IN BUSI­NESS Tech start ups win busi­ness R&D sup­port

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - In Business - BY OLIVER CLAY oliver.clay@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @oliv­er­clayRWWN

TWO pi­o­neer­ing North West star­tups are on the way to bring­ing their prod­ucts to mar­ket more quickly af­ter each win­ning a six­month re­search and de­vel­op­ment busi­ness sup­port pack­age at Dares­bury Lab­o­ra­tory.

NGPod Global and Dares­bury Pro­teins will now have a half year of free ac­cess to a self-con­tained lab­o­ra­tory at the Sci­ence And Tech­nol­ogy Fa­cil­i­ties Coun­cil’s (STFC) Dares­bury Lab­o­ra­tory, at Sci-Tech Dares­bury on the out­skirts of Run­corn.

The pack­age in­cludes spe­cial­ist tech­nol­ogy and de­sign sup­port, one-toone busi­ness plan­ning ad­vice and in­vest­ment readi­ness train­ing.

NGPod Global is de­vel­op­ing a de­vice for use by clin­i­cians to change how patients re­quir­ing na­so­gas­tric feed­ing tubes are treated.

Al­though a com­mon pro­ce­dure, nasal feed­ing tubes can have se­ri­ous con­se­quences with in­cor­rect po­si­tion­ing.

An STFC spokeswoman said 2,397 in­ci­dents in the ● UK re­lat­ing to in­cor­rect tube place­ment be­tween 2005 and 2008 re­sult­ing in six deaths.

NGPod’s small hand­held de­vice uses a fi­bre op­tic sen­sor which can de­tect the pres­ence or ab­sence of stom­ach acid to con­firm when the tube is cor­rectly in place.

Dares­bury Pro­teins has de­vel­oped a tech­nique for de­vel­op­ing hu­man pro­teins from mam­mal cell cul­tures for the bio­ther­a­peu­tics and drug de­vel­op­ment in­dus­tries.

STFC’s spokeswoman said mam­malian cell cul­tures are crit­i­cal to the de­vel­op­ment of next gen­er­a­tion of biotech drugs and vac­cines, which are more ef­fec­tive and cause fewer side ef­fects. The com­pany plans to bring to mar­ket its ex­per­tise, tech­nol­ogy and port­fo­lio of pro­teins, many of which are not yet com­mer­cially avail­able, for use in aca­demic re­search and drug de­vel­op­ment.

At the mo­ment, the com­pany’s fo­cus is on the syn­the­sis of a par­tic­u­lar pro­tein which could be the key to a treat­ment for some preva­lent de­gen­er­a­tive dis­eases.

STFC said this will be the first time that this pro­tein has been suc­cess­fully pro­duced to scale for the com­mer­cial mar­ket.

De­lyth Lloyd, STFC busi­ness de­vel­op­ment man­ager, said: “For small com­pa­nies, turn­ing an in­no­va­tive idea into a vi­able com­mer­cial re­al­ity that can com­pete suc­cess­fully with ma­jor in­dus­trial play­ers is a real chal­lenge.

“Com­pa­nies can ben­e­fit mas­sively from ac­cess to the unique busi­ness sup­port and in­cu­ba­tion fa­cil­i­ties we have here at Dares- bury Lab­o­ra­tory, and we are look­ing for­ward to sup­port­ing our winners all the way to en­sure they get the most of their time here with us.”

Dr Jen­net Beesley, Dares­bury Pro­teins di­rec­tor, said: “Set­ting up a biotech­nol­ogy busi­ness is ex­tremely chal­leng­ing and the ex­pense of lab­o­ra­tory fa­cil­i­ties and equip­ment can be in­hibitive.

“Win­ning this com­peti- tion al­le­vi­ates this bur­den enor­mously and is a great start for a young busi­ness like Dares­bury Pro­teins.

“This, in com­bi­na­tion with the on-site busi­ness sup­port, will be ex­tremely valu­able as we seek to shorten our pre-rev­enue phase and re­fine our busi­ness model, putting us in a good po­si­tion for fur­ther in­vest­ment.”

Adam Part­ing­ton, NGPod Global op­er­a­tions man­ager, said: “Win­ning this com­pe­ti­tion gives us ac­cess to a wealth of spe­cial­ist skills, equip­ment and ad­vice that will be fun­da­men­tal to fur­ther­ing the de­vel­op­ment of our prod­uct, as we seek to grow our busi­ness into a global brand.

“We’re par­tic­u­larly keen to take ad­van­tage of the ad­di­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing and CAD de­sign ser­vices avail­able here on site.

“Be­ing lo­cated within Sci-Tech Dares­bury also brings with it in­valu­able op­por­tu­ni­ties to net­work and col­lab­o­rate with other com­pa­nies and in­sti­tu­tions with a shared pas­sion for pa­tient safety and in­no­va­tion in health­care tech­nolo­gies.”

Dr Jen­net Beesley, di­rec­tor at Dares­bury Pro­teins

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