IN BUSINESS Tech start ups win business R&D support
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