Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC), the UK’s first open innovation bioscience campus, and Manchester: Integrating Medicine and Innovative Technology (MIMIT) have joined forces with the Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) Technology Transfer Organisations across England to launch an exciting new funding call - an open innovation challenge in neurodegenerative disease1. The challenge has been developed to address unmet healthcare needs in this high priority area.

SBC and MIMIT will use an open innovation approach, encouraging collaboration to address some of the many challenges in relation to neurodegenerative disorders. The two main research themes selected include biomarkers used for diagnosis and stratification; and the role of inflammation in neurodegenerative disorders.

Previous successful initiatives arising from the AHSC collaborations with MIMIT were funded jointly between the Technology Transfer Organisations and the National Innovation Centre. They have included an initial project on Hospital-Acquired Infection and a second project on unmet healthcare needs in relation to enhancing functional independence, supported by Arthritis Research UK. This approach has engaged patients and carers in the process of defining unmet healthcare needs.

AHSC Technology Transfer Organisations involved in this call are Cambridge Enterprise, Imperial Innovations Ltd, King’s Business, UCL Business PLC, University of Manchester Intellectual Property Ltd, and will now be joined by Oxford University, the most recent AHSC member.

A key aim of SBC is to pioneer a culture of open innovation that will place the UK bioscience sector at the forefront of worldwide biomedical discovery and deliver cutting edge healthcare solutions. Supported by Government, business, and the charitable sector, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst offers a fertile environment for scientific innovation and commercial success, and aims to be a catalyst for converting innovative ideas into commercial reality.

Allan Baxter, Chairman of SBC said: “We are delighted to be a part of this exciting network, a real example of open innovation with a focus on neurodegenerative disease, an area of such enormous unmet clinical need; we are looking forward to progressing this specific project with the Academic Health Science Centres and MIMIT and to obtaining tangible outcomes that we can help translate into commercial reality and patient benefit, with the help of SBC's extensive community of experts.”