MediWales LifeStories Magazine 2020

Page 1



Taking the fight to Coronavirus Swansea

Cardiff NHS Wales innovation and successful collaborations


Welsh Government Technology, Digital and Transformation Advances and achievements in the Welsh life science industry


How Welsh innovation has tackled the pandemic


Aberystwyth Bangor





4-5 How the Welsh life science sector has responded to COVID-19


Innovation and collaboration in NHS Wales 10 Studies across Wales trial convalescent plasma therapy for COVID-19

15 VR experiences promote NHS career opportunities

20 NHS staff tackling COVID-19 use virtual reality to help reduce anxiety and stress

12 Improving palliative care for heart failure patients

16 Generations unite for falls awareness scheme

22 Bevan Commission – Securing long term innovation, adoption and spread beyond the curve

13 Transforming care for patients with incurable breast cancer 14 Introducing a non-invasive prenatal test to Wales

23-35 39-61

17 Reducing the use of unnecessary antibiotics for COPD 18 How a UTI Triage System delivered improved patient care and cost savings at The Highlight Park Practice in Barry

Welsh Government: Sparking Innovation through Technology, Digital and Transformation 24 Transforming health and social care services for a healthier Wales

29 The Welsh Health Hack goes online for COVID-19 challenge

32 Health Technology Wales repurposes skills to support response to COVID-19

26 Tackling the COVID-19 crisis together: The RIIC Hubs Network

30 Delivering care closer to home with video consultations

34 Accelerate: Supporting innovation in Wales

28 AgorIP: bringing innovation to life across Wales

31 Developing new technology to disinfect ambulances

36 Life Sciences Hub Wales: Bringing Welsh industry together to respond to Covid-19

Success stories from the Welsh life science industry 40 Indoor Biotech: Funding awarded to develop new COVID-19 T cell immunity test 41 Hybrisan secures £500,000 to help fight COVID-19 42 Bond Digital Health: How coronavirus demonstrated the need for connected diagnostics and accelerated our development plans 43 COVID-19 antibody testing kit launched by Forth 44 IMSPEX: Can coronavirus be detected in breath? 45 EKF supports COVID-19 testing with novel sample collection device 46 Jellagen announces seed financing to develop advanced collagen products


6-7 A guide to Health and Care Research Wales

47 SymlConnect: Digital remote patient monitoring during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond 48 The Mullany Fund: giving young people the support they need to pursue life sciences 49 Sharp expands its commercial capabilities to UK facility 50 Concentric Health: Remote consent supporting organisational recovery 51 COVID-19 drug discovery platform in development at Moleculomics 52 Digital wound management with The future of wound care comes to Wales 53 Patent Seekers: Patent search database as an intelligence tool

54 Single Use Surgical supports Cavell Nurses’ Trust 55 AliveCor: Detecting atrial fibrillation to prevent strokes 56 Celebrating a landmark year for CellPath 57 Cryogenics company wins at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory 58 Roche: How a global pandemic became the ultimate test of partnership working 60 Biophys: Are the learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic transferable to AMR? 60 DTR Medical: Increasing production capacity to help hospitals 61 Marlies Hoecherl becomes Honorary Consul of Switzerland in Wales 61 Double challenge for healthcare manufacturer Gwalia Healthcare

Breaking new ground in Welsh universities 64 The response to COVID-19 from Swansea University Medical School

67 Scientists adapt UTI test to diagnose coronavirus

70 First year success for Swansea University spin-out

65 Wales to play major role in national trial for COVID-19 vaccine

68 New research into dialysis options and choices

66 SAIL Databank: Health data research during a global pandemic

69 Cardiff University Biomechanics Research Facility hosts ‘first in Wales’ NHS service

71 Technology facility leads on quality management at Cardiff University and beyond

LifeStories is produced and published by Teamworks for MediWales.

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72 Innovation at CITER

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Thank you to our Corporate Sponsors and University Partners



How the Welsh life sciences sector has responded to COVID-19 The COVID-19 pandemic has presented the world with an unprecedented challenge. Throughout 2020, the Welsh life sciences sector has collectively risen to this challenge, with health boards, companies, universities and other organisations across Wales leaving no stone unturned to fight the virus. New innovations have been developed and fast-tracked, while existing technologies have been adapted for new purposes, in order to meet the rapidly changing needs of patients and healthcare workers. Collaborations have formed to take full advantage of national and international expertise in the fields of medtech, diagnostics, digital health and more.

Testing is a vital measure in efforts to control the virus and Wales is playing a key role in making this a reality. Back in May, Chepstow-based startup Forth launched its home testing kit for COVID-19 antibodies and Ortho Clinical Diagnostics began production of COVID-19 assays at its Pencoed manufacturing facility to support testing across Wales. EKF is also supporting testing with a novel sample collection device, and Cytiva is working with several global companies who are seeking to develop both tests and vaccines. Collaboration with Public Health Wales and NHS Wales has enabled rapid frontline verification and validation of new tests developed by Roche. Meanwhile, scientists at the University of South Wales have been adapting a UTI test to create a rapid test for COVID-19, with help from several Welsh industry and NHS partners. BBI Solutions, based in Crumlin, is also part of the UK-Rapid Test Consortium (UK-RTC), which is


developing a COVID-19 lateral flow antibody test for home use. In the early stages of the pandemic, Bond Digital Health chose to fast-track its new digital platform so that it could be used to enhance a COVID-19 test with digital connectivity and data capture technology. IMSPEX Diagnostics is undergoing trials with its breath analysis technology to determine its ability to detect coronavirus. With an influx of patients suffering from COVID-19, medical devices for treating its symptoms have been in high demand. This urgent clinical need has led to collaborations such as Swansea University and University of Wales Trinity Saint David working together to create CoronaVent, a life-saving ventilator that can be built quickly and easily from locally sourced parts. Huntleigh Healthcare has also been supplying medical devices including ICU monitors and pulse oximeters to hospitals around the UK.

In terms of treating the virus itself, several studies across Wales (set up through Health and Care Research Wales) are trialling the use of antibodies from recovered patients to treat critically ill patients. Cardiff-based company Indoor Biotechnologies is working on a new type of immunity test that can identify the presence of specific T cells in blood and could be useful in the process of developing a COVID-19 vaccine. Innoture is undertaking research into the use of its next-generation microneedle skin patch for self-administering vaccines, with COVID-19 in mind. Companies including Simbec-Orion, PCI Pharma and Sharp Clinical are playing key roles in clinical trials for treatments, and Quay Pharma is involved in development of an experimental therapy with the potential to prevent and treat COVID-19 complications. Moleculomics is also developing a drug discovery platform that will seek to get ahead of potential emerging strains of the virus.

The need to control the spread of COVID-19 has resulted in a need for the NHS to adopt new working methods. Digital Health Ecosystem Wales has awarded funding to a wide range of digital health initiatives, many of which enable remote patient monitoring so that face-to-face appointments can be limited. Digital health companies such as Signum Health and SymlConnect have been in demand during the pandemic due to healthcare professionals seeking alternative, socially distant ways of caring for patients. AliveCor’s personal ECG device can now be used by medical professionals to help evaluate QTc in COVID-19 patients who are receiving QTc prolonging medication.

A lack of PPE has been a major problem for the NHS throughout the pandemic, with several Welsh companies increasing or adapting their operations to help address the shortage. For instance Transcend Packaging, a sustainable packaging specialist, converted its Ystrad Mynach manufacturing base to create protective face shields. Hybrisan, based in Port Talbot, is developing a new generation of reusable face masks made from a biocidal material, and the company has also been working with Gwalia on a range of non-alcohol antimicrobial and biocidal products. Meanwhile a North Wales team has invented MaskComms,

a communication aid for frontline workers wearing masks. DTR Medical increased its production capacity for PPE and for single-use instruments to limit the spread of COVID-19, and companies such as CellPath have been manufacturing hand sanitiser. It has also been announced that the UK’s first facility to make FFP3 face masks, which are currently imported here from other countries, is set to open in Cardiff.

These are just some examples of ways in which the Welsh life sciences sector has risen to challenges presented by the pandemic, and many more can be found throughout this edition of MediWales LifeStories.



Over the last five years, Health and Care Research Wales has supported and delivered highquality research studies that help improve health and social care services, making the lives of patients and communities better. Now, as the organisation looks to 2021 and beyond, it’s keen to learn lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure today’s research continues to make a difference to tomorrow’s care.

“This pandemic has been a grim reminder of the value of health research, finding treatments, developing vaccines and stopping the spread of COVID-19 have all relied on a fantastic research effort in Wales and across the UK.” Professor Kieran Walshe, Director of Health and Care Research Wales

We can make a reality of the idea that today’s research leads to tomorrow’s care Studies set up through Health and Care Research Wales and coordinated nationally are ongoing right across NHS Wales, looking into multiple treatments for patients, identifying risk factors and specific genes for susceptibility, as well as strengthening the evidence for a vaccine. “The collaboration between universities, health boards, researchers and Welsh Government as well as colleagues in the other nations has been unprecedented,” said Professor Walshe. “The way everyone has worked together, at speed, and under incredible pressure has been nothing short of outstanding. The lessons learned in this pandemic about how to do great health research

at pace and scale will be a force for driving forward our future research and development programme in Wales.” Since March 2020, Health and Care Research Wales has prioritised resources and fast-track support for COVID-19 urgent public health research, and is also working with UK counterparts to enable Welsh researchers to access funding for research. “This year will be remembered for a long time to come, for the arrival of COVID-19, the ensuing pandemic, and the grave and often tragic consequences it has had for our health and social care system, our economy, and our society. As we develop our plans for the future in Health

and Care Research Wales, it is worth reflecting on the emerging wider lessons of the pandemic,” added Professor Walshe. “The mission of Health and Care Research Wales is to promote, support and provide collective oversight of health and social care research in Wales to ensure it is of

Health and Care Research Wales is a networked organisation, supported by Welsh Government, which brings together a wide range of partners across the NHS in Wales, universities and research institutions, local authorities, and other agencies.

the highest international scientific quality, is relevant to the needs and challenges of health and care in Wales, and makes a difference to policy and practice in ways that improve the lives of patients, people and communities in Wales. This has to be a collective endeavour in which the strengths and assets of a wide range of stakeholders are deployed.

“We must not underestimate the scale of the challenge, nor the potential rewards. Working together, we can make a reality of the idea that today’s research leads to tomorrow’s care.”

l Health and Care Research Wales’ goal is to ensure that today’s research makes a difference to tomorrow’s care. l Health and Care Research Wales’ research centres create a platform to support the production of world-class research, such as the Centre for Trials Research, PRIME Centre Wales, Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank and the Wales Kidney Research Unit. (The current list of funded centres can be found on the Research community page on the Health and Care Research Wales website.) l Health and Care Research Wales’ grant schemes fund projects with public, practice and policy relevance while supporting the development of researchers across Wales. l The Health and Care Research Wales Support and Delivery Service provides sponsors, researchers and the public with a range of services throughout the whole research delivery pathway. l Health and Care Research Wales works strategically and practically across multiple sectors in health, social care, the third sector and industry. l Health and Care Research Wales continues to develop systems and processes to improve the speed and efficiency of study set-up and oversight - to realise a One Wales seamless service. l Involving patients, service users, carers and the public is key to the work of Health and Care Research Wales, in order to ensure the research supported is relevant and effectively delivered.

Contact information: +44 (0) 2920 230 457

l l l @ResearchWales


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Innovation and collaboration in NHS Wales


Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Hywel Dda University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Addysgu Powys

Iechyd Cyhoeddus Cymru

Powys Teaching Health Board

Public Health Wales

Innovation and collaboration in NHS Wales

Studies across Wales trial convalescent plasma therapy for COVID-19

Ymddiriedolaeth GIG Felindre Velindre NHS Tust

Antibodies from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 are now being trialled as a possible treatment in two urgent public health research studies in Wales. It is hoped that the antibodies, contained within plasma collected from people who have already had COVID-19, could help people who are critically ill in hospital with the disease.


Ymddiriedolaeth GIG Gwasanaethau Ambiwlans Cymru Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust

This therapy, known as convalescent plasma, is being included in the RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP studies, alongside other drugs already being trialled. The UK-wide studies have been set up across Wales through Health and Care Research Wales.

Dr Matt Morgan, Health and Care Research Wales specialty lead for critical care, and Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine at the University Hospital of Wales, explained: “This involves giving the antibodies from patients in Wales who have already recovered from COVID-19 to patients who are critically ill. Much like giving blood, patients who recover can donate their antibodies in the form of plasma to help with the trials and hopefully help patients.

“We still need more evidence-based, effective treatments for COVID-19. Although breathing machines and some drugs may help whilst staff care for patients as best they can, we really need more treatments that work. These studies aim to answer the question of whether using antibodies from patients who have recovered can save the lives of patients with COVID-19.”

Non COVID-19 plasma has been used daily in NHS Wales for a variety of needs for many years. It is hoped that COVID-19 convalescent plasma therapy will help patients develop immunity as it transfuses antibodies against the virus, helping the patient who receives the plasma to fight infection. The COVID-19 convalescent plasma collection programme is being delivered in Wales through the Welsh Blood Service, Welsh Government and Public Health Wales.

“Convalescent plasma has great potential to help severely ill patients recover and has been used for emerging viruses such as SARS and Ebola in the past. The trials involving COVID-19 are important as we do not yet have a vaccine and little is known concerning immunity following infection. Working together with expert scientists at the Welsh Blood Service, Immunology, Haematology, Critical Care and Public Health Wales, we have been able to make convalescent plasma available to both of these vital clinical research studies taking place in Wales. We are also linking with international researchers including the Mayo clinic in the United States.” Dr Gill Richardson Senior Professional Advisor to the Chief Medical Officer for Wales

Public Health Wales has identified and written to potential donors who have a confirmed COVID-19 positive test result and are eligible.

The plasma is being collected and processed by the Welsh Blood Service. Donor safety and wellbeing is paramount, and donors must be fully recovered before donating and virus free. For these reasons, normally, plasma will be collected no sooner than 28 days after recovery and the established safe blood donor selection criteria.

The Randomised Evaluation of Covid Therapy (RECOVERY) trial is testing to see if existing or new drugs can help patients who have been admitted to hospital with confirmed COVID-19. It is the world’s largest randomised clinical trial of potential COVID-19 treatments, led by the University of Oxford and funded by the Medical Research Council. REMAP-CAP is a platform trial for severely ill patients with COVID-19, led in the UK by Imperial College London and funded by the University Medical Centre Utrecht. It is testing multiple treatments at the same time, for patients admitted to intensive care with severe community acquired pneumonia. Professor Kieran Walshe, Director of Health and Care Research Wales, said: “We are working hard to make sure patients across Wales are able to take part in COVID-19 research, which will hopefully make a difference to future care and treatment of the disease. “Testing convalescent plasma as a possible treatment, through the RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP studies, is an opportunity for those who have recovered from the disease to potentially help someone who is fighting for their life.”


Innovation and collaboration in NHS Wales

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Caerdydd a’r Fro

gol gannwg oard

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

Improving palliative care for heart failure patients


Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Cwm Taf University Health Board



Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol

Hywel Dda Health Cardiff & Vale University University Health Board Board has implemented a service for heart failure patients to optimise the care they receive towards the end of their lives. This work received Iechyd Cyhoeddusthe MediWales awardCymru for Innovation Public Health within NHS Wales, which recognises Wales NHS staff who have introduced an innovation within their area that Ymddiriedolaeth GIG demonstrates improved patient Gwasanaethau Ambiwlans Cymru outcomes, improved patient experience Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust efficiency. and/or improved resource


Heart failure is an increasingly common and expensive chronic disease. Although the majority of patients wish to be cared for (and ultimately die) at home, many end up dying in hospital, often after prolonged admissions.

Although palliative care can improve quality of life and reduce readmission rates for these patients, several factors contribute to poor referral rates including: uncertainty around the best time to refer, issues with referring patients who have longstanding relationships with invasive cardiac services, difficulty for palliative care services to match the unpredictable disease trajectory of heart failure, and uncertainty as to whether patients may still benefit from active treatments.

Cardiff & Vale University Health Board has established a transitional crossboundary Supportive Care Pathway for heart failure patients in their last 1-2 years of life. The supportive care team meet on a weekly basis through multidisciplinary


meetings and hold co-speciality clinics, where patients can see both cardiology and palliative care specialists simultaneously. Flexibility in approach is driven by patient rather than service need, with patients being seen in various settings such as the acute hospital, outpatient clinics, at home, in nursing homes or in hospices. Patients are supported to understand the nature of their condition and are gradually transitioned to a more planned palliative approach. The health board has also implemented the use of subcutaneous furosemide infusions in order to alleviate fluid overload in patient homes. Since launching the service for heart failure patients, death at home (the preferred place of death) has significantly increased and many hospital bed days have been avoided. A majority of the patients reported better symptom control and said they would recommend the service to other patients in their position.

This model of care allows patients with a life-limiting prognosis to be seen in individualised settings, thus facilitating a tailored and responsive approach to the unpredictable disease trajectory, which traditional palliative care services have been unable to meet. The emphasis on transitioning between specialties with overlapping input enables earlier referral, transfer of trusting relationships between patients and specialties, and the ability to maintain access to the skills and expertise of both specialties. The model is also highly sustainable, as the cost savings approximate to £10K per advanced heart failure patient referral. With widespread upscaling across Wales, around 2,100 advanced heart failure patients would potentially be appropriate for referral per year, equating to around £21 million annual cost savings. It could even be applied to other chronic advanced conditions such as end stage renal, respiratory and liver disease.

Bwrdd Iechyd Addysgu Powys

Iechyd Cyhoeddus Cymru

Powys Teaching Health Board

Public Health Wales

Ymddiriedolaeth GIG Felindre Velindre NHS Tust

Ymddiriedolaeth GIG Gwasanaethau Ambiwlans Cymru Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust

Transforming care for patients with incurable breast cancer A trial led from Wales has produced significant results in the treatment of incurable breast cancer. This work won the MediWales award for Health and Social Care Research Partnership Award with Industry, which recognises NHS personnel who have partnered with industry to deliver a project with a particular focus on health and/or social care research.

