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King's Health Accelerator 2018 Call Open

Posted on 09/02/18

The King's Health Accelerator (KHA) call opens for its sixth year, aimed at providing financial and commercialisation support for translational life science research projects to help deliver improved patient benefit and accelerated impact. Winners can be awarded up to ca £150,000 per project per annum, selected through a peer-review process.   

The streamlined process allows researchers to register their interest via a short online application, split into two stages. If interested staff working in any of KCL’s Health Faculties or King’s Health Partners (KHP) NHS member trusts have not received an e-mail invitation to this application by 20 February 2017, they can contact commercialisation@kcl.ac.uk to get a link.

Applicants will have their projects assessed for commercial appeal via peer review, and for the best ranked projects the researcher will be invited to work with King’s Commercialisation Institute (KCI) and an external specialist consultant to create a Commercial Development Plan (CDP) tailored to their project. These CDP’s will then be reviewed by a committee consisting of both internal and external individuals with significant experience in life Science and medical technology investment and commercial translation. Awards will be made on the output of these reviews.

What will winners get?

  • Up to ca £150,000 annual commercial translation research funding and support per project;
  • A project team to bring together the research team, a commercial portfolio manager from KCI and an IP manager from your employer organisation; and
  • Specialist industrial development and regulatory knowledge and experience from KCI and partners to support the project

Click here for more information and to access the guidelines.

KCI funded project develops new blood test to diagnose heart attacks more quickly

Posted on 10/04/17

heart-attack-bloodtestA team from King’s College London have developed a new blood test that is more sensitive in detecting damaged heart muscle caused by a heart attack.

In a paper published in the journal Clinical Chemistry, the team investigated how many heart muscle cells needed to die before they could be detected in the blood stream.

Read the full story

Scientists from King’s College London have developed a new blood test that is more sensitive in detecting damaged heart muscle caused by a heart attack.

In a paper published today in the journal Clinical Chemistry, the team investigated how many heart muscle cells needed to die before they could be detected in the blood stream.

Currently, patients with chest pain are responsible for 2.2 million admissions to Emergency Departments every year. Of those suspected of having suffered a heart attack, only a small proportion are shown as having diagnostic changes on a heart trace or ECG. This means that their assessment is reliant on the use of blood tests measuring biomarkers such as cardiac Troponin (cTn) to exclude a heart attack.

Troponin is a heart muscle protein released upon injury and can be detected after heart attacks or heart muscle inflammation. As a result, doctors are able to rule-out heart attacks with a single blood test, as patients with undetectable levels of cardiac Troponin are classified as low risk and are immediately discharged.

However, in a further study of over 4,000 patients at St Thomas’ Hospital, scientists at King’s (part-funded by the British Heart Foundation) found that 47% fell into the intermediate risk group, requiring an extended period of observation and further blood tests. Indeed, this is not without risk - patients in this group are frequently treated with blood-thinning medication that increases the risk of spontaneous bleeding. The team found that patients are frequently admitted overnight which poses a medical, psychological and social burden and becomes a stressful, often unnecessary experience for the patient.

Using donated human heart muscle tissue, the team found that between 3-9 milligram / 0.001% of the entire human heart had to undergo cell death to be detectable in the blood stream. However, their new blood test showed that cardiac myosin-binding protein C was found to be even more sensitive, detecting 0.07 mg / 0.00002% of damaged heart muscle.

'This has the potential to transform the way we diagnose heart attacks in the 21st century,' said author Dr Tom Kaier, Specialist Registrar in Cardiology at King's College London and BHF-funded Clinical Research Fellow.

'We know there has not been a reduction in the number of overnight admissions of patients, despite using the best blood tests currently available. We are at looking at improving the experience of patients by developing new and more sensitive blood tests that could help doctors assess the amount of damage quickly and avoid patients being admitted overnight, unless truly necessary.'

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: 'This new test could transform the way we diagnose heart attacks, improving the sensitivity and ensuring that heart attacks are not missed when troponin levels in the blood are extremely low. We now need more research to find out whether this test is effective and affordable.

'Over a million people attend A and E with chest pain every year in the UK. The main challenge for doctors is identifying who is having a heart attack, so that people can be treated quickly and effectively. It’s also important that we can quickly and confidently rule out a heart attack in people with chest pain from other causes. If found to be effective, this new approach could ensure thousands of patients get life-saving treatment more quickly, while reducing the burden on the NHS.'

