ON A HIGH AT ERBI'S BENCH2BOARDROOM The route from scientific breakthrough to patient bedside was made clearer at ERBI's Bench2Boardroom where panels of international speakers discussed the business models that are proving successful in the worlds of regenerative medicine, consumer healthcare and drug repurposing. ERBI CEO Harriet Fear explained that the objective had been to create an enabling environment for the sector to do business. “The feedback has been great, especially for the partnering sessions, where delegates were able to arrange a quick succession of short informal meetings. We had a great representation of international panellists and delegates and our keynote speaker William Haseltine was inspiring.” It was Haseltine who coined the phrase ‘Regenerative Medicine’, for an emerging discipline which aims to use knowledge about how a healthy body repairs itself to help restrict the damage caused by disease. Panelist Tim Allsopp of Pfizer mentioned that his company had even created a new unit to advance the technology and build the proposition. There was promise too in the medical device arena which was chaired by Bill Munday of blueAid. Michael Reilly of Orange Healthcare was also
upbeat and described how several recent projects had been warmly accepted by end users. This included a timesaving typetext application on a Blackberry for midwives and an application for lone workers which was selling well through a retail outlet. A number of pioneers in drug repurposing, where modifications are made to the structure of a drug to improve its performance or treat another condition, discussed how this undervalued branch of drug development is now coming of age. ‘I no longer feel like a second hand drugs salesman’ quipped one of the panellists.
‘I was delighted by the buzz in the partnering sessions and to see so many delegates stay for the reception which rounded off a full and stimulating day’. Jon Green of MedImmune and Chair of ERBI
A highlight of the event was the presentation of the ERBI awards ERBI Award for Innovation - Senexis sponsor: HealthTech & Medicines KTN ERBI NHS Partnership Award - PHG Foundation sponsor: NHS East of England
ABOVE FROM TOP: Williiam Haseltine, Harriet Fear, Bill Munday. Delegates enjoying the MedImmune sponsored reception.
ERBI Export Achievement Award - Melbourn Scientific sponsor: East of England International
RIGHT: Jon Green.
ERBI Start-up Award - Pathology Diagnostics sponsor: EEDA
ABOVE LEFT: Partnering Sessions.
R EGE N E R AT I V E M E DI C I NE PANEL Jeanette Walker, (Chair) letscellit.com William A Haseltine, Haseltine Foundation for Medical Sciences and the Arts Cathy Prescott, Biolatris Erik Miljan, ReNeuron Group Tim Allsopp, Pfizer Regenerative Medicine Regenerative Medicine was a term coined by William Haseltine in 1999 to help describe a new branch of science that encompassed tissue engineering and stem cell development. The concept was about helping the body to restore itself to natural function. The science has developed and there have been many breakthroughs but a big issue for William remains in that the people in charge of regenerative treatment tend to be surgeons, who may often
know little about the developments in this field as it is not part of their training. William believes that closing the gap between bench and bedside is essential to accelerate developments in this field.
between individuals, the understanding of the plasticity of cells was exciting, as was the ability to insert genes. He explained how this might be applied to diabetes with modified cells being used to restore pancreatic function.
Big breakthroughs The capability to influence the biological fate of cells is the biggest breakthrough in this science, according to Tim, as the ability to regress cells provides the potential to repair tissues. Additionally, he thought the advances in the delivery of cells as a therapy for organ dysfunction also provided new opportunities. For Erik, the big breakthrough was the understanding of how stem cells differentiate. He said that there were miraculous examples of patients being treated and, although the results were still too inconsistent, they provided insights into treatments to come. Translational science has also developed and new delivery devices, for example to take cells to the heart, were also encouraging. William said that although there had been problems with stem cells, for instance the limited compatibility
William said that he has been impressed by the creation of artificial organs such as bladders, tubes and other structures, that nine years later are still functioning. Money for some niche areas Cathy commented that high levels of commitment are needed to fund this development but the parameters of the investment are ill defined. The patents are complicated, the regulatory pathway uncertain, and the business model and the exit unclear. However, as Tim pointed out, ‘Regenerative Medicine’ covers a wide range of product types including small molecule developments, which plug into pharma more easily. He stressed that cell based therapies are attracting investment and showing promise. At Pfizer a new unit has been developed to
RAPID GROWTH SCOOPS PATHOLOGY DIAGNOSTICS ERBI AWARD Sponsor EEDA says the sector is vibrant and thriving The rapid organic growth and commercial potential of newcomer Pathology Diagnostics Ltd has won it the 2009 ERBI Start-up Award, which is sponsored by the East of England Development Agency.
demonstrated how this important sector of the economy is thriving and vibrant: “Our sponsorship is aimed at showing our commitment to helping both early stage and more established companies commercialise innovative new technologies,” says Annabel Grant.