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK, with around 55,000 new cases each year and around 11,400 breast cancer deaths. The most common form is estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, accounting for 70-75 per cent of cases. The FAKTION trial was designed to help improve outcomes in patients with incurable estrogen receptor positive breast cancer. Such patients often respond to hormone therapy, but they eventually become resistant to it. One mechanism known to cause treatment resistance involves the

activation of a protein called AKT. The trial tested whether the addition of a novel AKT inhibitor (recently developed by Astra Zeneca) to standard hormone therapy could improve treatment outcomes in breast cancer patients. The trial was led from Cardiff by Rob Jones (Speciality Lead for Cancer in Wales, Lead for Phase 1 trials in Wales and Clinical Research Director at the Velindre NHS Trust) and coordinated by the Cardiff University Trials Unit (CTR), with Velindre NHS Trust acting as sponsor and Astra Zeneca as an industry collaborator. The trial involved 140 patients from 20 hospitals across the UK. Half of the patients received hormone therapy with the AKT inhibitor (Capivasertib) while half received hormone therapy with a

placebo, and results showed significant improvements in cancer shrinkage and control. It was found that 41 per cent of patients who received the AKT inhibitor with hormone treatment had a significant shrinkage of their cancer, compared to 12 per cent who received the hormone plus placebo. The cancer was also controlled for over twice as long if patients received the capivasertib drug with hormone treatment, compared to the hormone and placebo (10.3 months vs 4.8 months). These results have now prompted a global phase 3 trial involving around 700 patients, which could lead to a future change in the standard of care for patients around the world. Another benefit of the FAKTION trial is that the patients in Wales who participated have had access to a brand new drug ahead of time. All drugs given in the trial (including the standard hormone therapy) were supplied for free by Astra Zeneca, which has saved the NHS the equivalent cost. This Wales-led trial is a significant piece of breast cancer research and was selected for oral presentation at the ASCO oncology conference in Chicago in 2019 and was a full publication in Lancet Oncology 2020. It is also a highly successful example of a cancer trial led from Wales which has followed this model of close collaboration with industry, with the IP remaining within academia. The trial’s results could have a huge impact for millions of patients with incurable breast cancer and is a flagship example of what collaboration with industry can achieve.


Innovation and collaboration in NHS Wales

Introducing a non-invasive prenatal test to Wales The All Wales Medical Genomics Service received the Efficiency through Technology - High Impact Award at the MediWales Innovation Awards for developing a non-invasive prenatal test to screen for Down’s syndrome and other conditions.

In 2018, Wales became the first UK nation to offer non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) as part of the Antenatal Screening Programme. This type of test is designed to substantially reduce the number of pregnant women being offered invasive tests and therefore reduce the associated risk of miscarriage. The NIPT service is now entering its third year and remains the only UK NHS commissioned service.

Implementing a new genomic technique in a pre-existing NHS setting is a complex multilevel process. The All Wales Genetics Laboratory developed an in-house NIPT test by means of a ‘technical transfer’ option available from an external company (Illumina). Before 2018, screening for Down’s syndrome in Wales was based on a combined screening test. This test has a false positive rate of around 5 per cent, which translates to over 10 invasive procedures carried out for each Down’s syndrome diagnosis. Reducing the number of invasive procedures performed (testing by amniocentesis or by chorionic villus sampling) was desirable, since invasive tests carry an increased risk of fetal loss (around 1%) and are also expensive procedures for the NHS.


NIPT made its first commercial debut in the United States in 2011, and pregnant women have increasingly gained access to this test within the UK through private provision, leading to inequality of access. During the first year of NIPT implementation (April 2018 – March 2019) within NHS Wales, the genetics laboratory processed 552 samples from women found to be at a higher chance of Down’s syndrome, Edwards syndrome and Patau syndrome from the initial screening offer. 90 per cent of pregnant women received a low chance NIPT report for these conditions, meaning that for these women further invasive testing did not need to be offered. Data has shown a significant annual reduction in invasive samples received

by the laboratory since the introduction of NIPT, meaning that significantly fewer women have had to place their pregnancy at risk. Incorporating NIPT into NHS Wales has improved overall public health, because fewer invasive prenatal procedures means lower miscarriage rates for women. It has also improved patient care, since patients now have access to the most effective antenatal screening test available on the NHS and it is an equitable service for all pregnant women across Wales.

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Caerdydd a’r Fro Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Cwm Taf University Health Board

VR experiences promote NHS career opportunities Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Hywel Dda University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd

Iechyd Cyhoeddus Cymru

Addysgu Powys Aneurin Bevan University Health Powys Teaching Board has createdHealth a range Boardof virtual reality experiences to give local young people an insight into working in the NHS. This project received Ymddiriedolaeth the MediWales award for NHS GIG Felindre Velindre NHSIndustry, Tust Collaboration with Welsh which recognises NHS Wales personnel who have collaborated with industry on a project that has resulted in major impact and benefit.

Working with SEWAHSP and Orchard, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board has developed 10 virtual reality NHS career experiences in order to encourage secondary school children to consider a career in the health board.

There is currently a shortage of NHS staff, which could have a detrimental effect on quality of care for patients both in primary and secondary care. Existing approaches to this issue include the use of locum and bank agencies and overseas recruitment. These costs are very significant to support a system which would be better sustained by investment and recruitment from local communities.

Public Health Wales

Ymddiriedolaeth GIG Gwasanaethau Ambiwlans Cymru Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust

develop a library for all of Wales, which children across Wales can use. In addition to potentially finding new NHS staff to care for patients in the future, the project could help to address long-term unemployment issues in certain areas, inspire local young people and promote social mobility.

The collaboration between Aneurin Bevan UHB, SEWAHSP and Orchard has produced a VR career library, which will be made available initially to all schools, colleges and higher education facilities within the health board area. The aim is to then build on this and


Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Hywel Dda University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Caerdydd a’r Fro

Bwrdd Iechyd Addysgu Powys

Iechyd Cyhoeddus Cymru

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

Powys Teaching Health Board

Public Health Wales

Innovation and collaboration in NHS Wales

ol nnwg ard

Generations unite for falls awareness scheme


Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Cwm Taf University Health Board



Ymddiriedolaeth GIG Felindre Velindre NHS Tust

Ymddiriedolaeth GIG Gwasanaethau Ambiwlans Cymru Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Hywel Dda

A collaborative scheme bringing University is Health Board children and older adults together to learn about how falls can be prevented. This project received the NHS Judges’ Award at the MediWales Innovation Iechyd Cyhoeddus Cymru Awards.


Public Health Wales

Falls cost timeYmddiriedolaeth and money for GIG Gwasanaethau Ambiwlans the NHS, particularly when they Cymru Welsh Ambulance Services result in hospital admissions, NHS Trust surgery and consequential long-term care. Staying Steady Schools is an intergenerational falls awareness scheme that brings together primary school children and older adults to learn about risk factors for falls, how to reduce them and what services are available to help in the area.

Primary schools in the Cardiff & Vale area hold sessions and invite older adults to attend such as neighbours, relatives and other local residents. The sessions are facilitated by healthcare students from Cardiff University and Cardiff Metropolitan University, who are trained by staff from Cardiff & Vale University Health Board and Public Health Wales. Information is delivered in a format that is


designed to be interesting and memorable for the children. In addition to improving attendees’ knowledge of how to prevent and deal with falls, sessions encourage intergenerational social interaction and formation of links to strengthen the local community. By utilising university students and schools to deliver sessions,

the scheme requires only minimal input from NHS staff to induct students, resulting in little time or financial cost to the NHS. There is potential to scale and spread the scheme across Wales and beyond, with capacity for further university students to be involved from other relevant professions.

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Hywel Dda University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Addysgu Powys

Iechyd Cyhoeddus Cymru

Powys Teaching Health Board

Public Health Wales

Reducing the use of unnecessary antibiotics for COPD

Ymddiriedolaeth GIG Gwasanaethau Ambiwlans Cymru

Ymddiriedolaeth GIG Felindre Velindre NHS Tust

The PACE study has identified that a simple finger-prick blood test could prevent unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics to people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

More than a million people in the UK have COPD, which is a lung condition associated with smoking and other environmental pollutants. People living with the condition often experience exacerbations or flare-ups, and when this happens, three out of four are prescribed antibiotics. However, two thirds of these flare-ups are not caused by bacterial infections, and antibiotics often do not benefit the patients.

Primary care providers are responsible for the majority of antibiotic prescriptions, and the highest overall number of such prescriptions are issued by family physicians. There is reason to believe that many of these prescriptions could be avoided. Unwarranted use of antibiotics drives antimicrobial resistance, wastes resources, may cause adverse effects, negatively impacts the microbiome of patients, and distracts from potentially more effective interventions. The finger-prick test measures the amount of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation that rises rapidly in the blood in response to serious infections. People with a COPD flare-up who have a low CRP level in the blood appear to receive little benefit from antibiotic treatment.

However, most evaluations of pointof-care tests for acute infections have solely examined analytic performance. Only a few trials have evaluated the effectiveness of such tests in improving outcomes in the patients for whom the tests are intended to be used. The PACE study, involving researchers from the Centre for Trials Research (CTR) and the Wales Centre for Primary and Emergency Care Research (PRIME Centre Wales), aimed to reduce antibiotic consumption without negatively impacting on COPD patients’ condition. Working with GP surgeries across England and Wales, the team demonstrated that using a CRP fingerprick blood test resulted in 20 per cent fewer people using antibiotics for COPD flare-ups. Importantly, this reduction in antibiotic use did not have a negative effect on patients’ recovery over the first two weeks after their consultation at

Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust

“Being new to research, this was the very first study that I had worked on. Knowing that COPD was on the rise, that antibiotics were being so over prescribed, and that we may one day all develop antibiotic resistance, it was great to be to see whether a simple blood test would help clinicians in the future decide whether or not to prescribe antibiotics. Within our practice we found patients were very willing to participate in the PACE study, as they felt confident that they were getting a test done, which actually gave them the result there and then. Safely reducing the use of antibiotics in this way may help in the battle against antibiotic resistance.” Michelle Morgan Research Assistant Llan Healthcare

their GP surgery, on their wellbeing or on their use of health care services over the following six months. Health and Care Research Wales-funded research nurses were also involved in patient recruitment and data collection for the PACE study, which has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The publication has prompted a review of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines, and the study team aims to inform new Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease guidelines for the management of COPD.


Innovation and collaboration in NHS Wales

How a UTI Triage System delivered improved patient care and cost savings at The Highlight Park Practice in Barry By Forte Medical


66% reduction in lab spend


Specimen contamination reduced to 0%


Reduced retests, repeat GP appointments and prescribing


Urine collection is one of the most common yet overlooked processes in Primary Care. Even though it’s a waste product, urine can be a window to our health if a reliable and accurate midstream sample is collected for routine analysis. Working with Cardiff and Vale PCIC Board (The Primary, Community and Intermediate Care Clinical Board) and the staff and patients at Highlight Park Practice in Barry, we introduced a UTI triage programme to

provide improved health outcomes and diagnose patient illness first time. Heather Crowley, the prescribing lead at Highlight Park, describes the positive impact of introducing the UTI triage: “Using the Peezy device in clinical practice has allowed us to completely transform how we approach caring for patients presenting with UTI symptoms. Care is now streamlined, avoiding the need for repeat samples and avoiding mixed

Untreated Urinary Tract Infection l

Most common cause of unplanned hospital admissions, especially in the elderly


47 per cent of blood infections that can lead to Sepsis have a urinary cause


50 per cent of the global rise of AMR has urinary cause

growth culture results; meaning antibiotic prescriptions are far more appropriate. As a surgery it has allowed us to empower the non-clinical team to provide patients with clear and concise information at their first point of contact with the surgery. From a clinical perspective we have seen the number of prescriptions for antibiotics reduce as well as the number of mixed growth culture results. We are able to get the best outcomes for our patients in the quickest and safest manner.” All guidelines call for clean-catch or midstream urine to be analysed for culture, whether for a urinary tract infection (UTI), dipped antenatal urines or even some STI tests. To capture this elusive sample, the patient must be instructed to start then stop the urine stream, position a cup or tube near the urethra … and start again. Clean-catch/midstream is the holy grail because the first flush of urine can wash bacteria and natural flora from the labia into the sample, creating a mixed growth. These samples, often described as “contaminated”, can make analysis

inaccurate, leading to unreliable diagnosis and treatment. This in turn might create over-prescribing of antibiotics, repeat tests, high rates of false-positive dipped urines and the development of chronic conditions that are far more difficult, long term and expensive to treat – not to mention debilitating for the patient. The result of the tricky balancing act required to capture midstream is that many don’t bother but simply pee into a cup, collecting all and sundry within the sample. We know this because a Freedom of Information Request to all UK Trusts in 2016 showed national contamination rates that ranged from below 1 per cent to over 70 per cent. The average is 20 per cent, with one in five women too many keeping their legs crossed following untreated UTI. From a practical perspective, asking a lab to analyse a contaminated sample is about as reliable as asking a detective to identify a crime through a dirty window. Yet with no guaranteed way of collecting midstream, this is exactly what is happening in Primary Care every day not only in Wales, not only in the UK, but throughout the world. Thanks to the professional interest of the Infection Control leadership at Cardiff and Vale PCIC Board, patients in Wales are about to find it easier to provide

midstream urine for their routine tests and receive more targeted treatment with fewer repeat appointments. Better still, their hands will remain clean and dry – a point of hygiene never more in the news than now. Designed by Dr Vincent Forte, NHG GP and medical author, Peezy Midstream is a simple but highly engineered MedTech innovation conceived when he noticed a high number of women returning to his surgery with UTI after he had already treated the infection with antibiotics. Vincent’s investigations took him to the lab, where the practical problems surrounding unreliable urine samples were laid bare. The Peezy Midstream you see today was developed with patients and nurses, whose input resulted in three design iterations and a growing body of clinical evidence. Thanks to the Cardiff and Vale PCIC Board, the screening of UTI patients and pregnant women in Wales is about to become more reliable, accurate, hygienic and dignified. With reduced antibiotic prescribing, they may also be less exposed to the risks of antibiotic resistance, a condition fueled by over-use of dipped urines combined with the broad-spectrum antibiotics so commonly relied upon in place of urine culture, in Primary Care.


gol annwg oard

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Caerdydd a’r Fro

Cardiff and Vale Innovation and collaboration in NHS Wales University Health Board


Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Cwm Taf University Health Board


NHS staff tackling COVID-19 use virtual reality to help reduce anxiety and stress


Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Hywel Dda University Health Board


Iechyd Cyhoeddus Cymru

NHS staff tackling COVID-19 on the frontline are, for the first time, using virtual Public Health Wales reality (VR) to help support their mental health and wellbeing. The DR.VR Frontline Relief evaluation is available on the new FutureVision.Health web platform, set up to promote the benefits of immersive technologies in healthcare. Ymddiriedolaeth GIG A collaboration between Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, the Gwasanaethau Ambiwlans Cymru Centre for Trials Research (CTR) at Cardiff University and Rescape Innovation Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust (a pioneer in the use of VR to support patient recovery and rehabilitation) has produced positive results in evaluating VR as a useful aid to support the mental health and wellbeing of frontline NHS staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Evaluation co-author Dr Michelle Smalley, a Clinical Psychologist working in Intensive Care Units in Royal Glamorgan and Prince Charles Hospitals in Cwm Taf UHB, expanded her remit on the outbreak of COVID-19 to provide psychological support for staff and wider teams. Dr Smalley said: “Roles radically changed on March 13, with a dramatic increase in stress and anxiety amongst frontline medical and nursing teams for both themselves and their loved ones. My role pivoted to focus on staff wellbeing and support, and trying to limit burn out, so we worked with Rescape to

bring in DR.VR headsets to see if it would prove a useful aid in reducing anxiety, and give the medical teams some much needed relief. “Being a clinical psychologist in unprecedented times has called for unprecedented measures to help support staff. From the moment I tried these headsets out myself, I realised their potential for helping with anxiety and stress, but we have to be evidence based in our approach. The results from this service evaluation are an important step in identifying an effective and userfriendly self-help tool for wellbeing. I’m excited to see the results from a wider scale implementation.” “I work in ITU, and the past few months have been busy and emotionally difficult for us all. I began using the VR headset at home after busy shifts and I found the meditation and breathing programmes very calming. The VR technology has the potential to really help those working in healthcare, particularly if it could be used at break times and mid shift.” Emily James ITU nurse Royal Glamorgan Hospital

21 staff had access to a single use headset over a period of two weeks before being asked to complete an online survey. Participants selected their global virtual reality of choice, from a tour around the glorious landscapes of Wales (culminating in the Principality Stadium and the anthem before the Wales v England match), to a guided journey through a rainforest, a voyage under the sea, travel through the Great West Way of England, or a wildlife safari.

The main results from the evaluation suggest that staff found using VR was an enjoyable experience, and they would recommend use to their colleagues to aid relaxation and for reducing stress. In particular, staff valued the meditative spaces and breathing exercises.

Lead author Dr Kim Smallman, Research Design and Conduct Service Consultant and Research Associate at Cardiff University’s Centre for Trials Research, said: “The impact on the mental health and wellbeing of frontline healthcare workers - and the need to provide emotional support for those working in such exceptional and distressing circumstances - became clear very early on in the pandemic. “We decided to evaluate use of virtual reality to see if this could be a useful aid for staff and the results have been remarkably positive. Staff using VR said they found the experience to be enjoyable and relaxing, and they found it helpful in reducing feelings of stress and anxiety. We now hope to trial this on a much larger scale and we think it has real potential to help many more people - and to further our understanding of how VR can be used in the management of stress and anxiety.” Paul Sweet is a nurse at Prince Charles Hospital. He said: “I found the use of the VR very therapeutic and relaxing. It took my mind off work completely as I became immersed in my new surroundings. It was easy to watch as the software was kept to a minimum and did not need a

The evaluation is available on:

lot of thought to keep watching. I found that it reduced my levels of stress quickly and would be very beneficial to reduce anxiety if used in the right environment. The technology is great because it is completely portable and easy to use, and the software can be easily tailored to the individual.” The work has highlighted the potential of VR to support the mental health and wellbeing of frontline staff. Rescape Innovation CEO Matt Wordley said: “We’re now looking for research funding to investigate how VR can be used to support mental health and wellbeing, and we would like to test, at scale across the UK, its effectiveness for helping to manage stress and anxiety currently being experienced by many frontline workers. FutureVision.Health has been set up to act as a repository of outcomes and learnings to further the beneficial use of immersive technologies like virtual reality in healthcare. We’ve already had interest from a number of hospitals across the UK, and welcome further expressions from hospitals and care homes looking to use VR to help their staff. Future projects will feature VR benefits in maternity, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), informational impact and more as we look to increase the adoption of VR in a range of medical treatment plans.”


