A £173m consortium of Liverpool city region academics and businesses has supported 11 new products to market since launching in September 2020. Tony McDonough reports
A £173m project to accelerate life sciences innovation in Liverpool city region has supported 11 new products to market since launching in September 2020.
And iiCON: Infection Innovation Consortium says there are a further 16 products in the development pipeline. The project is designed to support the discovery, development, and deployment of new products and treatments for infectious diseases.
iiCON is led by Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, its consortium partners are Unilever, Liverpool University Hospitals Foundation Trust, University of Liverpool, Evotec, and Infex Therapeutics. It works with companies of all sizes to support new product development, offering access to world class expertise and facilities.
During its first year-and-a-half of operations, iiCON has supported several innovative products being brought to market and has worked with more than 50 industry partners including CN Bio, Unilever, Mologic, Sanofi, Pfizer, Newcells Biotech and Sentinel.
It supports companies at all stages of the innovation journey, from early-stage conceptual work, through to clinical trials, manufacturing, market positioning and product placement – helping fast-track new products and treatments to patients and communities.
Key products the consortium has supported to market include the first COVID-19 lateral flow test for asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic and symptomatic people developed by Excalibur Healthcare.
It has also supporter a rapid COVID-19 lateral flow test for diagnostics company Mologic that is now being rolled out across key areas of need in Africa as well as an affordable, environmentally-friendly disinfectant, Virusend, that inactivates coronavirus in 60 seconds for the Ministry of Defence.
Datasets generated by iiCON were also used to secure international approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covishield COVID-19 human vaccine against COVID.
As part of its work with Merseyside SMEs, iiCON is helping to bring the next generation of anti-COVID air sterilisers to market. It is working with Merseyside company DBFA to carry out expert testing on its innovative COVID UV-C air sterilisation unit, the Sentinel M320.
iiCON director, Professor Janet Hemingway, said: “Working to support industry innovation that moves the dial in terms of health outcomes for global communities is at the heart of iiCON’s purpose.
“We accelerate product development and prevent healthcare innovation from stalling due to avoidable barriers, such as lack of access to specialist testing required to secure regulatory approval.
“We are constantly focused on developing impactful partnerships that will enable companies of all sizes to benefit from the world-leading R&D support iiCON can offer at all stages of the innovation journey.”