Pathology Diagnostics Ltd has achieved a six figure turnover without upfront equity investment. It provides a one stop solution for human tissue diagnostics. Supporting the development of new medicines, it assesses how drugs work on their target tissues from discovery in the lab to clinical trials.
“Whilst good technology and a strong IP position are important, a committed and experienced team will often make the difference between success and failure.”
Annabel Grant of EEDA said the Start-up Award had attracted some exciting new companies, which
Dr Madhuri Warren MA, PhD, MBBChir, FRCPath, the founder and managing director of Pathology
Diagnostics Ltd was delighted to receive the ERBI award: “It has been a hectic year working with pharmaceutical, biotechnology and contract research organisations. In only twelve months we have grown to a team of six in Cambridge, set up US links, and expanded our laboratory services. The award provides welcome recognition of that achievement and we are very grateful for the help and support that ERBI has given us.”
evaluates drugs and novel biomarkers, and develops companion clinical diagnostics. Harriet Fear CEO of ERBI says that Pathology Diagnostics Ltd shows how companies can achieve high growth if given the right supportive environment.
The global market for human tissue products and assays is estimated at £350 million and is growing by 20 30% p.a. Working primarily in cancer, Pathology Diagnostics Ltd
Madhuri Warren already has plans to expand the company's laboratory and tissue distribution capabilities to meet client demand. www.pathologydiagnostics.com.
“Building a cluster means that it is easier for start-ups to accelerate their growth. Our role is to help create that infrastructure and this is global as well as regional.”
advance the technology and build the proposition. William agreed that some aspects are already well funded. For example, artificial joints provide a real opportunity for micro medical surgery. Some technologies, such as pure stem cell therapy, to his mind, need government support and should stay in the academic research world until they are sufficiently mature to survive commercially. Premature commercial exposure could fatally damage the potential of the technology. Bone marrow transplantation is now commonplace, this is an example of what can be achieved in a new niche area when the key players work together. Regulatory affairs are supportive Regulatory processes for cell-based developments are still relatively new and untested but Erik commented that this shouldnâ€™t be seen as negative. The patient trials are very small, typically as few as 12 people, and it is difficult to prove that results are
Other shortlisted companies: Novalia has developed a process for creating low cost interactive printable electronics. Walker Graham Pharma Consulting provides Qualified Person services to the pharmaceutical, medical device and health care sectors.
sufficiently significant, but he has found the best approach is to engage with the FDA at an early stage and seek their advice when something non-standard crops up. He has found both the FDA and the MHRA encouraging and supportive. The biggest minefield is the IPR Cells are complex to protect as it is difficult to identify the function by the cell phenotype. Also cell surface markers overlap so they are difficult to define. To navigate this effectively needs professional advice and this of course is expensive. There are also fundamental differences between the US and the UK, as Cathy pointed out. In the US, unlike the UK, it is possible to patent embryonic stem cells. The field is moving very fast, the understanding upon which patents were created a few years ago has changed particularly in areas such as the development of new cells with induced properties. What claim do previous patent-holders have?
BELOW: Dr Madhuri Warren, the founder and managing director of Pathology Diagnostics Ltd was delighted to receive the 2009 ERBI Start-up Award from Dr Belinda Clarke on behalf of the sponsor East of England Development Agency (left) and Barnaby Perks Marketing Director of ERBI
The other issue is that the process is lengthy so that by the time you have navigated the regulatory system there may be little market life protection left for the product. Therapies that stop progression of disease show most promise William sees the greatest potential for Regenerative Medicine in helping organs to remodel themselves, for example to repair the tissue after heart failure. Tim agreed that this would be one of the major aims of this branch of science but added that bringing the benefits to a wider public would also create momentum. He mentioned the recent WHO summit in Berlin, which discussed the role of genetic engineering in the development of a new TB vaccine. Cathy commented that many chronic diseases are actually multiple conditions and better understanding of the underlying disorders could improve management of the symptoms.
