An exclusive licence deal has been transacted by The University of Manchester’s technology transfer company (UMI3 Ltd) with Arriani Pharmaceuticals for a research tool which boosts the understanding of senescent cells role in diverse age-related diseases including cancer.
Professors Vassilis Gorgoulis and Paul Townsend are behind the universally applicable method, called SenTraGorΤΜ, which enables better detection of senescence (the aging of cells).
Professor Townsend described the licence as “ground-breaking” and said: “Cellular senescence is causally linked to ageing and has been implicated in a variety of age-related diseases such as cancer.
“But up to now, detecting senescence was problematic and infeasible in most widespread biological material.
The agreement will see Arriani provide SenTraGorΤΜ to research institutions, diagnostic labs, clinics and companies looking for new therapies and offering wider well-being services to the public. Harry Lambridis, President and Founder of Arriani comments: “We are proud to offer to the international scientific community the valuable outcome of the research conducted by Professors Vassilis Gorgoulis and Paul Townsend that will revolutionalise the detection of senescent cells. We strongly believe that SenTraGorΤΜ will greatly contribute in the understanding of age-related biological processes and to this end we will work closely with the Professors to enlarge the applications of SenTraGorΤΜ, even beyond this field.”
The University of Manchester’s Professor Paul Townsend and Honorary Professor Vassilis Gorgoulis are world experts in cancer biology.
Professor Townsend said the agreement will bring considerable benefits to research and clinical practice and even beyond that around the world.
“Our method provides unheard-of advantages over any other available senescence detection products,” he said.
“It’s widely applicable, straight forward and specific. It will also help researchers make new breakthroughs into the causes of diseases, including cancer, as there will be a more effective understanding of phenomenon of cellular senescence. Moreover, its application can be expanded even to the cosmetics and food industries.”
Professor Gorgoulis added: “SenTraGorΤΜ revolutionizes the field of cellular aging and opens the door to a better understanding and treatment of various disorders. Many cancer types, degenerative diseases, even infertility, are thought to be senescence-related and our method introduces a powerful weapon in the medical armory against these conditions.”
Dr Rich Ferrie, Director of Operations at UMIP, commented: “We are delighted to have secured this licence deal with our new partners, Arriani. The strong commercial team at Arriani will ensure that this exciting product is quickly rolled out internationally and we are confident that the relationship we have established together will be both successful and enduring.”
Networking in the Street
An event to showcase some of the start-ups being supported through UMIP’s (The University of Manchester’s technology transfer office) Innovation Optimiser has been held for the first time in UMIC’s Conference and Events space in the Core Technology facility on Grafton Street.
UMIP’s Enterprise team held the inaugural Showcase to highlight some of the fantastic businesses and innovations being developed by staff, academics and research students at The University of Manchester.
More than 75 entrepreneurs, colleagues from The University of Manchester and wider support partners gathered to learn how enterprises have benefitted from the support provided by the Innovation Optimiser and network over a celebratory Afternoon Tea.
Ten start-ups have successfully graduated through the programme this year – including ViewItUK Ltd, Urban Chain Ltd, Galivantes Ltd, Manchester Star Tuition Ltd, Fold-Out Publishing Ltd, EnviroSAR Ltd, Citizens Juries CIC, Cable Coatings Ltd, Affigo CIC and Artemis Analytical Ltd.
Director of Innovation Optimiser Tony Walker said: “Ten start-up businesses have passed through the Innovation Optimiser programme in 2017, which shows what a success it has already become.
“What’s fantastic is that so many people from many different backgrounds joined together at our inaugural Showcase event.”
Tom McNamara of FreeUp Ltd
He added: “We heard from a great range of entrepreneurs with different business concepts, all of whom are at different stages of their start-up journey, including; Tom McNamara of FreeUp Ltd, Dr Duncan Thomas, who runs Green Island Friends, Meera Dulabh from Neurolytics Ltd, James Adams of Cancer Awareness in Teenagers and Young People Society (CATS), Dr Gail Millin-Chalabi of EnviroSAR Ltd, and Professor Michael Donmall of ViewItUK Ltd. Some are still in the Ignition phase of exploring their ideas, whereas others have progressed through to our Momentum programme and have set up their business.”
“Our entrepreneurs gave both an insight into their companies and how our wide range of support has helped them progress, including some of the challenges they’ve faced. We’re always looking for new ways to support our businesses and introduce them to potential partners.”
The Innovation Optimiser, which provides support for aspiring entrepreneurs wishing to develop start-up businesses, social ventures and research student enterprises, through educational resources and agile mentoring, was developed by UMIP in 2014 to complement its renowned Intellectual Property (IP) commercialisation activity. It provides a vibrant and supportive environment for individuals or teams with an idea, innovation or venture in which they are empowered to develop and build their business.
