News story: Improved drug safety and stroke detection: firms get £15 million


UK businesses will use funding to take on some of the biggest healthcare and agriculture challenges.

New approaches and treatments for Parkinson’s disease, stroke and epilepsy and a device to improve detection of plant disease are some of the projects that will share £15 million from Innovate UK.

Among the ideas are:

  • sensor-enabled emotion monitoring eyewear, which will help to identify a subset of patients that might merit further investigation for Parkinson’s disease, enable remote monitoring and personalise treatment. The disease affects 30 million people worldwide, with 10,000 new cases diagnosed every year in the UK. The project team is Emteq and University of Portsmouth
  • an in-field, early detection device for plant disease in soil and water that alerts farmers to the risk of infection before disease can spread and destroy an entire field. It should increase crop yields, while also allowing for evidence-based spraying to reduce the amount of pesticides in the food chain. FungiAlert is the lead
  • ‘liver on a chip’, which is an in-vitro testing platform that will reliably replicate the liver response to toxins in genomically-diverse stem cells. It should mean ‘fast failing’ for drug candidates that are likely to harm the liver, improve drug safety and increase the launch rate of new drugs by 25%. Stemnovate and ANB Sensors are the project team
  • a portable, low-cost system that detects the occurrence and evolution of stroke, using harmless, low-power microwaves to quickly obtain images for clinical analysis. Every year, 5 million people die and another 5 million are permanently disabled due to stroke incidents. The project team is Medical Wireless Sensing and King’s College London
  • a precision medicine tool, using advanced algorithms to interrogate the electrical activity of the brain and reveal susceptibility to epilepsy – a serious neurological condition that affects almost 1% of the population. It is responsible for some 1,000 deaths annually in the UK. Neuronostics and the University of Exeter are the project team

The funding comes from Innovate UK’s health and life sciences round 2.

We live in an age where the global population is growing and getting older. There is a burden of disease that requires new, better treatments and improved healthcare, as well as a demand for good quality food to help everyone live a healthy life.

The competition is designed to increase food production, quality and sustainability, and improve healthcare outcomes by developing new and novel process, products and services.

The latest round of health and life sciences with funding of up to £15 million is now open.

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