Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst to fund six projects to fight neurodegenerative disease


Diverse players collaborate on first step in plan to tackle disorder through open innovation

Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC), an open innovation bioscience campus in the UK, has selected six academic research projects for support under its open innovation challenge in neurodegenerative diseases.

Applicants from the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Manchester, as well as UCL and Imperial College London, will cover a range of approaches to tracking, diagnosing and treating disorders such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other dementias.

The projects were selected for their potential impact on patients and the level of innovation and opportunities for collaboration, and will focus on biomarkers for diagnosis and stratification, and the role of inflammation in neurodegeneration, the SBC said.

Recognising the need for new approaches to tackle neurodegenerative diseases, SBC worked with Manchester: Integrating Medicine and Innovative Technology (MIMIT) and the Academic Health Science Centre Technology Transfer Organisations (Cambridge Enterprise, Imperial Innovations, King’s Business, UCL Business, University of Manchester Intellectual Property, and Isis Innovation (Oxford University)) to develop the scheme, which was launched last year. It will provide small amounts of funding to kick-start research, and is supported by Astex Pharmaceuticals, Alzheimer's Research UK, Eli Lilly, GE Healthcare Life Sciences and GSK, who are also contributing their extensive expertise.

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Ray Hill, President Emeritus, British Pharmacological Society & Chair of the Open Innovation Challenge Review Panel, said: 'Everyone on the panel was impressed by the quality and breadth of the project proposals submitted for review by the academic researchers.'