ABOVE FROM TOP: Cathy Prescott. William A. Haseltine. FAR LEFT: Erik Miljan.
CEO BREAKFAST Simon Portman, Associate at Marks & Clerk, patent attorney and property lawyers, hosted the CEO breakfast. He commented that companies providing consultancy services were performing well as
For Erik a greater knowledge of how the healthy body fixes itself would provide the insights needed to stop the progression of disease.
the downsizing of large pharma creates opportunities for outsourcing.
CAMBRIDGE BIOMEDICAL CAMPUS The development of a biomedical campus close to Addenbrookeâ€™s hospital may provide the contact with clinicians that is required for the development of applications to support healthcare professionals. The campus is offering bespoke accommodation for biomedical research, clinical treatment and higher education use. It provides the opportunity to work alongside the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge University Hospitals, the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council and Cancer Research UK. www.cambridge-biomedical.com
D R UG RE- PURPOSING There is a school of thought that says drug re-purposing is easy and profitable as it is low risk, but is this true? The risk profile may be low but the successes have been few and the IPR is complex as it is difficult to defend against generics and competitors. Deals with large pharma companies are difficult to negotiate as they are not used to this type of development model. Despite this there have been a number of successful companies based on repurposing and several huge exits such as New River for $2.6bn. There is the promise of enormous untapped potential within the existing pharmacopoeia. Background Re-purposing is typically to achieve one of three objectives: • create a new use for an existing drug or molecule
PANEL Andy Richards, (chair) Tim Sharpington, Serentis Julian Gilbert, Acacia Pharma Peter Stein, Norgine Nigel Pitchford, Encore Ventures
• reformulate a drug for controlled release or novel device, for example inhaler or nasal spray • develop a more effective chemical enhancement Where it is possible to offer a new use or form of delivery and to enhance efficacy then this has potential for patent approval. Where will the breakthroughs come from? Andy doesn’t believe that the profitable breakthroughs will come via the academic route. He explained that two or three novel agents that react with pathways are announced each week and these rarely amount to anything. He sees greater potential for drug
delivery companies to move up the value chain and for the creation of specialist companies directed at this goal. He pointed out that companies should look more widely than the existing pharmacopoeia which only covers drugs in development and recently released – this only amounts to 1-3,000 drugs that are available mainly in the UK and the USA. There are many other older drugs or those in small territories that hold more potential. For example Galanthamine, used for treatment of Alzheimer’s, was already on the market in Eastern Europe before it was re-purposed. How to repurpose Nigel saw a big change from about 2002 onwards when the industry gained momentum and acceptance. Julian Gilbert interjected that until then they were seen as ‘second hand salesmen’. The change came with the explosion of molecular information that emerged at the turn of the century which showed new targets and pathways for drug interaction. Tim explained that the new approach was to identify a biological target and find something from the existing pharmacopoeia to hit it with, and then move quickly to testing under clinical conditions. This process was accelerated as the drugs were already licensed for use. Peter agreed and commented that sometimes an existing drug demonstrates positive activity but has undesirable side-effects which can be removed by creating an analogue. Julian said that if the drug is off patent and widely used in the market then it is easier to bridge to phase 2 trials with a new product. William Bains was asked to comment on the potential for isotope substitution and he explained that in the early ‘90s hydrogen was replaced with
deuterium creating an altered pK without the need for clinical trials. The toxicity testing had already been done so the need was just for proof of efficacy. Commercial potential is related to clinical benefit Andy commented that the starting point is important. Too many companies take the approach ‘here are the top 100 molecules, where can we repurpose?’ when in fact these products are best sellers because they are good drugs with little scope for improvement. It would be better to look at drugs that are not doing well and aim to address their flaws. Peter said that the commercial case must be made first. He advised that the vital factor is to establish that the drug addresses a real problem. The starting point should be the patient and the issues with how they are being treated at the moment. A more effective solution can then be created. A clinical differentiator has an impact on the price and therefore the return on investment. If you can determine that you will be able to deliver a clear medical benefit, assess the amount of technical risk involved and be confident in success, then these are strong indicators that the drug will be profitable. Nigel commented that the challenge for the investor is that they are only in for a period of time, and they need to see added value. If the risk goes up then the value must also go up which is typically only true if the drug is addressing an unmet medical need. Julian agreed. If the drug works on a validated mechanism of action this creates lower development risk but higher commercial risk as you have to show an advantage over the marketed product. Should a company have a particular therapeutic focus? Julian advised that having a therapeutic focus differentiates a company and also provides an opportunity to build up expertise in
the niches and they can be rewarding. How can you take development to market?
