University of Manchester spin-out company, Gelexir Healthcare Ltd (Gelexir), the creator of a revolutionary non-surgical procedure for the treatment of Chronic Lower Back Pain, has secured a total £353,102 investment from The University of Manchester, The North West Fund for Biomedical (NWF4B) managed by SPARK Impact, Central Manchester Foundation Trust (CMFT) and Business Angels.
The company, which was founded on the back of discoveries and developments made at the University over the past 10 years will use the financial backing from investors to continue its program of advanced clinical trials scheduled to take place towards the end of 2015.
Commenting on the receipt of the funding, Gelexir CEO Dr Philippe Jenny said:
“This funding is a great step forward as it provides the resources to transfer the discovery from the bench to the industrial world and pushes the technology through the demanding validation tests, heading towards the first patient.”
Gelexir provides an innovative and cost-effective treatment for Chronic Lower Back Pain caused by Degenerative Disc Disease. The process addresses the condition at an early stage and involves the injection of polymer microgels that restore the disc’s shock absorptive properties and replicate the bio-mechanical properties of a healthy intervertebral disc.
Dr Jenny added: “It has the potential to offer an alternative to spinal fusion techniques, which require invasive surgery and significant recovery times. This will be a great step forward in providing an improved treatment and faster recovery for patients.”
Professor Tony Freemont, Head of Manchester Medical School, and Gelexir Board Member hailed the treatment’s potential significance for back pain sufferers:
“There is a real need for a simple, safe, easily administered treatment for back pain that is refractory to simple drug and physiotherapy, but does not necessitate major spine surgery. This funding will allow Gelexir to get closer to taking its product, which at its current state of development appears to fulfil all these criteria, closer to clinical trials.”
The cash injection will provide the means for Gelexir to continue laboratory-based development and trials – with testing scheduled to commence with the help of patients in the latter half of 2015.
UMIP, the University’s agent for intellectual property (IP) commercialisation, has provided IP and business development expertise and also early-stage Proof-of-Principle funding and seed corn funding from its UMIP’s Premier Fund. Translational funding has also been provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
The North West Fund for Biomedical is a sub-fund of The North West Fund, a substantial pot of money jointly financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank.
UMI3 Ltd, the innovation company of The University of Manchester and the University’s Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, have announced that they will work collaboratively with the Isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development to attract business angel investment finance into its early stage biomedical spin-out companies.
The collaboration will involve twice yearly network events on the Island when a selection of the University’s biomedical spin-out companies and enterprising academics will present to an invited audience of high net wealth private investors. It is anticipated that one of the events annually will be a satellite to the successful Manx Biomed conference which was launched in December 2013.
Dr Rich Ferrie, Director of Operations of UMIP, UMI3’s intellectual property division, commented: “We are very excited by this initiative which looks to broaden the investment opportunities for our biomedical spin-out companies and strengthen our ties with the developing biomedical cluster on the Island. We look forward to working closely with Courtenay Heading and his colleagues to make a success of this collaboration for mutual benefit with a view to rolling it out to other sectors as appropriate.”
Courtenay Heading, Biomed, Inward Investment Consultant to the Isle of Man Government commented: “I’m delighted to be working with UMI3 and UMIP which has a proven track record with creating new spin-out companies from The University of Manchester’s world class research. As near neighbours this initiative builds on trusted relationships between our people. With existing data hosting and precision manufacture sectors we offer complementary skills to the biomed market. With an accessible Government we’re also capable of writing our own legislation, to support such an important initiative to improve patient health and create local jobs.”
Minister John Shimmin, Isle of Man Government, for the Department of Economic Development commented: “The Isle of Man has established itself as one of the most successful small international business centres in the world. We have done so by creating an environment where businesses can access the capital and the professional services expertise they need to flourish on a global scale. My Department fully supports this initiative with UMI3.”