Professor Luke Georghiou and UMIP’s Dr Laura Etchells
Along with Tony Walker, Professor Luke Georghiou, Vice President of Research & Innovation at The University of Manchester, also spoke at the Showcase, emphasising the importance of supporting staff, academics and research students who may have an idea for a commercial start-up or social enterprise.
Professor Georghiou commented: “There was a buzz inside and outside the room and I greatly enjoyed hearing about the entrepreneurial experiences. It seems they are being well-prepared but as ever there is a need for many of them to connect with the right kind of finance if their businesses are to grow.”
Professor Vikas Shah, TiE UK North
Professor Vikas Shah, a well-known Manchester entrepreneur, President of TiE UK North, Honorary Professor at the Alliance Manchester Business School and partner to UMIP’s Innovation Optimiser, also spoke at the event, highlighting the support that TiE brings to UMIP’s budding entrepreneurs.
Ellie Buckley, UMIP Enterprise Development Executive and event organiser commented: “We’ve received phenomenal feedback from everyone who attended the Showcase. It really gave our entrepreneurs a prime opportunity to celebrate what they’ve achieved and make some great connections. We’re very excited about making the event bigger and better next year.”
To find out more, contact one of the Innovation Optimiser team:
Ellie Buckley, Enterprise Development Executive email@example.com or 0161 606 7265
Laura Etchells, Enterprise Development Manager firstname.lastname@example.org or 0161 606 7264
Tony Walker, Director of Innovation Optimiser, email@example.com or 0161 603 7780
The second lecture in the nanomedicine lecture series, to be held on Thursday, 9 November 2017 in the Core Technology Facility Dalton Room, will focus on nanotechnology in neurology and neurosciences, exploring the bridge between technology and neuroscience.
The following pre-eminent global leaders in biomedical science will be keynote speakers at this event:
- Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester
- Professor Ed Boyden, Associate Professor, Media Lab and McGovern Institute, Departments of Biological Engineering and Brain and Cognitive Sciences Co-Director, MIT Centre for Neurobiological Engineering
- Professor John Hardy, University College London
Please register via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/nanomednetwork-lecture-series-2-nanotechnology-in-neurologyneurosciences-tickets-34568005836
Please contact Sarah Barton (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the FBMH Strategic Funding Team with any queries.
About the NanoMed Network:
The University of Manchester NanoMed Network is a cross-faculty interdisciplinary network that aims to facilitate the exploitation of novel nanomaterials and nanotechnologies, such as graphene and other 2D materials, in order to provide solutions for unmet clinical challenges.
NanoMed Network website.
From l to r: Mr Tony Walker, Dr Yousef Taktak, Dr Michael Donmall, Dr Andrew Jones
ViewItUK, a health data specialist, is aiming to double its headcount.
The company, which launched as a University of Manchester staff start-up three years ago, helps companies and organisations use and understand their data better, and communicate to a broad audience.
ViewItUK, which has contracts with GambleAware and The British Society for Cutaneous Allergy, provides online data portals and straightforward analysis and presentation tools that enable health professionals and commissioners to assess and monitor treatment engagement and effectiveness – essential for patient wellbeing.
Professor Michael Donmall founded ViewItUK, while Dr Andrew Jones, also of The University of Manchester and Dr Yousef Taktak are directors.
The company is expecting to double its turnover by December and employ five people by the end of 2018.
Prof Donmall said: “ViewItUK was borne out of The University of Manchester’s Division of Population Health which has multi-million pound contracts in the healthcare sector.
“At ViewitUK we have the technical ability to adapt our development to our customer needs due to the team’s experience and the flexibility of our approach to problem solving.
“As it stands we are looking to attract significant investment so we can expand and grow as we look to secure more contracts in not just the health sector, but in other areas too as we have software that can be rolled out. We are soon looking to move to a new office, on Manchester Science Park, which will give us a base to expand from.”
Prof Donmall also paid tribute to the University’s technology transfer office, UMIP and its Innovation Optimiser initiative which encourages entrepreneurship on Campus by providing a vibrant and supportive environment for academics to develop and build their businesses.
“We’ve been helped a lot by UMIP in regard to Intellectual Property,” he added. “And we wouldn’t be in the fortunate position we are without the help of Tony Walker and his team.”
Tony Walker added: “It’s been a wonderful time supporting the ViewItUk team from the original discussion around moving it out of the university and into a business.
“With their new contracts and the team’s technical prowess it has all the ingredients for success. This is also a great exemplar of what our Innovation Optimiser does, empowering innovators.
“We’re all delighted with the development of ViewItUK. The proof will be when we get more customers and expand and grow as a business.”