Innovation and collaboration in NHS Wales

Bevan Commission – Securing long term innovation, adoption and spread beyond the curve COVID-19 has demonstrated the real potential for innovation across health and care and the collaborative opportunities to work with industry and academia. Realising and sustaining this will be crucial as we move beyond the COVID-19 curve. The Bevan Commission has over the last five years built up a considerable network of successful Exemplar innovations, achieving 80 per cent success rate consistently across a range of backgrounds and interests, including health technology and service development. The Exemplar programme has helped develop innovation capability across Wales by providing support and mentorship. It helps to build greater confidence and competence in trying out and testing innovative ideas within a 12 month period. However, ideas alone, even those that have been tried and tested to be successful, do not necessarily mean they will be adopted across Wales. In response, the Bevan Commission set out a proposal to try out and test the adoption and spread process. The learning from this will be critical to the ongoing sustainability of innovation as we move on through COVID-19. The Bevan Commission, with the support of Welsh Government, launched a national collaborative and researchbased programme this year working closely with the seven Health Boards and three national health and care providers in Wales. This is the new national Adopt and Spread Programme which has started working with Exemplar innovations and adoption sites. The programme will bring learning and new methodologies that can be applied to other contexts and cohorts whilst supporting adoption sites as they innovate and benefit the people of Wales.


How the Adopt and Spread Programme works Based on a catalogue of Bevan Exemplars, teams in Adoption Sites applied for a place on the programme. Following a highly competitive process in Autumn 2019, over 45 adoption sites were chosen from almost 80 applications. Participants benefit from a mix of network days, learning sessions, peer-to-peer interactions and coaching provided for 15 months. In January 2020, adoption site leads and their project teams came together with Exemplar leads, organisational innovation leads and coaches for the first of six network days. The second network day in March was replaced with online and 1-2-1 support as teams were getting to grips with how COVID-19 would impact on their projects. When the teams came together online in June 2020, they brought a wealth of new experiences to share about what had been taking place over the last few months. Digital, adapting and learning were commonly used terms by the project teams. The emphasis is on ‘going live’ with all the required processes, training and governance in place for successful adoption. This is followed immediately with a focus on implementation and measuring impact on direct care and benefiting the people of Wales.

“Moving great innovations from ideas into widespread adoption is a complex challenge. The experience and learning from designing and delivering this exciting programme

“Ideas alone will never be enough, which is why we have to find better ways to ensure these ideas are adopted, spread and embedded into everyday ways of working” Helen Howson Bevan Commission

A focus on adoption is important Adopt and Spread is one of a small number of programmes in the UK taking on this challenge working with NHS and care organisations. The programme approach is reviewed quarterly using the latest evidence on what works for accelerating the uptake of innovation, as well as feedback from the participants. As a result, the programme will put forward an evidence-informed conceptual model for other national and local programmes to use. A set of how-to guides and strategic and research-based publications is being made available with an emphasis on releasing early insights to support innovation adoption and spread during and beyond COVID-19. Supported by the Welsh Government, the Adopt and Spread Programme can be described as a unique opportunity to learn and improve how support is provided for innovation adoption and spread in Wales and create opportunities to apply the learning globally.

is immense.” Siôn Charles Bevan Commission

Getting involved and stay informed.

Welsh Government: Sparking Innovation through Technology, Digital and Transformation


Welsh Government: Sparking Innovation through Technology, Digital and Transformation

Transforming health and social care services for a healthier Wales A Healthier Wales – Context A Healthier Wales is the Welsh Government’s long-term plan for health and social care. It sets out a future vision for integrated health and social care services in Wales, supported by 40 priority actions for the first three years of the plan. It was well received by all stakeholders when it was published in June 2018. Since then, Welsh Government’s Transformation Programme has been established to progress these 40 actions, working jointly with key partners across health and social care in Wales. Following publication of the plan, Wales has seen a substantial shift in how partners work together and changes in the partnership landscape. This has been led by the Regional Partnership Boards (RPBs) bringing together regional stakeholders in health and social care. The Covid public health emergency has had


a significant impact on the programme overall, with partners refocusing resources on the Covid response. We are working with partners to support the response.

Transformation Engagement Significant engagement has taken place to support the transformation agenda, including Team Wales and Health and Social Care Leadership Group events held across the country. These events bring together leaders from across Health and Social Care. 14 workforce engagement events were undertaken between September 2019 and January 2020 with 659 NHS, social services and third sector representatives attending. The events promoted understanding of our Prudent Healthcare philosophy, our Quadruple Aim approach, and the Design Principles through a workforce engagement programme.

In February 2020, the Minister and Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services hosted a learning event for the Regional Partnership Boards. The event provided an opportunity to collectively share learning since the launch of A Healthier Wales and look forward to the challenges ahead. During the event, RPBs discussed how they have developed, how work has progressed around engagement and partnerships, and future funding arrangements after the Integrated Care Fund and Transformation Fund come to an end.

Transformation Fund – Supported Projects The Transformation Fund is driving transformational change with a focus on stronger partnership working. It is targeted to priority projects and to new models of health and social care, with the aim of speeding up their development and demonstrating their value. Initially these

will be models which make early progress on seamless alignment of health and social care services; local primary and community-based health and social care delivery; and new integrated prevention services and activities. £89 million of funding is now supporting 14 projects across Wales. Significant progress has been made in many of these projects, and Welsh Government are continuing to work closely with regional teams to evaluate, monitor progress and offer active management support.

Welsh Government have hosted regular, well-attended learning network workshops where regional transformation

teams and project leads can discuss progress, lessons learned and examples of good practice emerging from projects. Prior to Covid, regional transformation was gathering significant momentum. Currently, several of the projects scaled with support from the fund are instrumental in the regional Covid response. This includes rapid discharge/ hospital-to-home projects, but also admission avoidance/ stay-well-at-home services, efforts to strengthen digital community assets, and community mental health support for the most vulnerable citizens. In recognition of the impact of the Covid pandemic on transformation projects, a 12 month extension of the Transformation Fund and Transformation Programme and an additional year’s funding were announced in August 2020.

Fund Evaluation Regional teams have completed Theories of Change for their projects, and a National Evaluation Framework for the Transformation Fund was agreed with Regional Partnership Boards in April 2019. This will help us to understand what works, in a comprehensive and consistent way, across Wales. Regional teams submitted their first mid-point evaluation reports earlier this year to provide early findings on the progress of transformation projects. A national mid-point evaluation report was published in August 2020. In order to help with the ‘spread and scale’ of best practice, Communities of Practice are currently taking place in relation to the main transformation themes of place based care; hospital to home services; technology enabled care and emotional and mental health.

Overview of supported projects:


Welsh Government: Sparking Innovation through Technology, Digital and Transformation

Tackling the COVID-19 crisis together: The RIIC Hubs Network The Research, Innovation & Improvement Co-ordination (RIIC) Hubs Network, made up of seven Regional Partnership Boards and three NHS Wales Trusts, has been established over the past 12 months by the Hubs, Academies & Innovation Team within Welsh Government’s Health and Social Services Group. Its aim is to help the acceleration and support of local innovation and partnerships capable of driving new models of care and approaches to integrated working. Welsh Government provided funding for this unique and innovative coordination Hub Network to enable them to bring people, resources and partners together quickly, in order to respond to specific opportunities and challenges. There was, and remains, a clear need to seek out activity that best improves outcomes for service users, specifically through prevention, early diagnosis and more accurate intervention to really achieve ‘what matters’ most. These Hubs have quickly settled into the R,D&I ecosystem, and despite being part of the Welsh Government’s new wave of transformative initiatives being rolled out under the banner of A Healthier Wales, they have found themselves at the heart of the regional and local response to tackling COVID-19. The current health emergency has presented a real-time opportunity for the network to throw itself in at the deep end. It is working with all partners to identify new, innovative models and approaches to health and care during a time of great stress and strain on services and the people who use them.


Cwm Taf Morgannwg Social Services and Wellbeing Partnership Board The Cwm Taf Morgannwg Social Service and Wellbeing Partnership Board (CTMSSWPB) brings together Bridgend, RCT and Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Councils, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, the Third Sector, Independent Sector and service users and carers. It takes a strong, unified approach to develop new models of care in order to deliver better, integrated services for the approximate 450,000 citizens across Cwm Taf Morgannwg. The CTMSSWPB Research, Innovation & Improvement Co-ordination Hub was established in early 2020 to identify and support the Research, Innovation & Improvement activity and to promote coordinated approaches with all partner organisations. Due to COVID-19, the focus switched almost overnight to supporting colleagues across multiple organisations so that they can develop new ways of working and approaches to service delivery, such as:

ThinkTank19: Peer2Peer Community for Self-isolating NHS Medical Staff The TechForce19 programme funded by NHSx called for technology solutions that could be deployed rapidly to help support vulnerable, elderly and self-isolating people. With a local industry partner, Simply Do Ideas, an application for a staff based model was submitted and was one of only 18 projects funded from over 1600 applications from across the UK. This called for a rapid sprint style project which was rolled out to over 100 staff in five days.

CERi Chatbot Velindre Cancer Trust worked with industry partners, Meridian IT and IBM, to build on existing work and develop a prototype ChatBot called CERi. It is available to interact with NHS staff, patients and the public, responding to user questions and recording instances when the tool doesn’t work (i.e. when it is unable to answer questions or answer incorrectly). CERI is still in development but is already seeing significant increased

user interaction, with over 400 chat episodes recorded in one day. It is expected that this level of interaction will continue to grow rapidly, even in the short term, as the team develops different CERi access points for the public, patients and staff.

3D Print Lab Dental laboratory staff have looked at creative ways to repurpose the existing dental and maxillary laboratory equipment at the Prince Charles Hospital, in order to produce a number of 3D printed items that can support health care teams. They have initially produced visors and other non-clinical items such as door handles that allow hand free opening. As other clinician colleagues became aware of the lab’s capacity, the team started working to produce replacement equipment, worn components and other small parts, such as valves and equipment covers. The project has now secured over £200k in Accelerate funding to support development of an Advanced Physical and Digital Engineering Hub, which will be able to work with partners in the future.

The North Wales Regional Partnership Board The North Wales Research, Innovation and Improvement Coordination Hub was approved in July 2019, and was just about to formally launch in March 2020 when everything changed. The new staff arrived at empty offices, grabbed their IT equipment and began their socially-distanced induction. The plans for the hub had to quickly be re-written to take account of this new world. The first priority was to directly support the COVID-19 response, so the team have been helping to build Enfys hospitals, design PPE calculators and support vulnerable people directly. Next, the team looked at how they could coordinate research and innovation activity to support the emergency response. Their Specialist Librarian has been keeping up to date with the latest research and guidance and publishing a regular summary. They have also started

to capture the innovation that has happened as a result of COVID-19 in North Wales. There have been huge changes in the way digital technology is used, from enabling home working and virtual meetings to rolling out ‘Attend Anywhere’ in order to provide patient care over a secure video link. The Regional Partnership Board provided care home residents and patients in hospitals across the region with iPads, to help them keep in touch with friends and family while visits are restricted during the coronavirus outbreak. This idea grew out of a project run to provide people in the community with iPads to help manage their health conditions and reduce social isolation. This was an example of quickly adapting and redesigning an existing project within the Community Services Transformation Programme and of joint

working between local authorities, the health board, Macmillan and the Wales Co-operative Centre. Other changes have included extended opening hours, improved communications and partnership working, along with a huge range of creative and innovative community support. In the next phase the team will learn more about how and why these changes happened, and will use this experience to build a better and more resilient health and social care system for the future.

Further information on the hub can be found on the website, which includes links to some of the resources put together to support the Covid-19 response:


Welsh Government: Sparking Innovation through Technology, Digital and Transformation

AgorIP: bringing innovation to life across Wales AgorIP is working hard during the current crisis to continue supporting not only businesses and innovation within south and north west Wales and the Valleys, but also the NHS, health and wellbeing across the whole of Wales.

“AgorIP play an active role in innovation and IP management across the NHS in Wales. We have an established network of secondees – managers placed within the hospital setting – looking for new and innovative ways the frontline staff work. We are able to very quickly identify, assess and, where appropriate, fund these projects to a commercial conclusion. We are also working in the background on the development of a pan-Wales policy on IP and providing training to all staff on IP and commercial matters. So far we have a strong portfolio of projects from novel breathing masks, intubation devices and software systems that will be making a real difference to the lives of patients.” Michael Smith Senior Technology Transfer Manager at AgorIP, responsible for maintaining the NHS portfolio.

Welsh for Open IP, AgorIP is a flagship project within Wales that is funded to work across all of the sectors where there is a measurable benefit to the region – jobs, products, IP and investment. It brings academics, clinicians and businesses together, taking pioneering research and developing cutting-edge technologies to drive commercial success with the support of Swansea University and the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. The project has developed systems and processes that are simple and accessible yet adaptable to each sector, with a core team of technology transfer managers, external advisers, links into the investment community and a procured IP protection and legal service. This is strong foundation from which to operate. On top of this, Agor has a fund it can use to invest – historically into spin-out activity but more

recently looking at the development for ideas to a stage of commercial readiness. AgorIP aims to provide NHS Wales organisations with a framework for commercialisation, as well as support and capacity to commercialise specific innovations. Its NHS portfolio has evolved from largely Swansea-based innovations to include projects with NHS organisations from other parts of Wales, such as Cwm Taf, Hywel Dda and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Boards, and the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust. The project now has three dedicated secondees in place in the three health boards, who work within the NHS to find innovations that directly benefit the health and wellbeing of everyone in Wales and beyond.


The Welsh Health Hack goes online for COVID-19 challenge Over the past few years, the Bevan Commission has collaborated with others to create, design, develop and run the Welsh Health Hack. It brings technology companies together with NHS staff and academics over two days, in order to create innovative solutions to clinical or operational challenges.

solution was to do it online. Less obvious, however, was how it would work in practice. There was a lot to consider – including getting people to attend, encouraging participants to collaborate on solutions, forming a panel to judge the solutions, and organising follow-up with prizes and support.

Collaborators have included MediWales, the Life Sciences Hub Wales, Welsh Government, M-Sparc, Wales Deanery, AgorIP, Accelerate, NWIS, and BCUHB Research and Innovation Department. Every NHS health board and trust has supported the event by sponsoring and supporting their staff to attend.

Following online publicity, 17 people submitted challenges and 100 people turned up online to take part in the event.

Supported by the Bevan Commission’s Health Technology Programmes, collaborations formed between technology companies and the NHS have developed a number of successful new technologies, some of which are currently in use in the NHS, while others are being tested. The idea of a COVID-19 focused Welsh Health Hack was initially mooted. After all, how do you deliver a two day networking event when people aren’t allowed to leave the house? The obvious

A team led by Dr Simon Burnell, consultant anaesthetist at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, ultimately won first place and an £8,000 grant at the Welsh Health Hack. The team included design engineer Wyn Griffith from Wyn Griffith Designs, product designer Thomas Turner from Ember Technology Design, and Dr Arif Reza Anwary, an innovation technologist at Swansea University Medical School’s Healthcare Technology Centre (HTC). The team came up with MaskComms, a microphone designed to be small enough to fit inside a face mask and transmit voice through wireless to a wearable

“Communication is essential during procedures where the anaesthetic and surgical teams work closely, but health and safety is also paramount, so their FFP3 masks cannot be removed to talk to each other. The downside to wearing facial masks is that our voices become muffled and indistinct, and we cannot read facial cues. I proposed a solution which allows a device to be placed in any mask, which can transmit to every colleague, or to one communal speaker without compromising the PPE.” Dr Simon Burnell, Consultant Anaesthetist Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

loudspeaker. This would work as a communication aid for frontline health staff who must wear face masks during the pandemic. MaskComms, which will now go into production in North Wales, offers an adaptable platform so a group of healthcare professionals wearing masks can communicate easily in the hospital environment, such as in an operating theatre during a surgical procedure.


Welsh Government: Sparking Innovation through Technology, Digital and Transformation

Delivering care closer to home with video consultations 45,000 miles of travel and 1,400 hours of travel time. It has also reduced CO2 emissions by more than eleven tons. Delivering care closer to home through the use of technology has always been a key part of A Healthier Wales.

A pilot is now taking place to extend the services to dentistry, optometry and community pharmacies who have all experienced an increase in demand for additional services, including people seeking advice for common ailments. The introduction of social distancing has also meant that some services have not taken place and video consultation will help support the reintroduction of these services.

During the COVID-19 response, the use of technology has been accelerated across Wales, allowing people to continue to access healthcare advice and services from their homes. This includes a national roll-out of video consultations across the primary, secondary and community care systems.

The new systems are supporting key services including GPs, Community Nurses, Community Mental Health Teams, Health Visitors, Community Midwives, Outpatients and Diabetes clinics to maintain a visual link with their patients. This has helped to reduce the spread of COVID-19, with fewer people attending hospitals or clinics, reducing the risk of exposure to both patients and clinicians. It also allows patients in self-isolation to maintain contact with medical professionals. Visit:


To date more than 6,700 GP video consultations, 10,200 secondary care consultations and 380 community care video consultations have been held. Feedback from patients who have received virtual care has been very supportive of the system, with 97 per cent of patients rating this new way or working as excellent, really good or good. Clinicians using the service agree, with 85 per cent (TEC Cymru) giving an excellent, really good or good rating. Evaluation of the service has shown that the video consultation has saved

Video consultation will enable community pharmacies to provide advice for common ailments and emergency contraception services. It will allow pharmacies to conduct Discharge Medicines Review and give support for people who want to stop smoking. In dentistry, video consultations will support pre-visit consultations to get an understanding of the patient’s medical history and allow a clinical assessment. Optometry will benefit from video consultation by using it for pre-visit check-ups on a patient’s medical history. It will also support triage to examine a person’s eyelids. Video consultation can also be used to allow a specialist ophthalmologist to join the consultation call.

Bwrdd Iechyd Addysgu Powys

Iechyd Cyhoeddus Cymru

Powys Teaching Health Board

Public Health Wales

Ymddiriedolaeth GIG Felindre Velindre NHS Tust

Ymddiriedolaeth GIG Gwasanaethau Ambiwlans Cymru Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust

Developing new technology to disinfect ambulances

Scientists from Swansea University have been developing a disinfection technology to decontaminate public spaces from COVID-19. Initially the team responded to a challenge, set by the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Centre of Excellence and Welsh Ambulance Service, to reduce the current turnaround time for disinfecting an ambulance and getting it back on the road after carrying a patient who could have COVD-19. With over 200 proposed solutions from across the UK, the Swansea University team was among the top twelve to secure funding and support. Their rapidrelease gas treatment for ambulances could remove COVID-19 contamination in under 20 minutes. Members of the team have expertise in advanced oxidation techniques and novel building design (as part of the ‘buildings as power stations’ work undertaken by SPECIFIC), as well as water disinfection and surface treatments. When the pandemic began, the Swansea University colleagues, who had collaborated on projects in the past, started sharing ideas for disinfecting ambulances and discussing different gases

that could be used for this purpose. They then also realised the need for an indicator technology to show the reach of the gas. It is important to note that disinfection is different from cleaning, and the team is developing a new technology to disinfect invisible pathogens. Therefore, if a surface has been dirtied by liquids or solids, the technology is not designed to remove these.