a particular area and forge links with the opinion leaders. Tim agreed that building up knowledge and bundling related drug developments helps the ultimate exit strategy. Nigel commented that VCs prefer focused companies for investment and exit. If you are close to the physician it is possible to see
Clarifying the IP position is not easy. Some of the older drugs were developed when our knowledge was less detailed and therefore IP is less specific than more recent applications. In some cases several patents exist, but there are ways forward. Peter suggested that the product is engineered so that it is difficult to copy and this can create barriers. Alternatively the product can offer something new by identifying a solution and delivering it in a
different way such as a new isomer, a different dosage or delivery e.g. controlled release. What benefits does repurposing have over New Chemical Entity development? Peter laughed and gave his company Norgine as an example, stating that he has sales and is cash flow positive. Julian pointed out that it is the same process but that you have to work harder at commercial protection. The advantage is that it is possible to manage risk by using known drugs which removes the need for toxicity testing.
Tim cited that the speed of development is faster as it is possible to ask the key questions earlier. Nigel believed the process provides an attractive package for an investor. There is usually a credible team with good track record and scientific knowledge. The expectation of an investor is a return of between two and four times the investment which may not seem a lot but requires a strong pipeline of products in order to deliver. LEFT PAGE TOP: Julian Gilbert and Peter Stein. LEFT PAGE BOTTOM: Andy Richards. LEFT: William Baines.
SENEXIS NOVEL APPROACH WINS ERBI AWARD FOR INNOVATION Sponsor HealthTech & Medicines KTN celebrates culture of mutual support Novel science caught the eye of judges for the 2009 ERBI Award for Innovation. Senexis’ work targeting Alzheimer's disease was seen to offer new approaches, within an exciting area of emerging science, directed at a growing area of unmet need.
age. We have recently begun to understand the impact of aging on the turnover of proteins and this underlies many significant diseases. This is an emerging field and we are in a pole position to explore and exploit the potential of this knowledge.”
Senexis CEO Mark Treherne accepted the award from sponsor Sue Dunkerton, Director of HealthTech & Medicines KTN.
“The quality of science and people in the region's biotech cluster is as strong as ever and the creation of a new biomed campus is to be welcomed. Although the VC community is suffering, for areas of real unmet medical need there is always a market and corporate venturing as well as venture philanthropy is on the rise.” Mark believes that being part of a cluster that is expanding internationally is good for all the players.
Sue Dunkerton comments that through the awards ERBI is helping to celebrate success and support the culture of innovation and continuous improvement: “To truly exploit their ideas, companies need the ability to steer their way through the innovation and adoption processes. One key word is perseverance, which companies need in spades, and the East of England has an amazing source of fellow businesses and skill sets that help all stages,” she says. Mark Treherne demonstrates well that tenacity. He has over 25 years experience in the discovery of novel treatments for diseases of the central and peripheral nervous systems including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. His last company, Cambridge Drug Discovery, was sold for £28 million in 2001. He joined Senexis in 2002 and the company has raised £6.3 million since that date. Senexis is targeting Alzheimer's disease. There are currently no diseasemodifying drugs available to treat this type of chronic degenerative condition and there is an urgent need for new treatments that target the underlying causes. Following work on a totally novel and unique therapeutic approach targeted at brain inflammation, Senexis has discovered new drug candidates that demonstrate significant efficacy within models of memory and learning. The company has filed a patent to protect this groundbreaking work. Mark comments that the multinational pharmaceutical sector is very interested in the potential of diseasemodifying medicines. “The pharmaceutical sector is looking for new truly differentiated products and we are addressing a novel science. The prevalence of nearly all major non-infectious diseases increases with
Harriet Fear CEO of ERBI says that the calibre of entrants for the awards was very high. “We are thrilled to be seeing new areas of science with great commercial potential. We believe celebrating success, telling strong stories and highlighting opportunities for our members, potential members and the sector as a whole is incredibly important.” The other two short listed candidates show innovation directed at other key disease areas. Biotica is focused on developing a treatment for patients with severe asthma. Biotica is using novoPT to create analogues of FK506 that share its immunosuppressant qualities - it is shown to have benefits for asthma - but lack the systemic side effects. Horizon Discovery is aimed at accelerating the development of niche cancer treatments. Horizon has created over 150 genetically defined human cancer cell models that enable the development of drugs and diagnostics targeted for a specific genetic profile.