For further media information please contact the Public Relations Department on 0207 848 3202 or pr@kcl.ac.uk

The full paper, Quantifying the Release of Biomarkers of Myocardial Necrosis from Cardiac Myocytes and Intact Myocardium, can be read at http://clinchem.aaccjnls.org/content/early/2017/03/10/clinchem.2016.264648

Click here to see original article.

King's Health Accelerator 2017 Call Open

Posted on 27/02/17

The King's Health Accelerator (KHA) call opens for its fifth year, aimed at providing financial and commercialisation support for translational life science research projects to help deliver improved patient benefit and accelerated impact. Winners can be awarded up to ca £150,000 per project per annum, selected through a peer-review process.   

The streamlined process allows researchers to register their interest via a short online application, split into two stages. If interested staff working in any of KCL’s Health Faculties or King’s Health Partners (KHP) NHS member trusts have not received an e-mail invitation to this application by 27th February 2017, they can contact commercialisation@kcl.ac.uk to get a link.

Applicants will have their projects assessed for commercial appeal via peer review, and for the best ranked projects the researcher will be invited to work with King’s Commercialisation Institute (KCI) and an external specialist consultant to create a Commercial Development Plan (CDP) tailored to their project. These CDP’s will then be reviewed by a committee consisting of both internal and external individuals with significant experience in life Science and medical technology investment and commercial translation. Awards will be made on the output of these reviews.

What will winners get?

  • Up to ca £150,000 annual commercial translation research funding and support per project;
  • A project team to bring together the research team, a commercial portfolio manager from KCI and an IP manager from your employer organisation; and
  • Specialist industrial development and regulatory knowledge and experience from KCI and partners to support the project

Click here for more information and to access the guidelines.

King's signs agreement with Pfizer in field of gene therapy

Posted on 19/01/2016

 King’s College London has announced that it has recently entered into an exclusive license agreement with Pfizer Inc. for the development of a series of adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy vectors.

There is growing commercial interest and activity within the field of gene therapy in recent years with numerous licensing deals and funding rounds reported. Of the various technical approaches to deliver a therapeutic gene, the use of viral vectors is by far the most common approach in commercial development and of the different viral vectors available, the most commonly used vector is AAV.

This programme emerges from technology developed by Professor Michael Linden and Dr. Els Henckaerts from the Department of Infectious Diseases. Sponsored by internal funding from the King’s Commercialisation Institute, they have developed an AAV vector platform, based on the discovery that a series of targeted capsid mutations in AAV vectors yields a new generation of vectors with superior transduction abilities in the brain. The agreement gives Pfizer the exclusive right to use this platform.

Under the terms of this agreement, King’s College London will receive an upfront payment, and will be eligible for additional clinical development and commercialization milestone payments.

In addition, as part of the Pfizer Rare Disease Consortium (RDC), Pfizer will fund research with Dr. Els Henckaerts for further development of the AAV vector platform and its application in gene therapy and a new line of research in Dr. Henckaerts’ laboratory that is designed to apply insights into the basic understanding of the virus to help overcome the challenges of production for clinical use.

Dr Els Henckaerts from the Division of Immunology, Infection & Inflammatory Disease at King’s College London, said: “This is a very exciting moment, emerging from several years of basic science discovery and translational research in my laboratory. The collaboration with Pfizer provides a very strong platform for us to work toward progressing this potential new therapy into full clinical development for the benefit of patients with rare diseases.”

Pioneering Head and Neck Cancer Treatment Commences Clinical Trial  

Posted on 14/01/2016

A pioneering treatment arising from King’s College London research which aims to harness the power of the immune system to combat Head and Neck Cancer has commenced a Phase I clinical trial. 

The treatment is from the research of Dr John Maher’s lab at King’s College London with the clinical trial fully funded by the Wellcome Trust, Jon Moulton Foundation and the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre based at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and the University. 

