Fighting Infection Through Detection

Fighting Infection Through Detection

10 Sep 2010

Companies from across the UK are to receive government help to develop diagnostic devices that will assist in reducing the impact of infectious agents such as hospital acquired infections and sexually transmitted diseases.

The government-backed Technology Strategy Board, supported by the Department of Health and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), is to invest over £12 million in thirty-six research and development projects that will advance diagnostic capabilities for the detection of infectious agents in humans and animals, and in pilot schemes that will test new point of care devices. Twenty-seven of the projects and studies will be lead by small and medium-sized companies - SMEs.

Iain Gray, the Technology Strategy Board's Chief Executive, said:

"The purpose of these investments is to support the development and uptake of diagnostic devices that are both clinically useful and commercially viable.  Infectious agents are a constant threat to the health and wealth of the nation and we were delighted that so many British companies, including SMEs, were keen to respond to the challenges we face."

Eight major research and development projects, led by companies such as Randox Laboratories (Northern Ireland), Base4Innovation (Cambridge) and Cascade Technologies (Falkirk) will share £9.4 million of government support.  Working with partners such as the University of Hull, the University of Cambridge Veterinary School, Addenbrookes Hospital and Cranfield University, they will develop rapid and 'point of care' tests, for use in a clinical setting, for diagnosing sexually transmitted infections and hospital-acquired infections such as MRSA and C-difficile.  The projects will last up to four years. 

In addition twenty-eight feasibility studies and fast-track projects, to be carried out by companies of all sizes from across the UK, will share a further £2.9 million of support.  These studies will help to advance diagnostic capabilities for the detection of infectious agents in humans and animals by, for example, modifying or improving existing systems or exploring the ability of novel technologies to deliver components of a diagnostic system. Twenty-two of the studies will look into human diagnostics while six will research animal diagnostics.  

This is the first investment in this area by the Technology Strategy Board-managed Detection and Identification of Infectious Agents (DIIA) Innovation Platform, which is to invest up to £50 million in research and development activities over five years.  The Department of Health is to contribute £5 million over the five years and is contributing £1 million towards these projects, while the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council is providing £1.5 million to support some of the academic institutions taking part in the larger research and development projects.  Defra is also closely involved, and is responsible for prioritising DIIA's work in relation to infectious agents for detection in animals.

The full press relaease, including notes to editors, is available here.

Competition details are available here.



Last updated on Monday 11 October 2010 at 17:00

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