The Institute of Cancer Research, London, is taking part in a major new initiative to drive forward world-class university commercialisation across the country, and encourage collaboration between higher education institutions.
The MedTech SuperConnector programme links up academic institutions, their technology transfer offices, science business incubators, industry, NHS patients, and other enabling partners – and aims to spur growth in the UK medtech sector.
The programme is funded by Research England, a government council which funds research and knowledge exchange in the English university sector. It provides early career researchers with funding, industry access and entrepreneurial skills to help translate their research into clinical practice.
It also aims to create an evidence base for best practice in knowledge exchange – how research institutions bring together researchers, companies, the public and patients.
The first award for ICR research through the MedTech SuperConnector has been won by Elisa Fontana, a clinical PhD student under the supervision of Dr Anguraj Sadanandam, to help support the development of a new clinical test for bowel cancer.
The ICR's Enterprise Unit has an unrivalled track record at discovering new cancer drugs and medical technologies. This has helped ensure that our research delivers maximum benefit for cancer patients.
Find out more
A new test for colorectal cancer
Elisa works in Dr Anguraj Sadanandam's Systems and Precision Cancer Medicine Team in our Division of Molecular Pathology.
Based on the team's work to classify colorectal cancer into four further subtypes using genetic information, the team has developed a low-cost test to help stratify patients according to their cancer subtype and enable personalised decisions to be made about their treatment – to improve treatment response and outcome.
Validation of the test has already begun in patient samples of colorectal cancer from The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and international collaborators.
Elisa and Dr Sadanandam will now receive up to £200,000 from the MedTech SuperConnector programme to support further validation of the test to help accelerate its path to the clinic and support its commercialisation, as well as new personnel and consumables to cover the eight-month duration of Elisa's training.
As part of the programme, Elisa will receive training in entrepreneurship, including access to incubator/accelerator facilities and business mentoring with close support from the ICR's Enterprise Unit.
New commercialisation opportunities
The ICR's membership of and input to the MedTech SuperConnector programme is led by our Enterprise Unit, which is responsible for our interactions with industry and identifies new commercialisation opportunities for researchers.
The programme is a collaboration between project leaders Imperial College London, and the ICR, Buckinghamshire New University, The Francis Crick Institute, Queen Mary University of London, the Royal College of Art, the Royal College of Music and the Royal Veterinary College.
Dr Anguraj Sadanandam said: “I'm delighted that Elisa will be representing the ICR as part of the MedTech SuperConnector programme. Elisa will be developing our novel clinical biomarker assay for a potential commercial setting, and this will bring multiple benefits in industry exposure and know-how across our team.”