Using a reactive gas to disinfect, instead of solutions or sprays, has an advantage because the gas is able to fill the entire space without any need for human cleaning intervention. The researchers are looking to optimise the treatment in order to fill the space and maximise pathogen disinfection. They are also working on applying the technology remotely.

The reactive gas fills the space, kills the pathogens and is then rendered harmless using a destructive cycle. An indicator

technology is in development to show where the reactive gas reaches. This means that viruses are not needed when testing the technology, which is significantly safer. The researchers are now also developing the technology for use in schools. It has the potential to be applied in any public space, and they hope that the same approach could work with other pathogens in the future.

“This project has benefitted from a truly team-based approach; bringing together chemical engineering, chemistry and materials science to attack the problem as quickly as possible.” Professor Peter Holliman Swansea University


Welsh Government: Sparking Innovation through Technology, Digital and Transformation

Health Technology Wales repurposes skills to support response to COVID-19 Health Technology Wales delivers a strategic, national approach to the identification, appraisal and adoption of new technologies into health and care settings. Researchers at the independent body, which was set up in 2017, have repurposed their health technology assessment skills during the COVID-19 pandemic to support the response and collaborate with partner organisations. Keen to share information with policy makers as quickly as possible, Health Technology Wales adapted to the rapidly developing situation to support evidence-informed decision making. The organisation reacted by producing several new COVID-19 related outputs, including evidence reviews, costing reviews and rapid summaries.

Collaboration Health Technology Wales joined a Welsh Government led consortium of stakeholders to deliver the national plan for COVID-19 testing. The consortium includes key decision makers in health and care, such as Public Health Wales, health boards and academic partners.

Testing is a vital part of the work to protect the public, optimise the outcomes for patients and keep essential services running in Wales. The national plan for COVID-19 testing focused on two key objectives; l to reduce the harm caused by

COVID-19 l to help the public and

professionals get back to their normal daily lives.


“We asked the group to identify priority COVID-19 related technology topics that required rapid turnaround. Our researchers then produced Topic Exploration Reports (TERs), which quickly appraise the quantity, quality of the available evidence on a technology. This offer was also extended to wider stakeholders and it resulted in the publication of several TERs on our website. This covered point-of-care smartphone applications, cytokine adsorbers, hydrogen peroxide vapour to reprocess single use personal protective equipment and convalescent plasma therapy.” Dr Susan Myles Director of Health Technology Wales

Health Technology Wales also joined the Welsh Government’s COVID-19 Research Cell that is sharing intelligence and coordinating connections into UK wide processes for research.

Evidence review At the request of the Welsh Government testing group, Health Technology Wales undertook a first major review of evidence about the effectiveness of tests to detect the presence of the virus or antibodies to inform diagnosis of COVID-19. The review set the context for decision makers in Welsh Government, health and social care. Based on the most recent published evidence available, the review assists their response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is a clear example of facilitating evidence-informed decisions. Health Technology Wales keeps the review current by conducting ongoing literature surveillance. This will ensure regularly updated versions of the review keep decision makers aware of the best available evidence.

Following this work, Health Technology Wales accepted an invitation to coauthor an international evidence review. A Rapid Collaborative Review on the role of antibody tests will be published in partnership with the European Network for Health Technology Assessment (EUnetHTA).

HealthTech Connect Since cases of COVID-19 started to be confirmed in the UK, Health Technology Wales has used HealthTech Connect, an online platform provided by NICE, to identify emerging diagnostic and therapeutic technologies. Companies register their health technology on the platform and Health Technology Wales uses that information to identify if it’s suitable for evaluation. Researchers have produced TERs to provide a high-level briefing and help decision makers in care systems to consider if further evidence synthesis work is required. By using HealthTech Connect, Health Technology Wales has identified COVID-19 related technologies from two companies; LINC Medical and ResAppDX-EU.

Scientific advice Technology developers and companies who are developing therapeutics and diagnostics related to COVID-19 can receive free scientific advice from Health Technology Wales.

“We’re really pleased to offer our scientific advice completely free of charge for COVID-19 related technologies,” said Matthew Prettyjohns, Principal Researcher at Health Technology Wales.

“Our advice can help with a number of different aspects. We have the expertise to provide advice on evidence generation, economic modelling and more. This advice is suitable to a technology at various stages of development and we encourage companies to get in touch with us to arrange a discussion.”


Welsh Government: Sparking Innovation through Technology, Digital and Transformation

Accelerate: Supporting innovation in Wales As the UK and the rest of the world begin to adjust to the many changes arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, we start to embark on a so-called ‘new normal’ that will redefine the way we work, socialise and live our lives. It is a time to embrace these changes and turn them into new positives, in a way that supports our social well-being, ensuring we stay safe and healthy while building a sustainable and resilient economy.

Moving forward with our new normal also means there is opportunity and potential for development of new products, processes and services that will help in these endeavours. There seems no better time to accelerate innovation than right now, where recent challenges provide opportunities to re-define the way we access healthcare and support, communicate with others, and learn about self-management of our own

health. For many companies, this may mean developing completely new products and services, or it could mean incorporating new ideas to develop existing ones. The Accelerate programme is here to help businesses and individuals develop and bring to market innovative new products and services that help individuals or health and social care professionals. Maybe you are developing a virtual service like a mental health app for young people, or you are manufacturing products to help support isolated older adults. Maybe you work in the NHS and have an idea to improve remote services, or have potential solutions to some of the challenges now facing clinicians and carers in hospitals and social care settings. We are here to support you with scientific research, guidance, testing, prototyping, user experience evaluation and design thinking.

If you work in life science, health and social care or you have a business and are developing innovative ideas, services or products related to these sectors, then we would like to hear from you. All we require is that you have the capacity to match staff time and resources to contribute to an R&D collaboration with the Accelerate University Partners.

Meet the partners Accelerate is a £24 million co-funded programme by the European Regional Development Fund, the Welsh European Funding Office, Welsh Government’s Health and Social Services group, universities, Life Sciences Hub Wales, and the health boards. The ultimate aim of Accelerate is to create lasting economic value for Wales.

Accelerate is led by Life Sciences Hub Wales, in partnership with Cardiff University’s Clinical Innovation Accelerator (CIA), Swansea University’s Health Technology Centre (HTC) and University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Assistive Technologies Innovation Centre (ATiC). Rather than providing funding or grants, the programme offers the opportunity to tap into academic expertise, a thorough understanding of the life sciences ecosystem, and the latest facilities needed by innovators and entrepreneurs to realise their ideas. Life Sciences Hub Wales’s staff have detailed knowledge of the key challenges and needs of health and care services in Wales. They’re able to


provide access and links across the broader Welsh life sciences ecosystem. Their mission is to help the people of Wales benefit from improved healthcare and economic wellbeing. Swansea University’s Health Technology Centre (HTC) offers a team of innovation technologists and academic experts that brings together the NHS, businesses and researchers to build on Swansea’s research strengths in biosensors and devices, bio-informatics and bio-analytics. They

have access to state-of-the-art facilities and equipment to support collaborative projects that drive innovation to improve healthcare in Wales. University of Wales Trinity St David’s Assistive Technologies Innovation Centre (ATiC) has expertise in product development and testing, user experience and usability evaluation, behavioural analysis, 3D scanning, human physiological and motion capture, as well as a wide range of prototyping, 3D visualisation and

materials research and testing facilities. Cardiff University’s Clinical Innovation Accelerator (CIA) has direct access to clinicians, clinical researchers and patients throughout Wales and have an established profile of industry links. They’re able to offer academic and clinical expertise and improved diagnostics linked to precision medicine.

Stay up to date with Accelerate: Email -


Bringing Welsh industry together to respond to Covid-19 Across Wales, businesses have been adapting and innovating at an unprecedented scale and pace to combat the spread of Covid-19 and help treat those affected by the virus. Welsh businesses have understood the real need to think differently, operate differently and deliver differently to meet immediate needs - repurposing their operations and resources to manufacture urgently needed items. Collaborations between industry and NHS Wales have been crucial to making these success stories possible and ensuring much needed resources get where they need to be. Life Sciences Hub Wales has a legacy of supporting collaborations and innovation between industry, academia and health and social care, and has been appointed by Welsh Government to manage all industry enquiries to support NHS Wales during the Covid-19 outbreak.


This support has helped Caerphilly company Transcend Packaging, which manufactures paper straws for quick serve restaurants such as McDonald’s, to become certified to produce PPE during Covid-19. Transcend, a sustainable packaging specialist, has converted operations at its manufacturing base to create millions of protective face shields that are being supplied throughout the UK and across the globe. Made from reinforced paper boards and recyclable materials, the visors are designed for single use and can be recycled. As well as being suitable for frontline services, the recyclable nature of the shields plus their relative low cost and ease to produce mean that they could play a key role in supporting the return back to work and the ‘new normal’, providing individuals with an extra layer of protection in social situations.

Working with NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership and the National Procurement Service, Life Sciences Hub Wales is processing all initial proposals and undertaking due diligence on behalf of the NHS before they were referred on to procurement services. This has supported health and social care buyers to manage and triage the high volume of supply offers being received, allowing them to focus their attention on the most appropriate offers of support.

Transcend’s switch in production was made possible after the company contacted Life Sciences Hub Wales for assistance to better understand the certification requirements its products would need to meet to allow them to be offered to the NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership. The organisation worked closely with Transcend to help it adapt its production line and ensure its face shields met all requirements, including the crucial CE certification. This then allowed them to gather the additional information needed to refer Transcend to NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership.

Over the last few months, Life Sciences Hub Wales has processed thousands of enquiries from businesses, successfully securing much needed products and resources for the NHS supply chain including personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitiser, medical devices and testing kits.

As a result, over 3 million of the shields have already been manufactured by Transcend, with over 1.5 million going directly into the Welsh NHS supply chain and the remainder being supplied to councils, care homes, retailers and factories. The company has also received orders for the visors all over the globe and is now in talks to supply Japan and the US.

that brought relief to British soldiers suffering in the trenches of the Crimean War.

Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters said: “Transcend Packaging is an important business in Caerphilly county borough, and I applaud the way it has changed its way of working to develop a vital product, which is helping to protect many people. The company is part of an impressive number of businesses who are standing up and making the equipment we need to help beat coronavirus, and I also thank them for all they are doing in rising to the challenge posed by this pandemic. The important work we, as a Welsh Government, are doing with companies to support our effort around PPE truly shows what is possible with urgency and collaboration.”

Similarly, following an initial submission to Life Sciences Hub Wales, long-standing Welsh manufacturer BCB International – a firm which can trace its roots back to the trenches of the Crimean War – is now working to help NHS Wales get the supplies it needs in the battle against Covid-19. The Cardiff and Llanelli-based business specialises in manufacturing life-saving survival gear and protective equipment for British military, mariners and adventure seekers. Its founding father, Dr. John Collis Browne, originally created cough medicine

Now, BCB is once again supporting the frontline, having converted its factory to make high strength alcohol sanitiser products, PPE and first responder medical equipment for NHS Wales and key workers. Since its original submission was accepted, BCB has supplied over 250,000 liters of its hand-sanitiser to the Welsh NHS and is set to provide PPE including gowns, gloves, masks and shields. The company has also created a portable carry pack containing protective equipment for use by first responders, police and those working to serve communities across Wales. Testing has been a key priority and businesses across the country have been working day and night to develop solutions. Earlier this month it was announced that South Wales business, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, was one of three companies worldwide to produce Covid-19 antibody tests for the UK. Ortho, a global provider of testing solutions for a wide range of diseases and medical conditions, is producing antibody tests at its state-of-the-art facility in Pencoed. The made-in-Wales tests, which have been approved by Public Health Wales and Public Health England, detect antibodies that confirm a previous and recent Covid-19 infection, letting people know whether they have had the virus. The new-style blood tests will be rolled out across the UK as part of the national testing strategy. Ortho became involved after responding to a call to action for businesses to help with the coronavirus response from the First Minister and Life Sciences Hub Wales.

Cari-Anne Quinn, Chief Executive Officer of Life Sciences Hub Wales, said: “We have a thriving life sciences sector in Wales, which has been playing a key part in producing urgently needed products not only for Wales, but the global response to the pandemic. Welsh businesses have understood the real need to think differently, operate differently and deliver differently to meet immediate needs - repurposing their operations and resources to manufacture urgently needed items. It is clear that the Welsh-born innovations we have seen will continue to make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of the people of Wales long after this crisis has passed.”

Join us as we make our vision a reality. Contact us today to discuss how we can support you in accelerating your innovation: 029 2046 703


Welsh Government: Sparking Innovation through Technology, Digital and Transformation

The GS Verde Group is a multi-discipline professional services group, consisting of law firm Greenaway Scott, and M&A finance specialists Verde Corporate Finance. The innovative group structure enables the Group to advise companies on many facets of mergers & acquisitions, investments and legal matters.

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Success stories from the Welsh life science industry


Success stories from the Welsh life science industry

Funding awarded to develop new COVID-19 T cell immunity test Cardiff-based Indoor Biotechnologies Ltd has been awarded funding from Innovate UK to develop a new type of test for COVID-19. Identifying people who have already been infected with the virus and become immune could have huge benefits for enabling society to safely return to normality. However, since the symptoms of COVID-19 can vary from person to person, and some people display no symptoms at all, reliable testing methods for prior infection and subsequent immunity are vital. One way of determining whether someone has been infected with the virus is by looking for specific antibodies in blood samples. Numerous antibody tests exist, but doubts remain about their reliability in determining whether a person has gained immunity.

Long-term protection against viruses comes not only from antibodies, but also from cells of the immune system including T cells, which play a critical role in controlling and eradicating viral infections. The new test proposed by Indoor Biotechnologies Ltd is a different type of immunity test, focusing on T cells rather than antibodies. If successful, the Simple Cellular Immunity Test (SCIT) can identify the presence of T cells that respond to the virus which causes COVID-19 from a single tube of blood, within 24 hours. Dr Martin Scurr, a post-doctorate researcher in the School of Medicine, Cardiff University, who has secured a secondment as Project Manager at Indoor Biotechnologies to set up the test, said: “The aim is to develop a T cell test that can be easily used by labs across the world, enabling mass testing of COVID-19 T cell immunity to be performed.”


This approach has the potential to be more sensitive and more reliable at determining immunity than antibody testing. To verify this, it will be tested on people who have already had the virus and those that have developed antibodies. Professor Andrew Godkin, also from the School of Medicine, Cardiff University commented: “We are delighted to be teaming up with Indoor Biotechnologies on this project. Coupled with the range of work being done here at Cardiff University and the University Hospital of Wales, it will help us understand how the immune system sees this virus, and hopefully enable us to understand what a protective immune response looks like.”

“We are delighted to have been awarded funding to develop this unique product which may help in the fight against this pandemic.” Dr James Hindley Executive Director Indoor Biotechnologies

The test may also be valuable during vaccine development to help identify whether an adequate immune response has been generated to protect people from COVID-19, and for testing how long that immune response remains.

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Hybrisan secures £500,000 to help fight COVID-19 Port Talbot-based Hybrisan has joined the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, having secured £500,000 equity investment from the Development Bank of Wales, private investors and a Smart Cymru grant from the Welsh Government.

Hybrisan manufacture liquid sanitiser and use advanced nanotechnology to produce highly advanced material, impregnated with the liquid sanitiser, for use in high quality PPE for the NHS and other frontline workers. The liquid sanitiser developed by Hybrisan is 99.999% effective in killing coronavirus without alcohol, even on surfaces.

Established in 2014 by Chief Executive Dr Lee Bridgeman and his team to conduct research in the life sciences sector, Hybrisan has temporarily moved all of its production to combat COVID-19. Having recently developed an electrospinning recipe which allows the sanitiser liquid to be spun by a cutting edge machine into ultrafine fibres (nanofibres), Hybrisan is now working closely with Welsh Government and other PPE manufacturers to scale up production of electrospun filters for use in facemasks. The business has used venture capital from the Development Bank of Wales and private investors, as well as Smart Cymru funding. The Smart Cymru grant is to fund further development of antimicrobial non-woven materials. These form the basis of the filter systems they are developing for use in face masks. Whilst the Development Bank investment has been used to purchase a

“We asked industry in Wales to play their part in helping us respond to the many challenges presented by coronavirus and to provide critical supplies to our healthcare heroes on the frontline. I am delighted that with help from our SMART Cymru scheme and investment from the Development Bank of Wales, Hybrisan has adapted its business strategy and working procedures to do just that. We welcome their production of a variety of sanitising solutions, while work developing innovative face mask filters and materials could prove pivotal in establishing a reliable and resilient supply chain in Wales for this vital form of PPE. I would like to thank Hybrisan for their commitment to our efforts to support the NHS and help save lives as we work to defeat this virus.” Ken Skates, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales new electrospinning machine, to enable them to scale up production. Dr Lee Bridgeman, CEO, said: “It has been well documented that nanofibrous material – like those developed by Hybrisan – protect against harmful bacteria. We have studied these properties in depth and have now developed products that are proving to be extremely effective against harmful bacteria and viruses. Our expertise in this field has prepared us for the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic and we are pleased to have been able to develop products which will help.” Dr Chris Mortimer, Technical Director, has a PhD in nanotechnology, with expertise in electrospinning at scale and antimicrobial materials. He is taking the lead on scaling up production of their products for use in PPE. He explained: “The help we have had from the Development Bank and Smart Cymru is integral to our efforts to help fight COVID- 19. With the support we have received, we have been able to order our first electrospinning machine. This completely transforms the plans of the business and allows us to develop nanofibres fit for face mask filtration (up to FFP3 level). Following this we

will return to our original business plans, where we can revolutionise the wound care market with our novel antimicrobial dressing for chronic wounds.” Sarah Smith, Technology Investment Executive with the Development Bank of Wales, said: “Technology businesses everywhere have stepped up to the challenge of fighting the current coronavirus pandemic. Hybrisan’s advanced technology is innovative not only for its ability to be effective against COVID-19 but also for other exciting applications. We’re delighted to be able to support them as they scale up their manufacturing to help support the fight against COVID-19 with effective PPE. Our equity investment has given the business confidence to scale up and commercialise its technology. We’re looking forward to working with the team on their current and future endeavours.” Leanne Thomas of Greenaway Scott (part of the GS Verde Group) advised Hybrisan and Catherine Golledge of Capital Law acted for the Development Bank of Wales.


