Collaboration secures approximately £20,000 to enhance expert support to diagnostic test developers

Published on 04/08/2022
Collaboration secures approximately £20,000 to enhance expert support to diagnostic test developers A collaboration between the North East Innovation Lab and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Newcastle In Vitro Diagnostics Co-operative has secured joint funding of around £20,000.
The integrated work that this funding supports enables the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Newcastle In Vitro Diagnostics Co-operative (NIHR Newcastle MIC) and the North East Innovation Laboratory (NEIL) to work jointly with innovators to accelerate the development of their diagnostics for tackling a wide range of health conditions in the region, nationally and internationally.
The NIHR Newcastle MIC, a partnership between Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, played an integral role in the establishment of NEIL during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It supported the lab team, with a MIC-trained methodologist joining the Innovation Lab team to integrate all aspects of diagnostic evaluation into projects, and support with test development, data analysis and implementation.
The innovation lab’s services include independent evaluations for new and emerging diagnostics; methodology and protocol development; and bespoke sample collection.  The lab has a biobank which holds around 20,000 carefully curated samples, including blood, serum and saliva, with associated detailed metadata.
This compliments the NIHR Newcastle MIC’s services, which support diagnostic developers at the beginning of the development cycle to identify unmet needs for diagnostic tests and how they might be used. The NIHR Newcastle MIC also offers help with the design and analysis of clinical performance studies once devices have been tested and evaluated in the lab.
The innovation lab has worked on more than 30 projects which have supported over 20 diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2. The lab’s work has expanded to include other health threats such as ‘flu, sepsis, hepatitis, and cancer.
Recently the NIHR Newcastle MIC successfully applied with the NEIL for NIHR/Newcastle Hospitals Research Capability Funding to strengthen the relationship even further as we move beyond the pandemic.
The funding will improve the teams’ position for successful joint funding applications going forwards enabling the partnership to continue to support the industry sector and maintain capacity in the region to facilitate in vitro diagnostic evaluation.
Outputs of this funding will include:
Documented processes and procedures for an integrated infrastructure offering to diagnostics developers
Jointly created training courses and materials for diagnostics developers
Promotion of the new shared offer
Extending capacity to secure further grant funding and support the development and use of new improved diagnostics 
Prior to this funding, the NIHR Newcastle MIC and the innovation lab collaborated with Paragraf, a UK based company, to secure over £500,000 from Innovate UK. The funding will be used to develop their rapid test for identifying bacterial and viral infections.
Dr John Tyson from NEIL said: “We are delighted to secure this joint funding in partnership with NIHR Newcastle MIC which will really strengthen our unique collaborative offer. Our well-established integrated services are supporting industry with the development of new and improved diagnostics to enable the detection of a range of viruses and health conditions, improving patient care and potentially saving lives.”
Dr William Stephen Jones from the NIHR Newcastle MIC said: “This award with the innovation lab allows us to continue and expand our joint offering of support to diagnostic test developers through the entire evidence generation process, from bench to bedside. This is a unique offering in the UK diagnostics landscape, which will help to bring new diagnostic tests to the market at pace, for the benefit of patients, the NHS, and developers.” 
To find out more about the NEIL please watch this video.

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