Mark Treherne, Senexis CEO, accepts the 2009 ERBI Award for Innovation from sponsor Sue Dunkerton, Director of HealthTech & Medicines KTN and Barnaby Perks, Marketing Director of ERBI (left)
FU TU R E O F C ONS UMER EL E C T R O N I C S IN HEALTHC ARE Coordinated by Electronics KTN For the first time the number of people globally aged over 65 may exceed the number of under-5s. The impact on healthcare is immense as over 70 per cent of this elderly generation has more than one long term condition - the cost of caring for those with diabetes some say could bust the NHS budget in years to come. In short, the situation is unsustainable. The panel saw a wealth of opportunities and growing interest from the insurance industry for lifestyle management products. Opportunities Janette outlined the big opportunities for new technologies within healthcare.
PANEL Bill Munday, blueAid (chair) Andrew Elder, Albion Ventures LLP Janette Hughes, Wellness & Health Innovation Project Michael Reilly, Orange Healthcare JW (Hans) Hofstraat, Healthcare Strategic Partnerships, Philips Research
A major opportunity lies in improved prevention and early detection of disease. According to research by the Wellness & Health Innovation Project, about 80 per cent of heart disease and 50 per cent of cancer is preventable, so lifestyle management is vital. Opportunities also exist in the improvement of assisted living in the community, and in driving down the cost of treatment. Janette believes that the consumer market is ready to put its hand in its pocket and pay for products that help lifestyle management. In this she includes the ‘worried well’ who are not currently receiving the reassurances they need, and she cites breast health in this category. Also long term patients for whom a small amount of assistance can improve their quality of life. Lastly, she mentions the carers, a growing generation of over-40s with high appreciation of technology and a
desire to keep their parents living independently for as long as possible. A significant change and a new driver in the market has been interest from insurance companies in reducing premiums for those who can demonstrate that they are taking measures to maintain their fitness and optimum weight. Need trusted channel to market Janette continued that consumers expect affordability and reliability and this is now coming together. She suggested that the price point will be right for the market in about 5 to 10 years. Mike Reilly of Orange interjected that the technology is not the issue. The products need to go to market through the right channel and there is a conflict in the market between healthcare charities that should be regarded as enterprises, and the large consumer retailers such as Tesco and Sainsburys, who are moving into this area. He is concerned there is a risk that the charities will be disenfranchised, and they have an important role in the endorsement of products. Janette agreed and stressed the role of charities in the success of a product. The Breastlight product was only adopted by Boots Healthcare after Cancer Research UK was prepared to sanction it. Mike also explained how the trust created by endorsement extended to the retail outlet. When Orange worked with Mondail Assistance to develop a product for lone workers, the initial launch through Orange shops had been a failure as people didn’t associate the brand with safety. The product was relaunched with a major provider of care products that already had traction in the market and it was a great success. Hans agreed but felt that the obstacles were different for various market sectors. For the professional market the issue is ‘who will pay’, while for the
TOP: Bill Munday. BOTTOM: JW (Hans) Hofstraat.