Success stories from the Welsh life science industry

Bond Digital Health: How coronavirus demonstrated the need for connected diagnostics and accelerated our development plans In January this year, before it had even been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organisation, we wrote on our website about how the emerging coronavirus outbreak demonstrated the need for digitally connected diagnostic tests. Within a month we were putting our words into practice, having joined a global consortium led by our Canadian partners Sona Nanotech to add our unique digital connectivity and data capture technology to a new rapid test for the virus. By this point we had been developing our white label platform, called Transform, for two years, and were due to launch it officially at an international trade show towards the end of 2020. But the coronavirus outbreak changed everything for us. We quickly realised that we would have to bring forward our development timeline if we were to add this invaluable functionality to Sona’s much-needed test. The new test is based on lateral flow technology, which is used in a wide range of human diagnostics, including for infectious diseases such as cholera, malaria and HIV. It can be administered at the point of use without the need for skilled technicians or additional laboratory equipment.

Many of the currently available rapid testing kits aren’t specific or sensitive enough to detect COVID-19, because they look for antibodies which are only identifiable post infection. Sona’s test is a direct antigen test that looks for a specific coronavirus protein. Using a nasal swab sample, it will produce results in 5-15 minutes and will cost less than US $50. The consortium, which also includes GE Healthcare Life Sciences, is aiming to make the test as sensitive as possible to detect as little amount of the virus as possible.


This is the test that governments and health authorities across the world want. It will have no competition in situations where quick and accurate information is needed, for example at airports, in the health service, going into work, etc.

However, testing is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to COVID-19. We need to go beyond just testing and capture the data at the point of testing, manage it in the cloud and then geo-map the results visually. Only then will we stand a chance of controlling the spread of the virus in real time and deploying resources fast and effectively. That’s what Transform does. It’s a secure and compliant platform with end-to-end connectivity, which transforms traditional lateral flow devices into web connected diagnostics with accessible, shareable data. Adding this to the test will allow valuable test data to be securely captured, stored, analysed and shared in real time. This could ultimately allow authorities to monitor the spread of the outbreak. In April we received a huge boost to our efforts when we received £700,000 in equity funding that would allow us to hire additional technical and admin staff to help

speed up development of the technology. We turned to Wealth Club, the high net worth investment service, whose members invested £400,000, and the Development Bank of Wales, whose technology venture investments team provided a further £300,000. We’re following this up with a Series A investment round in the coming months. The investment capped a hugely successful 12 months for us. Earlier in 2020, we moved into our new offices at The Maltings in Cardiff to accommodate our growing team. We were also nominated for two awards at the inaugural Wales STEM Awards and shortlisted in BusinessCloud’s Wales Tech 50 2020, a ranking of the county’s most innovative technology companies. Last year we were named one of the 50 Most Exciting Companies in Wales by a Wales Business Insider magazine. We knew 2020 was going to be an important year for Bond Digital Health and our technology. But we could never have imagined that a global pandemic would be the thing to prove the urgent need for that technology. Alongside our partners, we’re proud to be playing our part in the global fight against this devastating virus.

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COVID-19 antibody testing kit launched by Forth

Healthcare firm Forth has launched its new COVID-19 antibody testing kit onto the UK market. It is the first to meet the MHRA guidelines and be made available to the public. The finger prick test is laboratory analysed to check for the presence of COVID-19 IgG antibodies which develop after exposure to the virus. The kit meets the required MHRA guidelines of more than 98 per cent specificity and sensitivity, and has CE marking. All kits can be purchased online with the samples taken in the home or workplace, before being sent away for analysis, and is currently available for over 18s.

Forth has worked with accredited laboratory, Eurofin, to develop the home testing kits. The IgG antibodies are thought to be made by healthy individuals in response to exposure to the virus as an ‘immune response’. These antibodies reach 100 per cent detectability 20 days after the onset of symptoms, meaning Day 20 is the recommended test date. The test will not tell if the tester currently has coronavirus as that is done using a PCR swab test. However a positive result will suggest a past infection of COVID-19, and a negative result will mean that no COVID-19 antibodies have been detected at the time of collecting the sample. If the test is done before 20 days post onset of symptoms, there is a risk of a false negative if the body hasn’t had enough time to generate the antibodies. From the point of receipt of the sample, Forth aims to have the results processed and returned to the tester within two working days. Personalised results are accessed through their secure dashboard. The new kits extend Forth’s range of home health check tests including male and female

“Helping people look after their health is our core passion and purpose. Clearly with the global pandemic, personal health care has been heightened beyond anyone’s expectation. As soon as we entered this crisis we knew we wanted to make a positive contribution in helping to defeat this disease. We are grateful to our lab partners and our team who have worked hard to make this available as soon as it met the high validation criteria set out by the MHRA. The results are for information purposes to better understand our bodies. This complements what is provided by the NHS and other health services. That way we can all begin to plan for our own healthcare with more knowledge than before.” Sarah Bolt CEO and co-founder Forth

hormones, nutri check, Vitamin D and Immunity check as well as their baseline kit. It is recommended that interested buyers read all the information before purchasing. Forth has developed a comprehensive Q&A

resource to respond to the public’s queries. The kit retails at £89 and due to lab safety protocols it is one item per transaction.


Success stories from the Welsh life science industry

IMSPEX: Can coronavirus be detected in breath? IMSPEX Diagnostics Ltd is an SME based in the South Wales valleys. They were established in 2011 as a spin-off of the University of South Wales and have been driving innovation in the health care sector ever since. IMSPEX has pioneered many research projects over the years, seeking to reduce overprescription of antibiotics, to detect Alzheimer’s disease, lung cancer and sepsis, among many other difficultto-diagnose conditions. They are now turning their expertise to detecting coronavirus.

The company has been developing Gas Chromatography-Ion Mobility Spectrometry (GC-IMS) for many years. Recently, they obtained €3.3 million, as part of a Horizon 2020 project, to develop their BreathSpec technology for distinguishing between viral and bacterial respiratory tract infections. The aim of this was to reduce overprescription of antibiotics and tackle antimicrobial resistance. The findings from this project and extensive national consortium are now being written up for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals and will inform future studies in the field.

IMSPEX’s BreathSpec technology is uniquely positioned to be deployed throughout pandemics such as coronavirus. It is a non-invasive approach which does not require nasal or throat swabbing like present tests. A patient simply exhales into the mouthpiece and the breath sample is analysed by the system. The ability to deploy the BreathSpec at the point of care removes the need for samples to be sent to the laboratory for analysis.


IMSPEX identified the potential of their technology for Coronavirus testing early on, so partnered with several NHS sites and universities, including Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Loughborough University, Leicester Royal Infirmary and University of Warwick, to determine whether the BreathSpec can be used for detecting coronavirus.

The UK government’s current goal is to have test results back within one to two days. However, there are reports of people waiting double the expected time. Therefore, the BreathSpec will improve result turnaround time, with results available in less than 10 minutes.

Trials using the BreathSpec have already begun and will continue for the foreseeable future. The preliminary findings of the trials show promise and it is hoped that the findings will continue to be positive.

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EKF supports COVID-19 testing with novel sample collection device services for the NHS and private healthcare. It is working with a number of businesses to provide COVID-19 testing services for their staff to enable them to bring back those who may be self-isolating due to concerns over infection, or that of a family member.

To support the increase in COVID-19 testing globally, a safe and easy sample collection and transport mechanism is essential. EKF Diagnostics, the global in vitro diagnostics company headquartered in Cardiff, has secured new contracts for the manufacture and supply of a novel, patented sample collection device, PrimeStore MTM. This allows COVID-19 samples to be rapidly inactivated in the collection tube, avoiding contamination and preserving RNA without need for refrigeration. EKF is a contract manufacturer and supplier for the PrimeStore MTM, which is an FDA-cleared and CE-marked microbial nucleic acid storage and stabilisation device, owned and created by Longhorn Vaccines and Diagnostics LLC (Bethesda, Maryland). PrimeStore MTM deactivates viruses, bacteria, fungi and mycobacterium tuberculosis, allowing safe sample handling and transport, and eliminating the risk of infection during transport and in laboratories. In addition to removing the need for expensive cold chain storage of samples, RNA and DNA are also perfectly preserved by PrimeStore MTM for up to four weeks, ready for safe testing immediately on arrival at a laboratory and without need for containment. This opens up capacity for more testing laboratories.

Longhorn first introduced this unique device in 2006 in preparation for a worldwide pandemic and it has already been used in testing for many infectious diseases and high consequence pathogens, including influenza, RSV, TB, HIV and coronavirus. COVID-19 has led to a significant increase in global demand for PrimeStore MTM, which is the only FDA Class II cleared device for microbial nucleic acid storage and stabilisation (RNA and DNA) available for the safe transportation of samples which may contain viruses. In addition to more than doubling its current manufacturing capacity in the US on behalf of Longhorn, EKF has now rapidly repurposed its European manufacturing facilities in Cardiff and intends to introduce manufacturing at its sites in Germany. The establishment of the UK-based production line has increased staffing levels at EKF’s Cardiff facility with 12 temporary contracts. These positions have been filled by local workers recently out of work due to the impact of the pandemic or on leave from their studies. The site is expected to produce up to 12,500 sample collection tubes daily. This substantial increase in manufacturing capacity is to meet not only new US orders, but also new European supply contracts for PrimeStore MTM; including an agreement with Source BioScience UK Ltd which provides ISO:15189 laboratory testing

“We are delighted to supply Longhorn’s PrimeStore MTM collection kits to Source BioScience, a well-established provider of testing services to the NHS. These collection kits will ensure that COVID-19 samples can be handled and transported without expensive refrigeration or fear of contamination. This is a key part of the testing supply chain which can underpin the safe and rapid increase of testing capacity. In addition to the US, we will continue to ramp up our production capacity here in the UK and in Europe to meet increasing demand and support efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus globally.”

Julian Baines CEO, EKF Diagnostics

“We are very encouraged with this partnership and significant development from EKF, which allows the removal of cold chain transportation, making logistics of samples less expensive and more available to the many hospitals and businesses needing to regularly test key workers and staff. This dramatically expands the reach of COVID-19 testing services to a larger population and will support a faster economic recovery.”

Jay LeCoque Chairman and CEO Source BioScience


Success stories from the Welsh life science industry


Jellagen announces seed financing to develop advanced collagen products

Jellagen, a leader in advanced collagen biomaterials from marine sources, has announced the closing of a £1.9m seed equity round to pursue development of products for therapeutic and medical device applications. The round, which was 75 per cent funded by international investors, will enable Jellagen to develop and partner pipeline products aimed at tissue reconstruction, diabetic wound care management and rare skin applications.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and is critical for healthy cell function and healing as well as providing key structural component for bones, muscles, skin, and tendons. In the medical field, collagen is used in a range of procedures including tissue reconstruction and wound management. Scientists also use collagen in routine cell culture applications as it provides a natural scaffold for cells to grow under conditions like those found within the human body. Collagen is also used in a variety of food and cosmetic products. For most applications, collagen is processed from mammalian sources including pigs, cows and rats which carry


the risk of disease and virus transfer when used in humans. Jellagen sources its collagen from a single species of jellyfish which not only avoids these risks but also delivers superior healing benefits in human applications. Jellagen has established development collaborations with top research organisations in the US and Europe to investigate and confirm these findings, and recent data supporting the advantages of marine collagen have been published in peer-reviewed scientific research articles. Jellagen was founded in 2015 and has already established a range of products for the cell culture reagent market. After five years of intensive research including collaborations with top institutions in the US and Europe, the company has completed a pre-clinical data set in proven animal models used to support the use of marine collagen in humans, including tissue reconstruction, diabetic wound healing and other medical applications. The company will use these to explore development and licensing arrangements with potential pharma and medical device companies with established market positions in these applications.

“While Jellagen was founded on early scientific observations regarding the benefits of marine collagen over the prevalent mammalian sources, we have now compiled a strong preclinical data base which demonstrates the advantages in several important medical applications. Our findings have been confirmed through collaborations with leading research and medical institutions in the US and Europe. Our plan now is to find development partners who can help deliver the remarkable benefits of marine collagen to patients in need of advanced biomaterials for tissue reconstruction, wound healing and rare skin applications.”

Thomas-Paul Descamps CEO, Jellagen

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SymlConnect: Digital remote patient monitoring during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond Healthcare organisations are facing increasing challenges with their already outstretched resources and budgets, such as higher rates of comorbidity, elderly care and mental health issues. Regular monitoring of all patients is mandatory for preventative actions and maintaining patients’ wellbeing. There are national concerns around unmanageable patient-facing appointment needs and lack of monitoring consistency. Monitoring is essential for the patients as well as the practices to achieve their target outcomes and aims. The situation is further impacted with the social distancing in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in severe backlogs. It is widely acknowledged that ‘Digital Transformation’ is the solution. However, initiating this journey for ‘change’ simultaneously with day to day

screenings, smoking status, clinical history, medication review, postoperative monitoring and patient feedback. Patients still provide information on paper, while much of the clinical data capture is done by the clinicians during their consultations.

responsibilities is challenging. SymlConnect has been working with specialists and patients to ascertain ways of minimising the efforts of implementing digital change, operationally. Data capture is an integral part of patient care to support long-term conditions for prudent outcomes, including at-risk

An exclusive, interactive, intelligent analytics tool offers instantaneous graphical accounts, supporting speedy identification of clinical needs to initiate prompt actions according to priority. Relevant timely interventions consequently deliver better time management, preventative actions and valueadded outcomes all round.


Success stories from the Welsh life science industry

The Mullany Fund: giving young people the support they need to pursue life sciences Our mission at The Mullany Fund is to ensure that young people – regardless of their socioeconomic position – should have the tools, the confidence and the opportunity to pursue a career in the life and health sciences. We work with some of the most disadvantaged young people and communities within South Wales, matching those aged 14-19 with an online mentor and providing them with 8-10 weeks of structured and tailored advice, guidance and resources to support them through key transition points in their educational progress. The impact of COVID-19 is widespread, and students are facing a worrying level of uncertainty, causing significant anxiety for many of them. Staff at The Mullany Fund – working remotely, and in partnership with our fantastic teachers – have been determined that our support should continue. It is clear that providing consistent and reliable services is vital to ensure that these young people remain focused on their goals and reassured that despite the current challenges, they have much to achieve and opportunities to look forward to.

A recent report from the Sutton Trust found that only 30 per cent of A-Level students at state schools were regularly receiving work and feedback on their studies at home, compared with 57 per cent of students at private schools. Similarly, the report found that working class UCAS applicants were twice as likely as their middle class peers to experience difficulty in finding a suitable place to study at home.

The majority of our support – in the form of the Mullany e-Mentoring project – is entirely digital in nature. Thus, we are fortunate to be able to rely on our pre-existing, robust digital infrastructure and our staff are well versed in remote engagement. This allows us to be able to provide a consistent and recognisable body of support to our students, with additions to ensure content reflects our students’ needs in the current restrictions.

however small, in our current trying times. It is encouraging that many of our mentors share our belief that now, more than ever, it is paramount that we support our most disadvantaged young people to plan for their futures and to consider the many opportunities open to them within the NHS and other life science sectors. The NHS and other healthcare and life science professions have arguably never seemed more important to us all. By continuing to offer tailored and consistent mentoring and support, we will help to inspire many of our hardest-to-reach students into life science and NHS careers, thus strengthening the future life science workforce of Wales. For more information about how you could help support us, contact us at

Some of our mentors are frontline NHS workers, and so we have been prepared to adapt in the case of a sudden shortage of mentors. Thankfully, this does not seem to have been the case. Indeed, we have found that many of our mentors are even more enthusiastic than usual, eager to make a difference,


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Sharp expands its commercial capabilities to UK facility During 2018, Sharp Clinical invested $36 million in new, dedicated facilities in both the US and the UK. Another £1 million has been invested into a further commercial expansion project in Rhymney, to add to an already successful clinical division. Over the past six months, a number of enquiries have been received at the Rhymney facility for commercial primary and secondary packaging services. Without investment and expansion of the primary packaging space, the site would not have had the capacity or capability to convert this interest into actual orders. In the first instance, Sharp & UDG Healthcare (Sharp’s parent organisation) is offering continuity of service to ROWA Pharmaceuticals (a long-term customer of Sharp in The Netherlands) and their patient base worldwide from the Rhymney site. “In order to accommodate this new production volume into the Rhymney site, it was necessary to invest heavily in the facility by extending the available primary packaging space, without compromising clinical trial capabilities. This expansion project will also enable Sharp to have a definite presence in Europe for primary blister packaging activities to potential new clients from the Rhymney facility, while offering QP services for European distribution.”

Ian Morgan General Manager, Sharp Through investing in local companies and hiring experienced local staff, Sharp is now in a position to move further into the commercial market.

The expansion project includes: n Extension of existing primary and secondary areas:

l 3 additional primary packaging rooms

l 1 secondary packaging room

n Installation of 4 blister machines in new primary suite with:

l additional 3 automated cartoners

The new lines are to be integrated (primary into secondary packaging), featuring inline conveyor systems and automatic blister feeding, to increase capacity and improve packaging lead times. In addition to the new highly efficient, modern packaging services for primary and secondary packaging, Sharp is planning to introduce new serialisation, aggregation and authentication equipment. This allows for future growth within the company for new and existing customers. With every new project or client, Sharp further develops its portfolio of suppliers, expanding the supply chain network. In turn offering competitive pricing for new, existing and potential clients, both nationally and internationally.

Sharp giving back: As part of the expansion, Sharp invested heavily in local contract firms to deliver this complex project in a very tight timeframe, utilising the likes of Beacons Business Interiors as the main contractor for the construction of the new facility. Beacons Business Interiors were also instrumental in Sharp’s relocation from Crickhowell into the new state of the art facility in Rhymney. Beacons Business Interiors were joined by JCAC – a mechanical services contractor based out of Merthyr Tydfil, CAD Electrical – Electrical and Instrumentation installations from Tredegar, and several other Welsh companies including Nuaire, Beaven Consulting and Cold Clad to name just a few. In addition to supplying local companies with opportunities to expand their portfolios, Sharp is now in a position to expand its workforce. As part of this exciting new venture, many new roles are being created. Sharp, as always, will be looking to the local communities first for the work force and resources required, allowing local knowledgeable technicians, engineers and staff to work with an everexpanding global company.


