Alan Lewis CBE, the Conservatives’ Vice Chairman for Business Relations and Honorary Professor of ESCP- Europe (European School of Management) visited The University of Manchester’s Business Incubator company (UMIC) and its Intellectual Property commercialisation company (UMIP) on Wednesday 20th April.
The purpose of the visit was to discover how universities are working with businesses to generate growth for the UK economy. Alan Lewis was particularly interested in meeting a selection of spin-out companies from the University and local entrepreneurs to gain a clearer understanding of the issues which affect them in today’s economic climate.
Professor Rod Coombs, Deputy President, and Peter Fell, Director of Regional and Economic Affairs, welcomed Alan Lewis to UMIC’s Core Technology Facility (CTF) and explained the University’s approach to business engagement and company formation. This was followed by a presentation by Clive Rowland, UMIP’s CEO, of UMIC’s and UMIP’s role in the commercialisation of University innovation and its impact and benefits to society, both directly and indirectly.
Following a tour of the CTF’s business incubator facilities, a roundtable discussion took place with 6 start-up companies associated with UMIC and UMIP. Lord Bradley, Associate Vice President, Mark Rahn, fund manager of the UMIP Premier Fund and David Maddison, UMIP’s Designer-in-Residence were also in attendance. Professor Coombs invited Alan Lewis to make some short comments to which the entrepreneurs were invited to respond.
Alan Lewis commented: “It was a pleasure to come back to the University where I first studied. The work they do here is very encouraging to me and shows that the entrepreneurial spirit is very much alive and kicking in Manchester. I believe passionately that the UK is the best country in the world to live and do business. The Conservative Party is keen to listen to business, and in my role as Vice Chairman for Business Relations I am touring the country meeting with entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes. I am grateful to Professor Coombs, Clive Rowland, Peter Fell and their colleagues at Manchester University for giving me the opportunity to hear how they are encouraging the business leaders of the future.”
Clive Rowland commented: “We are very encouraged by the interest shown by the Conservative Party in the University’s business relations and intellectual property activities and it is very rewarding to know that the University has yet again been selected as an exemplar of university technology transfer to help inform the Party’s understanding of this important dimension of the UK economy.”
Private investor network, Envestors, has joined forces with The University of Manchester Incubator Company Ltd (UMIC), The University of Manchester Intellectual Property ltd (UMIP) and Manchester Science Parks (msp) to provide investment for enterprising technology businesses in the North West.
The partnership brings together pioneering start-up enterprises with access to finance to inject much-needed capital at the development stage. This alliance will help to introduce up and coming businesses to proactive investors at targeted business presentation events, and provide additional support through an investor readiness programme.
UMIC alongside its sister company UMIP, and msp offer unique business support and facilities to nurture start-up technology businesses, which creates a unique environment for enterprise in the North West.
Envestors is currently working with Imagen Biotech, which is based in UMIC’s facilities at the Manchester Bioscience Incubator, to provide investment support. The start-up company has developed innovative analysis software that will revolutionise the drug screening process for the pharmaceutical industry. Imagen Biotech is looking to raise capital to expand the team and purchase critical equipment, which will enable the company to secure more market share.
Tom Wilkins, managing director at Envestors, said: “As the banks continue to restrict lending, entrepreneurs are increasingly looking for alternative funding avenues, which is where private equity, venture capital and private investor networks, like ourselves, can help bridge the gap.
“The biotech and technology market offers a great potential for fast-growth investment, and this is a particular focus for us. We hope the partnership will reinvigorate the sector and stimulate a dynamic environment for technology businesses to grow.”
Clive Rowland, UMIP’s CEO, said: “The entrepreneurial spirit is prevalent in the North West. Our partnership with Envestors will provide the opportunity to showcase exciting innovative companies from the region and help them reach the next stage of their development.”
Health Minister Lord Howe visited Manchester at the invitation of Manchester Academic Health Science Centre (MAHSC) – a collaboration between the University of Manchester and six NHS organisations – to see for himself the pioneering work being undertaken which is benefitting patients young and old.
He started the day by visiting the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, meeting young people in the North West’s only specialist paediatric clinical trials unit, which allows them to take part in studies of new therapies and medicines alongside their ongoing treatment.
Director, Dr Nick Webb and Chief Nurse Carol Wood explained to the minister how the safe environment of the facility can be used for patients requiring either the administration of a complex medical therapy or for prolonged visits requiring intensive investigation or observation.
Lord Howe then made the short walk to the University of Manchester’s Core Technology Facility to endorse an exciting new competition for researchers in the city to find potential solutions to address universal unmet needs within the area of healthcare associated infections, i.e. how to test for infectious agents with immediate diagnostic results; how to decontaminate a clinical environment to set standards and how to improve handwashing to reduce the spread of infections?
During lunch, Professor Ian Jacobs, MAHSC’s newly appointed Director and Dean of the University’s Facility of Medicine and Health Sciences introduced Lord Howe to three of the many projects which are already demonstrating how the organisation’s vision is delivering measurable and sustainable improvements in patient outcomes and healthcare delivery.
An innovative application to support the design and recruitment of clinical trials, which allows researchers to work more easily and closely with GP Practices at the crucial stage of determining whether a study is viable.
A national screening study for women at risk of late effects breast cancer following radiation.
The first comparative study of cardiac surgery outcomes which shows NHS patients in England and Wales have a greater chance of survival and recover more quickly than almost anywhere in Europe.
Health Minister Lord Howe said:
“I am delighted to see first-hand how the research and innovation that is taking place here is helping to improve the lives of patients in the local community.
“We are determined to make the NHS one of the leading healthcare systems in the world. Manchester Academic Health Science Centre is helping us do this by developing medical advancements that will help the NHS detect diseases earlier – a vital development as we move towards to more modern NHS.”
Professor Ian Jacobs adds: “Our region faces huge health challenges, with mortality rates for all of the big killer diseases higher than the national average and life expectancy for men who live here lower than anywhere else in the UK. Yet, it is by translating research and education into healthcare that we will truly benefit our patients – now and in the future. I enjoyed showing Lord Howe just a few of the ways MAHSC is leading the field.”
For more information on MAHSC please contact Dr Linda Magee, Chief Operating Officer on 0161 306 0639 or for media information please contact Susan Osborne, MAHSC communication lead on 0161 291 4972 or mobile 07836 229208.