£6.5m funding boost for nanoscale technologies

Seven groups to develop innovative technologies to meet worldwide healthcare challenges

Funding totalling more than £6.5m has been awarded to seven business-led projects that will focus on developing innovative therapeutic agents and diagnostics using nanoscale technologies.

The cash will be provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Technology Strategy Board and the projects will be led by Critical Pharmaceuticals, Johnson Matthey, Mologic, Nanomerics, OJ-Bio, Renishaw Diagnostics, and Sharp Laboratories of Europe.

The aim of the investment is to help ensure the UK can become an early competitive adopter of these novel technologies and rapidly meet the challenges posed within the worldwide healthcare sector, by translating early-stage ideas from academia and commercialising them through building supply chains with innovative businesses.

Nanoscale technologies will address challenges in building the supply chain across enabling nanoscale technologies and the healthcare sector, and take ideas from basic proof-of-concept or process to pilot technology demonstration

This investment is part of a two-stage initiative under the Nanoscience through Engineering to Application Grand Challenge for Healthcare initiative. The university partners on two of the funded projects had initially received three years of funding from EPSRC and these projects will follow on to scale-up the technologies developed in the first stage.

EPSRC chief executive, David Delpy, explained: “This is the second example of pulling nanoscience research originally funded by the research councils through to application by co-funding with the Technology Strategy Board. This approach actively supports economic growth while contributing to advances in healthcare technologies."

This approach actively supports economic growth while contributing to advances in healthcare technologies

Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board, added: “Nanoscale technologies are at the heart of the innovations that will be developed through these seven interesting and exciting projects. They will address challenges in building the supply chain across enabling nanoscale technologies and the healthcare sector, and take ideas from basic proof-of-concept or process to pilot technology demonstration.”

The projects will help to develop links between the healthcare community and the emerging nanoscale technologies community, in order to rapidly develop and commercialise early-stage nanoscale technologies. Key challenge areas include the earlier and better detection and diagnosis of disease, leading to marked improvements in patient outcomes, and effective treatments that are tailored to patients’ needs, and which either modify the underlying disease or offer potential cures.

Companies