Success stories from the Welsh life science industry

Concentric Health: Remote consent supporting organisational recovery By Dr Dafydd Loughran, Concentric Health CEO

By Dr Dafydd Loughran, Concentric Health CEO I wonder what the world will look like when you read this? It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster. Alongside the slower pace of the world are sectors at full throttle. If you’re reading LifeStories you’ve probably seen the NHS at full throttle recently. Thank you, from us at Concentric Health, to all those who have adapted and driven innovation in response to the pandemic. Concentric Health is a Welsh healthtech startup on a mission to transform how we make decisions about our health. Our core product is a digital consent application for procedures and treatments. It digitises the traditionally paper-based consent process, shares accessible information that can be made bespoke for each individual, and guides patients through their journey.

Changing plans, at pace In March, as the pandemic escalated on an exponential curve, it was clear that our initial pilot plans at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust needed to change. Contrary to an internal conversation the preceding week, where we wondered how much of a negative impact COVID-19 may have on the business, it would be a challenge of scale that would be the focus of the following months. Remote consent was suddenly front and centre. Regular communication with clinicians on the ground meant that, from the relative calm of our repurposed home offices, we could feel the urgency and the need. The teams knew, painfully and personally, that non-Covid care such as cancer cases could not be left forgotten. Managing risk The aim was to limit exposure, to limit risk, but to operate where necessary. Operate in as safe an environment as possible, but manage all other aspects of care across the trust from the safety of home. We have all seen the mobilisation of video consultation across the NHS recently (Concentric was introduced

alongside this) to support consultations, share personalised information and record consent. Organisations recovering It was clear that, despite being forced into adopting remote consent, both clinicians and patients were quietly content with the change. Patients, from the comfort and safety of home, had the information they needed and the guidance of their clinician on video call, without the anxiety of hospital waiting rooms, the frustration of parking difficulties, and currently also the COVID-19 risks. As we creep out of lockdown, the burden of delayed care will become the focus. Over 500,000 operations have been postponed due to the pandemic in the UK alone. During 2020, the art and science of organisational recovery will be in maximising activity whilst minimising risk. With that in mind, ‘remote if possible’ as a mantra is here to stay. The plethora of digital health solutions will not only facilitate this, but also find ways to transform the old ways for the better. We see digital, remote consent as a key part of that jigsaw.

Get in touch To find out more about Concentric and explore whether we can help in your context visit or say hello via Acknowledgements We have been supported by a Welsh Government COVID grant to add remote consent functionality to the Concentric application, aiding the organisational recovery of health boards and trusts.


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COVID-19 drug discovery platform in development Moleculomics, based at Swansea University Medical School, has been awarded funding from Innovate UK for technology development to find drug treatments for COVID-19 and other viral threats. The new in silico platform, GRASP (Generic Rapid Antiviral Screening Platform), will seek to get ahead of emerging strains of the virus by simulating the effects of mutations before they happen, and screening the new protein targets against libraries of drug compounds.

“The SARS-CoV-2 virus is mutating, though not particularly rapidly. There are several strains in circulation around the globe and the virus is still undergoing about 25 mutations per year. It is likely in time that these mutations will affect viral structure, drug specificity and pathogenicity, opening up new opportunities for drug targeting, for the current pandemic and future viral threats”. Dr Jonathan Mullins, CEO, Moleculomics

The company has recently developed the Human3DProteome platform, which contains the 3D structures of all of the proteins (receptors, transporters, enzymes etc) of the human body. They have also developed the Hit2Lead Portal, the first fully automated portal that provides a one-stop-shop for protein modelling and drug screening at all scales, from single receptor or single compound jobs to whole proteome screening. GRASP is the first dedicated antiviral screening platform to be developed by the company.

“There is a good deal of in silico screening going on, but we don’t know of anyone else who is simulating the impacts of future potential mutations.” Karl Austin-Muttitt, research scientist working on the project

The team will be working in close collaboration with academic and industrial partners, and the screening results relevant to treatment of COVID-19 disease, featuring interactions with approved drugs and wider chemical space, will be openly shared with partners and on the project website. Those interested in partnering, sharing information etc, please contact:


Success stories from the Welsh life science industry

Digital wound management: The future of wound care comes to Wales By Katherine Ward, Chief Commercial Officer, The COVID-19 pandemic is front and centre of all current healthcare priorities, and rightly so. Yet, we must not overlook the importance of other key elements of healthcare provision which have by no means abated. Take the management of wounds. It is estimated that 2.2 million people in the UK live with chronic wounds, including about 6 per cent of the population of Wales. These are wounds that take months or even years to heal, costing the NHS around £5 billion a year. The pandemic risks exacerbating the challenge because people with chronic wounds tend to be in an older age bracket or to have diabetes, placing them at a heightened risk for COVID-19 complications. At a time when pressure on the healthcare system is higher than ever, it is critical to ensure that clinicians have access to the tools they need to monitor, manage and heal wounds safely and effectively. Digitising wound management – with digital tools accompanying and informing every step of the care process – is the key to easing the wound care burden. To optimise and expedite the healing process, wounds should be measured regularly and accurately over time, enabling clinicians to track the healing process and make evidence-based decisions. Instead, wounds are typically measured using rudimentary paper rulers, reducing the consistency of measurement and limiting the ability to determine whether a wound is healing and which treatment methods have been most successful.

52’s digital wound management solution harnesses smartphone technology to digitise routine monitoring, allowing clinical staff to accurately measure, document and track wounds using a smartphone. The solution, already in use by NHS wound care professionals and around the world, was recently selected for piloting and evaluation in Wales by a panel coordinated by Digital Health Ecosystem Wales.

After using our app to scan a wound, algorithms measure and analyse it, developing a 3D image which serves as a streamlined visual evidence base for wound tracking. Results are automatically uploaded to a portal, giving patients’ healthcare providers rapid and easy access to the information. Tissue viability teams and district nurses see, manage and treat patients with chronic wounds and pressure ulcers both in and out of hospital. For them the app can be a real asset to their daily work. As staff groups are often based in multiple locations, both in secondary care and in the community, and use different systems to record patient information, our app and portal ensure a single source of data for every patient. Nurses can make remote assessments and ensure that NHS multidisciplinary teams are following the right patient pathway

of care for assessing the wounds, and can safely consult remotely with appropriate experts. Traditional wound care management is time- and resource-intensive for clinicians and often challenging and stressful for patients. Our assessment and documentation process saves time, reduces administrative burdens and helps NHS staff assess patients earlier. Crucially, it also helps to keep patients out of the clinic and at home, which, during the COVID-19 pandemic, is more important than ever.

At a time when concern for the wellbeing of at-risk populations is heightened, we should not overlook the conditions that can impact health and wellbeing most acutely. Instead we must strive to deliver the highest standards of care, to keep as many people as possible as well as possible, for as long as possible. One positive to emerge from the current pandemic is that it has provided a much-needed catalyst for innovation and a renewed mindset of care for people and communities, and this is absolutely something we are excited to be part of.

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Patent Seekers: Patent search database as an intelligence tool Patent searching can be used to generate valuable intelligence and provide you, or your company, with information that can aid in important decision making. PatWorld is an intuitive, powerful patent search database designed by patent search professionals to provide users of any level of expertise with the tools they need to perform patent searches, in a user-friendly interface with flexible subscription plans.

Initial searching PatWorld features a number of search forms ranging from quick, standard, advanced and “smart” searching. Use these tools to search for prior art that can help inform decision making on patenting a product, check for obvious infringement risks, or gain an insight into the stateof-the-art technology for research and development. Notably, the smart search (semantic searching) is a valuable tool for generating potentially relevant results in minimal time. Simply paste a section of text that describes the invention to be searched, and the custom smart-search algorithms will search for results and return patents in a deemed order of relevance.

Name Searching The Assignee or Inventor search field can be used to search for patents owned by a company or an individual. Use the INPADOC legal status tab to check the status of a patent in a particular territory and use the in-built links to the national registers for further detailed analysis. When searching for a company or individual, consider that IP may be held in the name of a parent company or subsidiary. This tool has several important applications, including checking the status of competitors’ patents, identifying new IP by competitors, and identifying IP/portfolios for possible acquisition.

Alerts The alerts tool can be used to monitor a variety of different metrics, such as competitor publications, changes to the status of a patent or publications within a technology area.

Analysis The analysis tools can be used to create charts and graphs on a set of patent results. These can be a patent portfolio of a competitor or a specific subject matter area. The analysis tools have several applications including identifying filing trends (by year), global distributions of patent filings, main technology areas (by classification) and identifying the top filing assignees in the area. Additionally, users can analyse

representatives/agents to see who is representing particular companies.

Summary Searching and analysing with a patent database provides essential competitive intelligence that can be used for a variety of different applications, in addition to ensuring a productive and efficient route through the life cycle of a product. PatWorld offers an intuitive platform, refined by searching experts to provide a productive and cost-effective tool to gain access to this information.


Success stories from the Welsh life science industry

Single Use Surgical supports Cavell Nurses’ Trust Single Use Surgical will donate 5p from the sale of every disposable surgical instrument sold in the UK to Cavell Nurses’ Trust to help support the nursing family in their time of need. Cavell Nurses’ Trust is the national charity which provides support to UK nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants when they are facing personal or financial hardship. This may be as a result of illness, disability, domestic abuse and more recently the impact of COVID-19. Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, the charity has provided record levels of support to nursing professionals. The partnership with Cavell Nurses’ Trust comes in recognition of International Nurses’ Day 2020, celebrated globally each year to commemorate the birth of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. It also reinforces the company’s support for the NHS during these challenging times.

“I am delighted to be a part of this new collaboration with Cavell Nurses’ Trust. It’s very important in these times of COVID-19, but my wish is to continue to support our fantastic NHS nurses long after the virus has been beaten. Nurses are the heart of our NHS and they should receive the support and gratitude they deserve.”

Jon Blastland Sales Director Single Use Surgical

Cavell Nurses’ Trust was founded in 1917 in memory of British nurse Edith Cavell, who is celebrated for her work in World War I. Edith is believed to have saved the lives of over 200 soldiers thanks to her bravery. Today, the charity transforms lives by supporting frontline workers when they need it most – from simple, essential support like money to repair a broken cooker or boiler, to vital life-changing aid like helping a family flee their home in cases of domestic abuse.

John Orchard, Chief Executive at Cavell Nurses’ Trust, added: “Edith Cavell continues to inspire people a century on and Cavell Nurses’ Trust is proud to support nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants in her name. We’re incredibly grateful to the team at Single Use Surgical for getting behind us in this way and helping us support the nursing family in the UK.” Established in 2001, Single Use Surgical was formed as a direct response to UK hospitals’ concerns over the cleaning practices involving fine lumen instruments. The company’s ethos is simple – to produce instruments that are sterile, efficient and manufactured to the highest standards, all carefully designed to put patients first and reduce the risk of cross-contamination.


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Detecting atrial fibrillation to prevent strokes KardiaMobile, from MediWales member AliveCor, has been used by Kent, Surrey & Sussex Academic Health Science Network in a project estimated to avoid over 60 strokes annually. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia and a leading cause of stroke across the world. In the UK, AF affects nearly 1 million people. Kent Surrey Sussex Academic Health Science Network (KSS AHSN) has collaborated with the NHS, partner organisations and industry to invest in the many elements of a project to detect and protect patients with AF. The KSS AHSN Alliance for AF project aims to improve the detection of AF and optimise the use of anticoagulants through the implementation of tools and resources, including AliveCor’s KardiaMobile, that will support clinical teams to reduce the number of people dying or becoming disabled by AF-related stroke.

National targets were set by NHS England in April 2018 to increase AF prevalence to 85 per cent and increase anticoagulation rates to 84 per cent by March 2020. This was successfully achieved by KSS AHSN Alliance for AF in the first year, with 87.3 per cent AF Prevalence and 84.6 per cent anticoagulation rates (QOF 2018/19 data). The Alliance continues to support this even further and, as a result, the project has proven that these efforts and methods could save not only lives, but also a significant amount of money for the UK economy where it’s estimated that healthcare cost related to cardiovascular disease is £19 billion per year. KSS AHSN distributed 560 KardiaMobile personal ECG devices to primary and secondary care settings to be used for AF detection. KardiaMobile is a Lead I, CE-marked, medical-grade personal ECG that can detect AF in just 30 seconds. ECGs are recorded directly onto the user’s

smartphone, where they see an instant analysis that can be shared with their healthcare provider remotely. Activity data from each participant’s KardiaMobile was tracked every month from April 2018 to June 2020.

Of the 14,853 ECG traces taken with KardiaMobile, there were 1,525 possible AF detections, and potentially more than 60 strokes were saved. This has an associated health and social care cost saving of £2.5 million in addition to saving numerous patients and their families from the devastating experience of a stroke.

The KSS AHSN Alliance for AF project has made a significant difference to its population in primary care settings across Kent, Surrey and Sussex. However, there is more to do in order to help share their learnings and scale the project across the region and the UK. KardiaMobile’s affordable price point (£99 per device) and medicalgrade AI technology prove to have a positive impact on patient outcomes and healthcare savings. Expanding the use of KardiaMobile in other NHS pathways across the UK could make significant improvements in the nationwide efforts to fight cardiovascular disease.


Success stories from the Welsh life science industry

Celebrating a landmark year for CellPath

2019 was a fantastic year for all of us here at CellPath, with a record scoop of eight awards in just twelve months. Work began on our fourth CellNass warehouse and January saw the launch of our solvent delivery service CellSolv. Our successes reflect the hard work and commitment of our whole team and it was fantastic to have so many of our diverse achievements rewarded, and ultimately seeing us crowned as Welsh Business of the Year.

businesses all over the world, we now face a new challenge. The outbreak of coronavirus has caused significant additional pressure to the supply chain of medical goods, and we are proud to be doing what we can to minimise disruption to our valuable customers. As we supply the essential tools to make cancer diagnosis possible, we remain committed to supporting our customers whilst also protecting our staff and our local community by ensuring our mid-Wales premises are safe for all. Upon hearing of the need for additional sanitisation products locally, we increased production capacity of the WHO formulation hand sanitiser, which has now been supplied to local businesses free of charge. We have also distributed additional hand sanitiser to our laboratory customers and have sourced a general purpose surface sanitiser with proven efficacy against SARSCoV-2.

Throughout 2019, our CellNass service continued to grow from strength to strength, and the future looks bright as we have recently broken ground on a fourth warehouse. This major infrastructure investment will be built on our mid-Wales site and use exclusively local contractors. We look forward to welcoming customers to visit when circumstances allow. We also attended record numbers of conferences around the world, giving us the opportunity to meet both existing and potential customers face-to-face. We attended the Institute of Biomedical Science Congress in Birmingham, where we launched the LUMEA BxChip- an innovative method of processing needle core biopsies. The BxChip wasn’t the only surprise from


Congress as we also received the award for Best Stand. IBMS Congress allowed us the opportunity to relay further information about the recently launched CellSolv service, which provides a convenient way for pathology laboratories to order and dispose of the solvents they regularly need. Making sure to consider the environmental impact of this business expansion, we have planned fuel efficient routes for our dedicated delivery van and we explore chemical recycling opportunities wherever possible. We certainly enjoyed ourselves in 2019 and were delighted to celebrate with so many other fantastic Welsh businesses. Though it is important to reflect on good times, like

We are fortunate to be a versatile business and were quickly able to re-purpose the use of our 3D printers, allowing us to produce protective face shields for key workers in the local area, including social housing, school hubs, funeral parlours and a local hospital.

We are proud of our ability to look after our staff and neighbours in these trying times, however, we have not forgotten the impact this crisis is having on our valuable NHS customers. For that reason, we made the decision to offer all NHS customers a price freeze for the financial year. We hope our efforts help to support our NHS and wish to reiterate our thanks for the patience, support and dedication of all of our customers around the world.

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Cryogenics company wins at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Cardiff’s local (national and international) cryogenics company, Cryo Storage Solutions, is in the middle of equipping the new Rosalind Franklin Institute with specialised cryogenic pipework and gas detection systems. The company was founded in January 2017 and is based on Cardiff Docks. It distributes for the German cryogenic pipework market leader; Cryotherm, and supplies cryogenic and lab/medical gas knowhow and equipment across the UK and into the Republic of Ireland. The Rosalind Franklin Institute (RFI) is located at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) near Didcot, and joins a host of prestigious scientific and research organisations including the new VMIC (Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre), the Central Laser Facility, and the Diamond Light Source. The Institute brings together experts in Biological Mass Spectrometry, Correlated Imaging, Structural Biology, and Artificial Intelligence and Informatics, and is dedicated to transforming life science through interdisciplinary research and technology development.

The Institute is named after the scientist Rosalind Franklin, who was an English chemist and X-ray crystallographer. Her work was central to the understanding of the molecular structures of the polio virus, DNA and RNA. Sadly, her main work on DNA was only largely recognised posthumously, and perhaps the naming of this Institute will go some way to further spreading knowledge of her important discoveries.

The RFI will join RAL’s pioneering work in areas such as particle physics, scientific computing, laser development, space research, and technology that will address some of the important challenges facing society. “It has taken me 4 years to get into RAL and make a sale, and now we’re incredibly happy to be equipping the RFI with highly-efficient cryogenic pipework. We have also just landed a large contract to supply similar equipment at the Diamond Light Source, also in RAL, and this is exactly the kind of place I want to be working.”

Cryo Storage Solutions also operates as a HTA-approved cryogenic storage facility, keeping client’s stem cells and human tissue products safe and secure at a chilly -180°c. The company and small team of staff aim to offer cryogenic services to all sectors that use them, and have recently branched out into the world of helium, at an even chillier -269°c. They’re also busy installing the cryogenic systems for cryotherapy machines and saunas, alongside keeping users of laboratory, medical and industrial gases.

Edwin Dyson Managing Director Cryo Storage Solutions


Success stories from the Welsh life science industry

Roche: How a global pandemic became the ultimate test of partnership working The whole life sciences industry, from multinational organisations to smaller companies, has mobilised in an unprecedented way to tackle the global COVID-19 healthcare crisis and has played a critical role in supporting the NHS across the UK, including within Wales. As SARS-CoV-2 – the virus which causes COVID-19 – started to spread, and the scale of the challenge came into focus, it was clear that Invitro Diagnostics (IVD) would be a crucial element in the response to the pandemic, and that tests would need to be developed from a standing start at a previously unsurpassed speed and volume. In just over a month, Roche (like other industry partners) identified the sequence for COVID-19, created a test which identifies if someone is currently infected by the virus, and secured regulatory approval.