To complement the funding initiative, the University and Biomed will be working strategically on a number of research themes. Professor Paul Townsend, Associate Dean for Business Engagement & Theme Lead for Personalised Therapy at the University’s Faculty Institute for Cancer Sciences, commented: “This is an opportune time for all of us in the region to synergise and strive forward in harnessing relationships of biomedical need, with mutual investment benefit and critically, patient benefit. The Isle of Man has a stellar track record in precision engineering; combined with our spin outs and enterprising scientists and clinicians one can only see a very bright future.”
Over 200 people from the Northwest’s biomedical sector gathered last night (Thursday 24th November) at the 11th Northwest Biomedical Awards at Mere Golf and Country Club. This prestigious awards dinner celebrates key achievements from companies and individuals who have made a significant contribution to the biomedical sector during 2011.
The awards, organised by Bionow, were a resounding success and showcased the very best of the region’s world-class biotechnology sector.
The Manchester winners were:
Conformetrix Ltd – Emerging Biomedical Technology Project of the Year.
Myconostica Ltd – Biomedical Project of the Year.
Qiagen Manchester Ltd – Company of the Year.
Shortlisted for Biomedical Product or Service of the Year was Phagenesis Ltd. Epistem was shortlisted for Emerging Biomedical Technology Project of the Year.
Shortlisted for Healthcare Project of the Year was Paul Malone, Medical and Human Sciences, and Neil Dixon from The School of Chemistry was shortlisted for Promising Biomedical Technologist of the Year.
Other winners on the night included Microvisk Technologies (Healthcare Project of the Year), Jonathan Souquet, Eden Biodesign (Promising Biomedical Technologist of the Year), Redx Pharma (Start-up of the Year) and Sky Medical Technology (Biomedical Product or Service of the Year).
UMIP, The University of Manchester’s IP commercialisation company, has appointed Emergo Group, a leading medical device consultancy, as Regulators-in-Residence. Emergo Group will provide regulatory support in relation to the development and commercialisation of University research projects related to medical devices and diagnostics.
The University of Manchester has an extensive track record in biomedical innovation and over the past 18 months, Emergo Group has been involved in providing regulatory input for a number of projects connected to UMIP, and in one case has provided a formal regulatory opinion concerning an in-vitro diagnostic test kit intended to screen women at risk of developing cervical cancer.
Emergo Group senior consultant, Richard Love, will provide regulatory input via quarterly clinics with UMIP’s biomedical staff. Input would include medical device identification and classification as well as the key Regulatory and Quality Management System (QMS) requirements in primary markets such as the EU, USA, Canada and Australia.
Richard commented, “We are delighted to be associated with UMIP and this collaboration presents an exciting opportunity for Emergo Group. We look forward to working with UMIP staff and to providing key regulatory support and guidance as these early stage device and IVD projects evolve into commercial enterprises. More than 90% of our clients are small to medium size companies so we understand their needs and challenges very well.”
Dr Rich Ferrie, Head of UMIP Biomedica, said that he was delighted that Emergo Group had agreed to accept the appointment. “We are very much looking forward to working with Richard and the Emergo Group team. Their extensive expertise will add significant value in shaping the regulatory landscape for our early-stage device and diagnostics technologies and will offer us a clearer vision of the requirements to take our technologies and products to market.”
UMIC is pleased to announce that its Managing Director, Dr Martino Picardo, has been awarded the Biomedical Personality of the Year award 2010 at the gala BIONOW awards dinner which took place on the 11th November. Unable to attend the event himself, Dr. Linda Magee (COO, MAHSC) accepted the award on his behalf and there followed a video message by Martino acknowledging receipt. Martino commented: “This is a great award to win and is a testament to all the hard work and success of the Bioincubation activities in Manchester over the years. It also recognises the tremendous support that has been provided by The University of Manchester throughout this time and all the hard work and support provided by the UMIC staff for which I am extremely grateful. Likewise, I have always appreciated and tried to recognise both the funding and support provided by BIONOW to our Incubation activities in Manchester. Finally, it is recognition of the success achieved by our tenants over the past years which has been most pleasing. I am very grateful to all those colleagues and friends that have passed on their best wishes to me personally since the event on Thursday night. This is a real watershed moment for me.” Anyone requiring further information should contact: email@example.com