consumer the question is ‘how to motivate’. Engagement with healthcare professionals Bill raised concerns over the use of home diagnostic monitors and sensors. What if the equipment becomes faulty and gives a false negative or a false positive? The role of medical professionals is key to facilitating the introduction of the technology and also ensuring that it is fit for purpose. Hans explained the different phases as acquisition of data, analysis of data, analysis of time series data, secure transmission and then agreed triggers for action. Mike has seen good responses from healthcare professionals where new technology has reduced the administrative burden, and cited an example where midwives had been given Blackberries with a type text function. Handwritten notes are converted into text and automatically updated on the server saving an hour a day of the midwife’s time. The success of this project was largely down to an analysis of the work flow in the field. An accurate assessment was made of the time spent on activities and the bottlenecks and the impact on efficiency. When the technology was introduced the improvement could be quantified and the users could appreciate the benefit. As a result Michael felt that the Strategic Health Authority plays a key role in the success of such projects as compliance is needed to change the work practices. Motivating consumers Bill described the three strategies for motivating consumers as education, incentives and punishment. Janette said that some initiatives using social media and an element of competition had shown some promise in trials with young people.
Michael agreed, commenting that the social element was often overlooked by the healthcare industry but that loneliness can be corrosive on a person’s sense of wellbeing. He went on to say that engagement was particularly important for vulnerable sections of the population, and stressed that technologies that help ethnic minorities and other hard-to-reach groups are of particular interest to health authorities.
complications happen at night when they are lying down and the majority of people with this condition die in their sleep.
Does it need to be a phone?
A possible way forward is the Continua Health Alliance which is supporting the development of a software protocol for electronic transfer of data from medical devices and it is hoped this will become the de facto industry standard. Philips has already adopted it.
The panellists didn’t believe that the device should be restricted to the concept of a mobile phone. Hans said that a big area of unmet need was monitoring people with impaired respiratory function. Most
Sensors in clothing may be a better solution for these patients. Janette also pointed out that most over-80s don’t have a mobile phone. Bill said that the issue with mobile handsets is cross platform incompatibility which makes producing a mass market product difficult. ABOVE: Jae Son. RIGHT TOP: Janette Hughes. BOTTOM: Michael Reily.
‘I thought the conference was first class. The calibre of the diverse panel members were impressive, and I found the discussions generated by the attendees very stimulating. I was very intrigued by the one-on-one meetings that were arranged at the Bench2Boardroom’....Jae Son, Medical Tactile, Inc.
PHG SUDDEN DEATH PROJECT WINS HEARTS OF ERBI JUDGES Partnership is NHS East of England vision for 21st Century A holistic approach to a group of devastating illnesses won the respect of judges for the 2009 ERBI NHS Partnership Award. The PHG Foundation, which bridges the gap between exploratory science and clinical practice, gained the award for its report on the inherited cardiovascular conditions that, for example, cause sudden death in seemingly healthy young people. It demonstrated how the latest advances could help improve diagnosis, care and prevention. This Award was sponsored by NHS East of England. Head of Innovation Kate Gill comments that the region has an ambitious vision for 21st century healthcare: “The ERBI awards help to identify groundbreaking new innovations and play an important part in improving the working relationship between industry and the NHS, which is fundamental to increasing our rate of innovation. “We need both large scale and smaller scale innovations, and some of these will be 'big ideas'. However, it is just as important that we have ideas to improve the level of integration of innovations into current or new patient care pathways and improve the quality and effectiveness of the care provided for patients.” The PHG Foundation project showed how the latest knowledge could be fast-tracked in order to provide improved and accessible care for patients and families. Carol Lyon, Operations Director for PHG Foundation, explained what the report revealed: "In the last few years our knowledge of the genetic basis of certain diseases has led to the development of new genetic tests that can not only aid diagnosis but also inform preventative care for patients and their families. “We have also seen new developments in electrophysiology, echocardiography and imaging. We saw the potential for using these technologies in the treatment of inherited cardiac conditions, which affect 340,000 people in the UK. Outside a very few