Considering it usually takes a minimum of two years to develop a test and get it approved for use, the sheer pace of progress with COVID-19 has been beyond belief. On 13 March 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorised the emergency use of the Roche SARS-CoV-2 PCR test which could be run on fullyautomated platforms already installed in hospitals and laboratories around the world – including at the Magden Park Public Health Wales laboratory in Llantrisant. In the weeks that followed, Roche’s emergency response teams worked day and night to enable this equipment for the COVID-19 response and bring this test to patients as quickly as possible. What became apparent in those early weeks, and remains true to this day, is that the even greater challenge would be to produce and distribute the volume of tests needed across the globe.

“The whole IVD industry mobilised at an astonishing pace. Never before have we seen such rapid development and authorisation of assays. In the case of our PCR test that was an almost inconceivable 42 days from development to release.”

Peter Howell Customer Account Manager for Wales Roche Diagnostics

Just over a month later, Roche announced the launch of its elecsys Anti SARS-Cov-2 serology test to detect antibodies in people who have been exposed to the virus. There is still a lot that remains unknown about this virus, particularly if having the antibodies for COVID-19 confirms immunity, and how long that immunity will last. But reliable and accurate antibody

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testing is the crucial next step in helping reduce this uncertainty by understanding the spread of the virus.

Again, the Roche platforms needed to run this test were already installed across the UK, and of the 24 in Wales, eight have gone live for COVID-19 antibody testing at: l Glan Clwyd Hospital l Bronglais Hospital l Glangwili Hospital l Withybush Hospital l Prince Philip Hospital l Prince Charles Hospital l Morriston Hospital l Royal Glamorgan Hospital

These sites were part of the first wave to implement the antibody test within the UK, and in Wales to date more than 70,000 antibody tests have been processed. It was undoubtedly the strong partnerships and pre-existing relationships between Public Health Wales, NHS Wales and the Roche team, as well as the already established regular Partnership Group Meetings and activity handling, which streamlined the enablement of COVID-19 testing in Wales and helped with, for example, the rapid frontline verification and validation of the new tests. In addition, once the platforms were live and testing was underway, weekly calls and touch points between Roche’s regional representatives and laboratory staff have helped ensure that the process remains as seamless as possible.

“Diagnostics is the cornerstone of every good treatment pathway. But in the case of COVID-19, we had to build the solutions to the crisis while in the eye of the storm. What we have learned is that partnership working is the only way to tackle urgent, demanding health scenarios, alleviate pressures on the NHS and provide quick solutions that work for everyone.”

Cara Livesey Centralised Diagnostics Sales Specialist for Wales


Success stories from the Welsh life science industry

Are the learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic transferable to AMR? It would not be an understatement to say that the eyes of the world have been firmly planted on infectious diseases over the past six months. There has been increasing recognition over this time that secondary bacterial and fungal infections can co-occur with initial SARS-CoV-2 infections and that these can be fatal. Treatment options are often limited by resistance of the microbial targets to the drugs used in these secondary infections. This has immediate implications for patients and longer-term implications for managing AMR. Correctly, much resource has been dedicated to rapidly understanding and effectively controlling the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Collaboration not seen since the last World War has seen significant progress being made over this short period of time.

The hope is that pandemic-inspired changes to perceptions of the value of infectious disease treatments (and streamlining of regulations, policies and collaboration practices for development of viral diagnostics, therapeutics and interventions) can offer solutions and impetus to the field of antimicrobials in order to avert a future AMR-related pandemic.

In contrast, development of effective new antimicrobials remains chronically underresourced. Learnings from the Covid-19 pandemic experience could be a valuable resource in re-imagining how diagnostic and treatment tools for bacterial, fungal or parasitic infections are safely developed, timeously commercialised and their impacts monitored in a post-Covid-19 world.

This overlapping area of focus is where Biophys Ltd now finds itself. Our established AMR interests have expanded to include an early stage interest in a small molecule with potential activity against RNA viruses. We are cautiously optimistic about the molecule’s potential and looking forward to the journey of discovery that lies ahead to find out.

Increasing production capacity to help hospitals We are continuing to adapt to better suit the needs of clinicians and the way we support clinics. With the reintroduction of more regular procedures, we are increasing production capacity of our single-use range to ensure customers have all instruments they require.

Our range of single-use instruments eliminate the risk of COVID-19 cross contamination between procedures. We are focusing on essential product lines to support urgent procedures such as cancer diagnosis. This includes our Cervical Rotating Biopsy Punch that ensures a high-quality sample to be taken, even from a hardened cervix.

To enable our PPE production to continue we have increased our manufacturing facility and built an additional new Cleanroom. This will allow us to continue to support the NHS and protect our frontline healthcare workers with essential CE marked Innovia Face Visors. The Innovia Face Visor has been specially designed to provide top, side and front face protection from aerosols and to minimise airborne cross-contamination. UK production is underway at our Swansea site and at our sister company Network Medical’s site in Ripon. The device has been donated to local Welsh hospitals and 1.6 million has so far been supplied to the NHS.


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Marlies Hoecherl becomes Honorary Consul of Switzerland in Wales Marlies is a German born, England and Wales qualified lawyer and partner in Capital Law’s corporate and commercial department. Since March 2020, she has been representing Switzerland as honorary consul in Wales.

Part of her role is to safeguard and develop business connections between Wales and Switzerland. Marlies explains: “Stakeholders such as the Welsh Government, the Consular Association in Wales and the South Wales Chamber of Commerce are of course important in forging these links, but organisations such as MediWales are also key for networking in a sector which is increasingly important for Wales.” Switzerland is already an important trading partner with the UK and this trading relationship is likely to increase. It was the first country to agree a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK, replicating largely the trade deal with the EU. There are also a lot of synergies. Switzerland is a small country and most Swiss businesses are SMEs with less than 250 employees. Nearly 45 per cent of its exports come from the chemical and

pharmaceutical sectors, and research and development play a crucial role.

Switzerland is home to a thriving life science cluster which includes big players like Roche, as well as a network of small medtech, biotech and nanotech companies. Switzerland is also open to and renowned for both inward and outward investment Marlies is sure that the future will bring lots of opportunities for Welsh-Swiss projects in the life science sector and looks forward to facilitating some of them.

Double challenge for healthcare manufacturer Gwalia 2020 has been a particularly challenging year for Gwalia Healthcare. Just weeks before the Covid-19 lockdown, the Valleys firm was struck by a devastating flood as a result of Storm Dennis. In February, the floodwaters unleashed by the storm rushed through the company’s Treforest factory. At the time, Gwalia had just reached an important stage in its development, having had customers invested in new automated machinery to deliver Geko and Firefly – sophisticated medical devices designed to prevent deep vein thrombosis and treat sports injuries. These devices would take the company, which had previously focused on making child-proof tops for medicine bottles and tamperresistant pharmaceutical and nutritional packaging, into a new market. After six weeks of lifting, cleaning and repairing machinery (whilst using hand

assembly units to ensure customers experienced no break in supplies), Gwalia was back in full swing. Then along came Covid-19. It could have sent them back to the drawing board again. Instead, it brought fresh opportunity. This time the company was inundated, not with the muddy waters of the Taff, but with orders for empty bottles and bottle tops for hand sanitisers – 120 million in 24 hours. Within two weeks, Gwalia had acquired a filling machine and a labelling machine from Amarda Industries, a South Wales based business, allowing them to increase volume. Contracts came from Arco, the largest supplier of sanitiser gel to the NHS and local authorities, and from NHS England. New product lines were developed, including 1 litre bottles with pumps for the NHS, and the company took on an extra 26 employees during the worst of the pandemic.

Gwalia has also been working with Port Talbot-based company Hybrisan on a range of non-alcohol antimicrobial and biocidal products. The fully tested and certified products have a proven quick-kill rate and residual kill, and are not harmful to the skin. They will be going through clinical trials to validate any clinical claims put towards them. As well as gels, Gwalia has also developed a range of decontamination products such as sprays with Hybrisan, which are being used by companies such as Stagecoach.


Breaking new ground in Welsh universities

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Breaking new ground in Welsh universities


Breaking new ground in Welsh universities

The response to COVID-19 from Swansea University Medical School In the year it celebrates its centenary, Swansea University has drawn upon 100 years of innovation and collaboration to contribute to the COVID-19 response. And nowhere has this been more apparent than at the University’s Medical School. Professor Keith Lloyd, head of the Medical school, said: “I am very proud of the way our staff, students and our partners have been working together so successfully to support healthcare and our communities. They really are making a difference.” One example of this effort is the hand sanitiser currently being produced at a rate of 5,000 litres a week by the University for use by the NHS locally. A team of volunteers from three different University Colleges and Schools are involved in its manufacture and the project is one of many initiatives born from the South Wales Additive and Rapid Manufacturing (SWARM) Consortium, set up to unite and mobilise local organisations to support the NHS.

In addition, staff from the Medical School were key members of the team behind ground-breaking new ventilator, the CoronaVent-One. This can be built quickly from local parts and used even for patients with severe coronavirus. Until now, ventilator designs could either be one or the other, but not both. Professor Lloyd said that although coronavirus infections rates are currently stabilising, it was essential to stockpile ventilators ready for patients affected by future pandemic virus infections. Some of those patients may very well receive treatment from new doctors who studied at the Medical School. Members of the 2020 final year cohort signed up for NHS roles as soon as the General Medical


Council offered early provisional registration to those who wanted to begin duties. When they were expecting to be preparing for graduation, the were already working as interim Foundation Y1 doctors. Among them was Alex Ruddy who said: “This is our calling, and although it arrived at an unexpected and unpredictable time, we were not going to ignore it.” However, they were not the only medical students who offered practical support. One group of newer students were determined to put their training to good use. Eight students set up Swansea GEM Relief Childcare, which sees medical and physician associate students providing free emergency childcare for local NHS staff during the pandemic. Within weeks of its launch, the scheme had close to 100 student volunteers, all DBS checked and trained in paediatric basic life support, caring for children of frontline staff. Meanwhile the Medical School was able to capitalise on its unique connection to Wuhan in China, bringing together health experts from across Wales with some of the first medics to tackle coronavirus. The University played a key role in organising a video conference between representatives

from Welsh health boards and senior doctors at Wuhan Union Hospital. The Chinese hospital is home to a joint medical centre, opened two years ago following a long-standing and successful collaboration between the University and the hospital. Working together and sharing expertise, whether it is with colleagues thousands of miles away or closer to home, has been at the heart of the University’s response to the pandemic. This was demonstrated by the successful Celebrating Medical Innovation webinar, which brought together not only academics but also businesses, organisations and health professionals for a forum highlighting how collaboration has been having an impact. Professor Lloyd added: “The event was the perfect showcase for work across the University during this unprecedented time. COVID-19 has presented challenges we have never faced before but without doubt we have been able to rise to those challenges in a remarkable way.”

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Hywel Dda University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Addysgu Powys

Iechyd Cyhoeddus Cymru

Powys Teaching Health Board

Public Health Wales

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

Wales to play major role in national trial for COVID-19 vaccine Ymddiriedolaeth GIG Felindre Velindre NHS Tust

Wales will play a vital role in finding a way out of the coronavirus pandemic as part of the next phase of a UK-led study. Cardiff University’s Centre for Trials Research is part of a collaboration coordinated by Health and Care Research Wales and involving Public Health Wales and Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, that will take part in the next phase of the vaccine trial sponsored by the University of Oxford and funded by CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) UK Research and Innovation. Public Health Wales will lead the recruitment of 500 participants within Aneurin Bevan University Health Board for the Oxford Vaccine Group COVID-19 vaccine trial. The aim is to find a safe vaccine that will develop immunity against the virus and thus prevent the disease. The study aims to recruit 10,000 participants overall.

Ymddiriedolaeth GIG Gwasanaethau Ambiwlans Cymru Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust

COVID-19 vaccine development is a vital part of the long-term response to the coronavirus pandemic and Wales will be joined by multiple other sites across the UK as part of phase 2/3 of the study. This phase of the trial is not open to members of the public. Volunteers will be staff aged 18 and over working within health and care settings within the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board area. This will include hospitals, GP practices, pharmacy, physiotherapy, community care and other non-clinical professions within secondary care who are deemed at risk of exposure to coronavirus. Eligible participants will receive details from the health board about how to participate if they wish. Dr Chris Williams, Principal Investigator for Public Health Wales and lead for the vaccine trial in Wales, said: “This is an important study to test the effectiveness of one of the main candidate vaccines for COVID-19 in Wales. If successful, vaccination will provide a route out of this pandemic. We will be recruiting participants for screening and administration of vaccine, and monitoring outcomes and safety.”

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Addysgu Powys

Professor Sue Bale, Director of Research Powys Teaching and DevelopmentHealth at Aneurin Board Bevan University Health Board, said: “Finding a vaccine for COVID-19 is thought to be the only way in which we can start to return Ymddiriedolaeth to any degree of normality as a society. GIG Felindre Scientists at Oxford University Velindre NHS Tusthave developed a vaccine and the Health Board has the exciting opportunity for 500 of our staff to take part in this fantastic trial.” Professor Kieran Walshe, Director of Health and Care Research Wales, which is nationally co-ordinating research and study-set up in Wales, said: “Research is absolutely vital to finding new ways to deal with COVID-19 and its impact on health and care, and a vaccine is the ultimate goal. I am proud that researchers in Wales are working with national partners to find the most effective treatments, and to trial the Oxford vaccine here in Wales. Our research community and our health and social care staff, are making a real difference to finding a lasting solution to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“We are delighted to be able to build on our previous collaborations with Public Health Wales and Aneurin Bevan University Health Board to help them to set up this vitally important vaccine trial. Usually a study like this would take months to set up, but with such a dedicated, skilled team working across organisational boundaries has achieved an amazing feat. This is a mighty step for research, even if it is only what may seem a small step in our national response to COVID-19.” Professor Kerry Hood Director Centre for Trials Research Cardiff University


Breaking new ground in Welsh universities

SAIL Databank: Health data research during a global pandemic What is SAIL Databank? Based at Swansea University Medical School, SAIL Databank brings together anonymised person-level data from a variety of health and other public services/organisations, providing this as a resource via a secure portal known as a Trusted Research Environment or TRE. A Welsh success story, SAIL Databank is the culmination of a decade of world leading innovation by a small team of data scientists, information governance experts and IT professionals at Swansea University, part-funded by Health and Care Research Wales. Their mission was to create a secure privacy-protecting platform which provides the widest possible access to linked data, without compromising data and privacy protection. SAIL Databank has since established itself as one of the best-characterised population databanks anywhere in the world. Among its wealth of data sources, it contains 100 per cent secondary care and 80 per cent primary care coverage for the Welsh population, delivered through a partnership with the NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS).

Why is SAIL Databank important to COVID-19 research?

SAIL Databank can monitor the impact of a very wide range of exposures and outcomes on the entire population using robustly de-identified data. It is possible to track the development of health conditions in individuals and nested within households and multi-occupancy residences such as care homes, as well as in organised settings such as schools. It is also possible to monitor the development and spread of diseases, and evaluate the impact of exposures and the effects of treatments on outcomes. For COVID-19 research to be effective, approvals need to be considered promptly.


The SAIL Databank team is able to make data available in as quickly as 48 hours whilst maintaining its defining set of governance protocols. This is during a period when the team are seeing as many data access requests from researchers in one week as they would more commonly see in a typical month. Owing to these attributes, SAIL Databank is now used as the data repository for the ZOE COVID-19 Symptom Study app (in partnership with BREATHE – the Health Data Research Hub for Respiratory Health), and is a key partner in the COVIDENCE UK study, enabling numerous COVID-related studies to take place.

How is SAIL Databank contributing to COVID-19 research?

Driven by an existing collaboration with Health Data Research (HDR) UK, a consortium set up to unite the UK’s health data to make it available for research, extensive health data research networks have been leveraged to facilitate each home nation’s TRE to provide data access for a high volume of COVID-19 research studies. SAIL Databank’s role is helping to inform and provide intelligence to the Welsh Government’s Tactical Advisory Group in its COVID response, subsequently feeding into the UK’s SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies). In a weekly update to SAGE, at the beginning of June 2020, HDR UK recognised SAIL Databank as “leading the way across all dimensions, highlighting the benefits of having mature infrastructure in place from the outset.” Of the COVID-19 research being undertaking across the four nations’ TREs, SAIL Databank is currently supporting two thirds of all active projects. The SAIL Databank team has successfully converted nearly half of the 118 data access requests into live projects. All specifically targeted towards COVID-19 research.

Research is now taking place under them following themes: l Government and NHS

emergency response planning

l Assessments of the impact of

the pandemic on mental health

l Clinical trials comparing

treatment pathways

l Investigations into the link

between ethnicity and the severity of COVID-19

l Linking data to COVID-19

testing programmes

l Impacts on society’s most

vulnerable groups

“Wales is a small connected country and our ability to link data anonymously means we shall get even greater value out of that… The advantage of our SAIL Databank is the ability to link up different records and what that means for the spread of coronavirus but also the rate at which people are recovering… The need for such a resource has never been greater.” Vaughan Gething AM Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

Scientists adapt UTI test to diagnose coronavirus The University of South Wales is developing a rapid diagnostic test for Covid-19 with help from the Welsh NHS and industry partners including GX.

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Caerdydd a’r Fro Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Cwm Taf University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Hywel Dda University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Addysgu Powys

Iechyd Cyhoeddus Cymru

Powys Teaching Health Board

Public Health Wales

Ymddiriedolaeth GIG Felindre Velindre NHS Tust

Ymddiriedolaeth GIG Gwasanaethau Ambiwlans Cymru Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust

Dr Jeroen Nieuwland and Dr Emma Hayhurst adapted a technique that they had been developing for the diagnosis of urinary tract infections to create a new test that detects whether people are actively infected with the underlying SARS-CoV-2 virus. The test is designed to be low-cost and quick. It uses a different method and chemicals to the current accredited tests, thereby avoiding supply bottlenecks for the components. Since an initial evaluation in collaboration with Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, the team is now working to optimise their test for use at point of care. The molecular technology, which is based on loop-mediated isothermal amplification of DNA (or LAMP), lends itself to point of care testing because no complex sample processing or expensive equipment is required. The approach involves a novel swabbing and sample extraction technique to reduce cross-contamination and biosafety issues, as well as the time taken to process the results.

turnaround time for results. A point of care device could also offer a solution to people who perhaps live and work in more rural areas, as well as in specific care settings and industries to help detect outbreaks quicker and prevent further spread of the virus.

