s Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy, scientists have now identified two lead compounds, which have the potential to become new therapeutic drugs. Further tests are ongoing but initial results look very promising.
Prof Chris McGuigan, Director of the Network said: “We are delighted to welcome the Health Minister to our 2nd Annual Congress where will celebrate the early success of the almost 90 drug discovery projects we have supported across Wales. The Network is a vital part of the flourishing life sciences ecosystem in Wales which has arisen from a unique partnership between Government, Academia, NHS and business”
The Welsh Government recently launched the Life Sciences Bridging Fund to provide proof-of-concept funding for Life Sciences projects arising from Welsh universities. The Fund aims to address the lack of translational funding required to develop the commercial potential of academic research and provides an important stepping-stone on the road to commercialisation.
The Bridging Fund Pathfinder scheme aims to support the initial stages of the commercialisation process and should be used to establish the technical and commercial potential of a discrete project. Pathfinder is open to any academic working within a Welsh University. Applicants can apply for up to £75k with the majority of projects expected to be less than 12 months in duration. Calls for Pathfinder applications are running on a quarterly basis. The next deadline is 18 November 2015 (4pm).
Application forms and guidance notes will be available online shortly. In the meantime, they can be obtained through your Technology Transfer Office. For further information about the Life Sciences Bridging Fund, please contact the Project Manager, Dr Corinne Nguyen, email@example.com