specialist centres, people with heart problems are traditionally cared for by cardiovascular specialists. Our recommendation is that a multidisciplinary team is required. “Another area of concern is the support for other family members after the loss of a child. The Coroner is unable to retain tissue for further analysis and this means that valuable information that could be used to protect siblings is destroyed.” The Department of Health Heart Team has been enthusiastic about the issues raised by PHG Foundation, and Carol is concerned to see that, in the face of difficult public spending conditions, progress is maintained in implementing the lifesaving recommendations. “Winning the ERBI Award is important to us as it recognises our huge commitment to partnership with the NHS, as well as highlighting this report and the need for further action to adopt these recommendations,” she commented. Harriet Fear, CEO of ERBI, says that the NHS Partnerships Award is valuable as it celebrates projects that could have patient benefit in the near term: “Understanding the end user of the service or technology is of fundamental importance. For example, we welcome the development of a Biomedical Park in the region, which will help bring science, business and health provision closer together – an exceptional example of the whole model of ‘open innovation’ in practice.” Carol Lyon, Operations Director for PHG Foundation accepts the 2009 ERBI NHS Partnerships Award from Kate Gill, Head of Innovation, NHS East of England (right) and Barnaby Perks Marketing Director ERBI
ENGLISH AS OTHERS SPEAK IT WINS MELBOURN ERBI EXPORT AWARD EEI commends fact finding approach to export Speaking ‘International English’ and a culture of quality are part of the winning formula that has made Melbourn Scientific attractive to international pharma and medtech clients and has gained it the 2009 ERBI Export Achievement Award sponsored by East of England International. Melbourn Scientific is a leading provider of contract analytical and formulation services for the pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device industries. It has made phenomenal progress this year with sustained growth from across the globe. The proportion of work from overseas companies is now five times that of five years ago and work with clients from over a dozen different countries makes up 37 percent of the company’s turnover. The company has worked closely with EEI and has been praised by Dave Revitt, Regional International Trade Advisor (Healthcare) who comments that the ERBI awards are an excellent way of sharing good practice: “Now is a good time to export and seeking advice can reduce the risks, whether this is in market research and intelligence or simply finding a foreign partner. As Melbourn has found, UKTI assistance and a strong client focus can smooth the way to successful export sales.” CEO Mark Hammond was one of 100 business leaders congratulated by PM Gordon Brown earlier this year on the company’s export achievements and he believes that the UK’s stringent regulatory framework benefits companies like his.
Are you aware of new shipping security regulations?
ABOVE: Mark Hammond, Martin Westcott and Steve Westcott of Melbourn Scientific. “The UK has a strong reputation for innovation and regulation and this works in our favour as it provides confidence for international clients for whom the aim is often to gain FDA approval for drugs or devices. Data is the lifeblood of the industry and we have put quality at the core of our organisation.” Melbourn has also encouraged greater cultural diversity within the company and concentrated on improving communication skills and practices to make the company more ‘international’ in its outlook. Harriet Fear, CEO of ERBI, says that cultivating a global outlook is vital for companies of all sizes. “Companies need to be thinking internationally from day one. At ERBI we are actively creating links with our opposite numbers in other countries to facilitate this and provide an inside track to better communications.”
FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES The clear message from the Technology Strategy Board is that there are numerous pots of money available for innovation in the healthcare sector, but you have to be clear what type of support you need and who to pitch to. One of the most exciting developments is the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) which provides contracts for innovation aimed at clearly identified areas of unmet need. This is brilliant on two accounts: It is payment of work so does not require match funding or repayment, and it provides access to a real customer with real needs so
providing proof of concept for future market penetration. The intellectual property remains with the company but DoH has usage rights. One of the first companies to benefit from SBRI is Sonovia founder Peter Luebcke, who comments "Being one of the few companies selected to receive a SBRI phase 1 contract is excellent news for Sonovia as this validates the versatility of our technology and its alignment with a very real healthcare need in the NHS." Another initiative is the development of innovation platforms, which are aimed at
stimulating innovation to support the implementation of major policies and societal challenges. Examples include the Assisted Living Innovation Platform and the Innovation Platform for Detection and Identification of Infectious Agents. There is a January call for applications. Also coming up is the Bioprocessing Research Industry Club (BRIC) with a second round of funding to be announced in November.
Further information is available on the ERBI website.
B2B Sponsors Bench2Boardroom
Sue Lee of World Courier explained how new regulations about cargo screening - to be phased in over the next 18 months - are going to affect shipments, and how to ensure that high value pharmaceutical materials are kept safe from sniffer dogs and the new screening technologies. Her recommendations included packaging samples in solid boxes as these are given greater respect by cargo handlers, and to seek advice on labelling, as 2D barcodes and new RFID technologies are being introduced. World Courier specialises in worldwide time and temperature sensitive transportation, and is the only courier of this kind to offer a worldwide network of offices operating 24 hours a day. It manages the logistics of over 7,500 clinical trials worldwide.
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