The team has been working with Electronic Engineering researchers from the university and several Welsh industry partners to develop a point of care test which will be affordable and will allow results to be available in 20-30 minutes. Engineers at GX are designing and producing a set of device prototypes, BioMonde is producing the assay element of the test, and BIC Innovation has been providing guidance on regulatory requirements. Researchers have also been trialing a unique nasal swab printed on 3D printers within Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB.

underlying virus for Covid-19.” Dr Jeroen Nieuwland University of South Wales


Due to its speed and portability, the new test could be used to help ramp up largescale community testing with a short

“We have been developing our diagnostic testing platform for the last few years, so we know that it works well for other infections such as urine tract infections (UTIs). We have modified this very sensitive and precise technique which is based on proven molecular (LAMP) technology. This is a fluorescent detection of nucleic acid amplification, similar to standard qPCR methods, but at constant temperature. It was designed to be a simple, quick and cost-effective test, suitable for the diagnosis of a range of infections, so our work over the last few years has enabled us to quickly switch it to detect the

GX prototype image


Breaking new ground in Welsh universities Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Caerdydd a’r Fro

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

New research into dialysis options and choices An all Wales co-productive study is exploring factors that determine treatment choices in people with advanced kidney failure.

The challenge People living with end stage kidney disease need to make a decision about their future treatment options. In Wales there are many treatments available including transplantation, dialysis at home (either haemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis), dialysis in a hospital (haemodialysis), and supportive care without dialysis (called maximum conservative management). NHS renal teams work with kidney disease patients, family members and carers in order to support people in making the best treatment decisions for them. Currently in Wales it is known that most people choose dialysis in hospital as their preferred treatment option. This is despite hospital based dialysis being associated with the lowest quality of life and also being expensive. In this study, the team want to learn more about what people with kidney disease, their family members and carers understand of the available treatment options, what they value most when making these difficult decisions, and the support networks available to them across Wales.

The research The study is led by Dr Gareth Roberts, Consultant Nephrologist at Cardiff & Vale University Health Board, and involves a multi-disciplinary team of experienced kidney specialists, the commissioners of Welsh renal services, health economists based at Bangor University, researchers from the Wales Kidney Research Unit at Bangor University, and people living with kidney disease. This mixed method study will collect data from patient education programmes, renal data sets, national health and social care data sets, and interviews with kidney


Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Cwm Taf University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Hywel Dda University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Addysgu Powys

Iechyd Cyhoeddus Cymru

Powys Teaching Health Board

Public Health Wales

Ymddiriedolaeth GIG Felindre Velindre NHS Tust

disease patients, family members and carers. The team will also interview professionals from the multi-disciplinary renal teams. It is a co-productive study being undertaken with patients and key stakeholders across Wales, with funding from Health and Care Research Wales.

The results The study has recently closed to recruiting participants. 92 participants were interviewed, of which 51 were people living with Chronic Kidney Disease and 41 were family members. In addition, focus groups and one-to-one interviews were undertaken with more than 30 kidney health and social care professionals including clinicians, specialist nurses, managers and allied health professionals. They were asked about their views on why more people do not choose home therapy, barriers they face, service configurations and any biases they may have towards the various kidney treatments. An all Wales specialist renal data set, VitalData, records a person’s initial treatment choice, where they progress to, and detailed demographic details. It also captures frailty and quality of life scores inputted by healthcare professionals. This data can be used to map with other datasets through Secure Anonymised Integrated Linage (SAIL) systems, such as GP and hospital

Ymddiriedolaeth GIG Gwasanaethau Ambiwlans Cymru Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust

records, in order to build up a comprehensive picture of who is choosing what, why and where across Wales. The study team will report in the autumn of 2020. Due to COVID-19, they have needed to reconfigure the way they work coproductively in the final stages of the study. They have created a series of webinars, online forums and linked working groups in order to maintain patient and public input. For further information on the study and ways to participate (e.g. share your views or become involved as a patient or public representative) please visit www. or contact the Wales Kidney Research Unit via Twitter @theWKRU

The impact Learning from people’s experiences and opinions will help the team to understand what is most important to people when making decisions about their future kidney treatment. In addition to helping patients and their families to make better decisions, this study will inform future education programmes in Wales and help make best use of NHS resources.

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Caerdydd a’r Fro Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

Cardiff University Biomechanics Research Facility hosts ‘first in Wales’ NHS service

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Aneurin Bevan University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Cwm Taf University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Hywel Dda University Health Board

The Cardiff University integrated research The Musculoskeletal Biomechanics facility offers human motion analysis, vector and Bioengineering facility (MSKBRF) analysis, and is one of the few locations based in Cardiff University School Bwrdd Iechyd of Engineering is a world class, Iechyd Cyhoeddus globally to offer bi-plane fluoroscopy (3D Addysgu Powys Cymru X-ray) services. This is complemented by integrated, state of the art human Powys Teaching Public Health other related equipment including surface Health Boardmovement research centre opened Wales in electromyography to measure muscle September 2018. Funded by a joint activity, muscle measurement equipment, £5m Welsh Government and Cardiff bone density scanning and ultrasound Ymddiriedolaeth GIG Ymddiriedolaeth University grant, the facility in Gwasanaethau the Ambiwlans Cymru equipment. The suite of laboratories also GIG Felindre Services of Cardiff was establishedWelsh to Ambulance has Velindre NHSheart Tust patient changing and clinical facilities to NHS Trust expand research into osteoarthritis enable tissue sampling. and other musculoskeletal diseases. The Facility has been successful in attracting Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions such as research grants from a wide variety of arthritis and back pain affected an estimated funding partners investigating disease 18.8 million people across the UK in 2017, and clinical interventions, including Versus according to data collated by leading charity Arthritis, the Engineering and Physical Versus Arthritis. MSK conditions accounted Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and for more than 22 per cent of the total burden the Wellcome Trust. Research is also being of ill health in the UK, with an estimated 18.8 conducted into rehabilitation monitoring, and million people, or 3 in 10 of the population the facility provides a resource for clinicians suffering from a musculoskeletal disease. and other partners.

Following a successful pilot phase, the Facility is delighted to host Wales first Clinical Gait Analysis Service, led by clinicians from the Rehabilitation Engineering Unit at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. Gait Analysis measures and assesses a patients’ walking pattern using a variety of technologies, and the results and accompanying analysis provide detailed insight for their referring clinician.

Among the most commonly referred patients for gait analysis are children and adults with cerebral palsy and other complex neurological and orthopaedic conditions. Using gait analysis, the rehabilitation team can plan the treatment of these patients and evaluate the outcomes. The resulting treatment plan aims to improve mobility, reduce pain, and deliver improvements in the patient’s day to day quality of life. This may involve orthopaedic surgery to correct bony deformities, balance muscles and improve joint function. Other treatments include physiotherapy and orthotic interventions. Prior to the partnership, Welsh patients were travelling to Shropshire, Oxford or London as there was no suitable facility within Wales. Professor Cathy Holt, Facility Director, has been leading the partnership with Professor Colin Gibson Consultant, Clinical Engineer and Head of Rehabilitation Engineering at CAVUHB. Both parties are keen to expand the service and build on its success to explore the potential to additional services which will have direct benefits for Welsh patients. The resources at the MSKBRF are available to clinicians, sports teams and businesses requiring biomechanical, clinical or physiological data.


Breaking new ground in Welsh universities

First year success for Swansea University spin-out Since 2019, ProColl has been supplying biomaterials to help researchers create innovations such as artificial skin and organs with their first-to-market vegan friendly materials. This includes a material based on collagen, a major component of connective tissues in the human body, for medical breakthroughs that will offer solutions for everything from cancer drug testing to (autograft) organ replacement. ProColl has been awarded Royal Academy of Engineering funding worth £60,000, making CEO Dr Widdowson the third person in the history of Swansea University to win the funding, and has also been recognised for their work by winning the Outstanding Impact on Industry, Commerce and Innovation award at the annual Swansea University Research and Innovation Awards.

The company also secured funding from ICURe, a programme of commercialisation support for teams of academic researchers wishing to explore the commercial potential of their research, and Dr Widdowson travelled the world showcasing ProColl’s products. He achieved this in the last year with the help of Dr Chris Wright, the joint cofounder of ProColl, and the support of AgorIP and Impact Acceleration (ESPRC) funds/projects at Swansea University. AgorIP, supported by Swansea University and the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, brings together academics, clinicians and businesses to pioneer research into cuttingedge technologies and drive commercial success. During the current situation in regards to COVID-19, AgorIP has been able to redirect efforts to offer support to end users, thanks to both WEFO and Welsh Government. Dr Widdowson said: “Collagen is currently unaffordable for large scale research and that is holding back people who are doing research that could help save lives. It is the body’s choice of glue, holding us together.

Anything that is physically damaged in our bodies is generally repairable with collagen, and that can range from anything to sponge inserts to prototype organs.” “I want to make a difference in the world. The materials we produce are used in research and development, and we produce in quantities that allow us to be more cost effective. Our mission is to empower researchers to carry out the work that will benefit humanity by providing a market leading quality product at economical prices. “ProColl is not just looking to create collagen-based materials, but we see the biggest potential there. It needs addressing before we can move on. We are looking forward to the future meeting the needs of modern healthcare. We have recently secured service contracts to supply the nutraceuticals industry, where our innovative biomaterials will contribute to well-being. We are currently realising their first investment round building on the potential that their products, knowledge and enthusiasm bring to an important medical market sector.” Berna Jones, the Technology Transfer Manager in AgorIP who has been helping ProColl, said: “ProColl is a young but fastgrowing company providing a full range of innovative collagen products to the market. Their flagship product, recombinant human procollagen, offers the best clinical translation possible, with better patient outcomes due to the allogeneic human template source. Since spinning out, the team has achieved many accomplishments and proved that it is one of the best spinouts the University has created.” To find out more about accessing support and advice from AgorIP, please email or you can contact AgorIP with any queries via Twitter @AgorIP_Swan or LinkedIn


Technology facility leads on quality management at Cardiff University and beyond Central Biotechnology Services (CBS) is an ISO 9001:2015 certified and Good Clinical Laboratory Practice (GCLP) accredited Cardiff University Technology Facility, offering access to a wide range of life sciences facilities. ISO 9001 is the world’s most popular Quality Management System (QMS) standard and is used by over a million organisations across the globe. The latest revision, ISO 9001:2015, is a powerful tool to help businesses of all sizes to manage their operations effectively, boost operational resilience and build for the long term.

GCLP is an established international quality system for laboratories that analyse samples from clinical trials in accordance with global Good Clinical Practice (GCP) regulations. GCLP ensures the quality and reliability of the clinical trial data generated by a laboratory. Our accreditation demonstrates the excellence of our Technology Facility to support clinical trials and enables us to undertake assay work independently in this area.

CBS is the only UK Multi-Core University Facility to be ISO 9001:2015 certified. This certification enables us to conduct contract work for the many external businesses that require activities to be done to this standard. Examples of companies based in Wales that we support are Cytiva (formerly GE Healthcare Life Sciences) and ReNeuron. We are also working intensively with TeloNostiX, a Cardiff University spinout company embedded in Central Biotechnology Services, as they work towards gaining their own ISO accreditation to deliver clinical tests.

We pride ourselves on the scientific advice that our technologists provide to Cardiff University researchers, researchers from other universities, the NHS and businesses. CBS is also very proud of the leadership it provides on all aspects of Quality Management and is actively supporting research groups across Cardiff University who aspire to work to this standard. Furthermore, CBS has recently established, and is leading, a QMS Working Group to

enhance communication and collaboration on this vital topic across the university. We are also keen to support those outside of Cardiff University on Quality Management. Contact us ( if you are looking for Quality Management advice. We are here to support you.


Breaking new ground in Welsh universities

Innovation at CITER Cardiff Institute for Tissue Engineering and Repair, created in 1993, is a network of scientists principally within Cardiff University. Interests and expertise include basic, translational and clinical research in stem cell science, tissue engineering and repair, and disease translation. Within these broader remits, the research interest of individual colleagues is diverse.

CITER embraces translational research that is conducive to commercial exploitation and encourages partnership with the industry. A core strength is its network expertise enabling it to address complex problems, accessing skill from different disciplines. To support the network, CITER organises several workshops, seminars and conferences throughout the year, encouraging and fostering new research collaborations, and promoting expertise to external researchers and stakeholders. Industrial partners are encouraged to attend and showcase collaborative works and solutions tailored for researchers. CITER is particularly supportive of early career scientists with financial packages and organisational experience. CITER also recognises the importance of communication with the public, so supports public events and engages with primary and secondary school children through a number of different activities. The use of academic knowledge, technology, skills and innovation by industrial partners has been highly successful for improving competitiveness


and productivity in Wales and in the UK. CITER is fully supportive of such partnerships and aims to promote academic-industry networking though its activities. Here are some examples of projects carried out by CITER members.

particularly prominent with the clinically approved Herceptin (trastuzumab) antibody whose target, HER2, is usually resistant to internalisation and a represents a major driver of cell growth and division in some breast cancer types.

Driving Therapeutic Antibodies and Nanoparticles into Cancer Cells

The work, published in late 2015, resulted in further national, international and industrial collaborations, leading to recent publications describing studies on nanoparticles decorated with cancer targeting ligands. With the University of Padova in Italy, they demonstrated how pH responsive nanoparticles, decorated with folic acid, target and enter cancer cells that overexpress the folic acid receptor. Working with polymer chemists at Nottingham University, they showed how thermoresponsive polymer nanoparticles drive endocytosis in a temperature dependant manner.

A Cardiff University team at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the School of Biosciences at Cardiff University, led by Professor Arwyn T. Jones, has made significant inroads to delivering therapeutic molecules to cancer cells by targeting receptors on their cell surface. They have identified how strategic targeting and clustering of plasma membrane receptors on cancer cells leads to their internalisation by endocytosis and intracellular degradation. This was

The Arwyn Jones group has also been working with Astra Zeneca exploring the use of lipid nanoparticles as vectors for the delivery of messenger RNA as therapeutics. The work was published with a front cover image as Sayers et al in Molecular Therapy in late 2019, and Pharmacy PDRA Dr Edd Sayers won a poster prize for his work at the nanoDDS 2019 symposium at MIT Boston USA. The overall objectives are now to use this new knowledge and tools in order to more efficiently use drug delivery targeting systems such as antibodies (as Antibody Drug Conjugates) and targeted nanoparticles to cells with concomitant delivery of therapeutic small molecule drugs or biomedicines such as peptides, proteins and nucleotides. Further information on this work and publications can be found at

Human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and the formation of eye-like tissue Scientists at Cardiff University, led by Professor Andrew Quantock, are collaborating with researchers at Osaka University in Japan, headed by Professors Kohji Nishida and Ryuhei Hayashi, to investigate how human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells differentiate into cells that resemble those in different tissues of the eye, such as cornea, retina, and lens. The aim is to understand the fundamental mechanisms that drive human eye development, and to work towards iPS cellderived materials for ophthalmic surgery to treat vision loss. The research builds on collaborative work published a few years ago, which showed that a functional corneal epithelium could be fashioned from human iPS cells. This led to Professor Nishida announcing in 2019 that a

Japanese woman in her forties had become the first person in the world to have her cornea repaired using iPS cells. Since that time additional surgeries have been carried out in Osaka, confirming the success of this therapeutic approach. The Cardiff-Osaka collaboration continues apace. With BBSRC funding, Dr Jodie Harrington is working in Osaka with Professor Ryuhei Hayashi and with Drs Jim Ralphs, Justyn Regini and Rob Young in Cardiff to study lens generation from iPS cells; Fight-for-Sight PhD student, Mr Sean Ashworth, with Professor Clare Hughes is investigating how extracellular matrix drives iPS cell differentiation; and Dr Laura Howard, funded by BBSRC, works with Professor Derek Blake and Dr Matt Hill probing the genomic basis of iPS cells forming eye-like tissue.






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Articles inside

Innovation at CITER

pages 72-74

Cardiff University Biomechanics Research Facility hosts ‘first in Wales’ NHS service

page 69

New research into dialysis options and choices

page 68

First year success for Swansea University spin-out

page 70

Technology facility leads on quality management at Cardiff University and beyond

page 71

Wales to play major role in national trial for COVID-19 vaccine

pages 65-66

The response to COVID-19 from Swansea University Medical School

page 64

Roche: How a global pandemic became the ultimate test of partnership working

pages 58-60

Cryogenics company wins at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

page 57

Single Use Surgical supports Cavell Nurses’ Trust

page 54

AliveCor: Detecting atrial fibrillation to prevent strokes

page 55

Celebrating a landmark year for CellPath

page 56

Patent Seekers: Patent search database as an intelligence tool

page 53

Digital wound management with - The future of wound care comes to Wales

page 52

COVID-19 drug discovery platform in development at Moleculomics

page 51

Concentric Health: Remote consent supporting organisational recovery

page 50

Sharp expands its commercial capabilities to UK facility

page 49

SymlConnect: Digital remote patient monitoring during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

pages 47-48

Jellagen announces seed financing to develop advanced collagen products

page 46

EKF supports COVID-19 testing with novel sample collection device

page 45

COVID-19 antibody testing kit launched by Forth

pages 43-44

Hybrisan secures £500,000 to help fight

page 41

Bond Digital Health: How coronavirus demonstrated the need for connected diagnostics and accelerated our development plans

page 42

Indoor Biotech: Funding awarded to develop new COVID-19 T cell immunity test

page 40

Life Sciences Hub Wales: Bringing Welsh

pages 36-39

Accelerate: Supporting innovation in Wales

pages 34-35

Health Technology Wales repurposes skills to

pages 32-33

Developing new technology to disinfect ambulances

page 31

Delivering care closer to home with video consultations

page 30

The Welsh Health Hack goes online for COVID-19 challenge

page 29

AgorIP: bringing innovation to life across Wales

page 28

Tackling the COVID-19 crisis together: The RIIC Hubs Network

pages 26-27

Transforming health and social care services for a healthier Wales

pages 24-25

NHS staff tackling COVID-19 use virtual reality to help reduce anxiety and stress

pages 20-23

VR experiences promote NHS career opportunities

page 15

Reducing the use of unnecessary antibiotics for COPD

page 17

Generations unite for falls awareness scheme

page 16

Introducing a non-invasive prenatal test to Wales

page 14

How a UTI Triage System delivered improved patient care and cost savings at The Highlight Park Practice in Barry

pages 18-19

Transforming care for patients with incurable breast cancer

page 13

Studies across Wales trial convalescent

pages 10-11

Improving palliative care for heart failure patients

page 12
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