The treatment targets the ErbB family of dimers (the same targets used by blockbuster drugs such as Erbitux, Tarceva, Herceptin), but unlike those existing therapies it recognises 8 of the 9 active ErbB dimers, materially reducing the chances of resistance to the treatment.  The treatment, a CAR-T, aims to address the urgent need for better treatment options in head and neck cancer but may also be applicable to other malignancies as well including both rare and mainstream cancer conditions.  Further information can be found at the KCI webpage here and in the Guardian here.

 

Scientists discover asthma's potential root causes

 Posted on 29/04/2015

A team of scientists have for the first time identified the potential root cause of asthma and an existing drug that offers a new treatment.

Published in Science Translational Medicine, Cardiff University researchers, working in collaboration with scientists at King’s College London and the Mayo Clinic (USA), describe the previously unproven role of the calcium sensing receptor (CaSR) in causing asthma, a disease which affects 300 million people worldwide.

The team, which includes Professor Christopher Corrigan and Professor Jeremy Ward from the Division of Asthma, Allergy and Lung Biology at King’s College London, used mouse models of asthma and human airway tissue from asthmatic and non-asthmatic people to reach their findings.

Crucially, the paper highlights the effectiveness of a class of drugs known as calcilytics in manipulating CaSR to reverse all symptoms associated with the condition. These symptoms include airway narrowing, airway twitchiness and inflammation - all of which contribute to increased breathing difficulty.

For  more information click here

 

King’s College London signs licence agreement with UCB in immunology and type 1 diabetes

Posted on 19/01/2015

King’s College London announced today that it has entered an exclusive licence agreement with UCB that grants the company the rights to develop a peptide-based immunotherapy programme for type 1 diabetes. This Phase-1 ready programme emerges from technology developed by Mark Peakman, Professor of Clinical Immunology at King’s, with funding from the Wellcome Trust. The aim of the King’s research is to halt progression of disease in individuals who are newly diagnosed or at risk of developing type 1 diabetes. UCB hopes to explore the potential of this platform in other immunological diseases.

Phase 1 work will be led by Professor Peakman and will take place in the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London, and UCB will lead the subsequent development phases. Under the terms of this multi-year agreement, King’s College London will receive an upfront payment, clinical development milestone payments and royalties on future products. In parallel with the clinical development, UCB will also financially support research within Professor Peakman’s group to gain further understanding of this immunotherapy platform.

“We look forward to working with King’s College London as part of our continued strategy to innovate in drug discovery, converting scientific discovery into health improvements in areas of high patient need,” commented Ismail Kola, President UCB New Medicines. “The collaboration with King’s College London is another example of UCB’s strategies at work as we continue to further extend our super-network and partner with some of the greatest academic minds to bring superior value to patients.” 

Professor Mark Peakman from the Division of Immunology, Infection & Inflammatory Disease at King’s College London, said: “This is a very exciting moment, emerging from over a decade of basic science discovery and translational research in my laboratory. The partnership with UCB provides a very strong platform for us to progress this new therapy into full clinical development for the benefit of patients with type 1 diabetes as well as those at high risk of developing the disease.”

About King’s Commercialisation Institute

King’s Commercialisation Institute aims to be a catalyst for creating a growing entrepreneurial community within King’s College London and the NHS Foundation Trusts which comprise King's Health Partners. The goals are to accelerate and grow the commercial and public benefits arising from the College’s education and research activities and to foster an environment where aspiring entrepreneurs can thrive. For more information: King's Commercialisation Institute

About UCB

UCB, Brussels, Belgium (www.ucb.com) is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases of the immune system or of the central nervous system. With 9,000 people in approximately 40 countries, the company generated revenue of EUR 3.4 billion in 2012. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB).

 

Epidarex Capital Invests in UK Life Sciences

Epidarex Capital, a leading international venture capital firm, has raised over £47.5 million to lead investments in early-stage life science and health technology companies, including spin-outs from leading research universities.  Global pharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly and Company participated in the final closing with a significant capital commitment.  King’s College London also invested in the final closing.

The fund’s early-stage focus is supported by a diverse range of investors, including four top research universities as well as the European Investment Fund, Scottish Enterprise and Strathclyde Pension Fund.  Epidarex’s close working relationship with the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, three of Scotland’s top research universities, as well as with King’s College London, provides access to some of the most innovative healthcare start-ups, including those specialising in novel drug-development. 

For more information, please click here

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