Researchers in Aberdeen with a novel treatment for diabetes and a mobile scanner for head injuries are part of the new cohort of life sciences founders supported by Opportunity North East.
Eight researchers and academics from the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University took part in the ONE Life Sciences Accelerator.
Lorna Duguid, development director – life sciences at Opportunity North East, said: “Aberdeen’s life sciences community is pioneering research to address global health challenges including cancer, diabetes and dementia. The University of Aberdeen was recently named one of the top ten universities in the UK for life sciences spinouts since 2011. The accelerator equips academics and researchers with the knowledge and tools to commercialise innovation, get solutions to market to benefit patients and provide new, high-value jobs in the region."
The ambition for the region is to build a dynamic cluster and location for life sciences businesses by stimulating increased innovation, collaboration and commercialisation. Opportunity North East leads the delivery of the £40 million BioHub under construction on the Foresterhill Health Campus. It will be home for up to 400 scientific entrepreneurs in start-up and scaling businesses. BioHub is part-funded by the UK Government and Scottish Government via the Aberdeen City Region Deal and Opportunity North East, and delivered in partnership with the University of Aberdeen and NHS Grampian.
The life sciences accelerator programme delivered over eight weeks uses lean start-up tools to help the entrepreneurs test and develop business models to meet the needs of customers and attract funding and investment. The founders are supported by mentors on completion of the programme.
Ruta Dekeryte and Andrew McEwan took part in the 2021 accelerator. They are research scientists working on new drug targets to treat type 2 diabetes and prevent build-up of fats, cholesterol and other substances on artery walls in a project run by Cohen Global Pharmaceuticals at the University of Aberdeen.
Ruta said: "We were very excited to be offered an opportunity to take part in the ONE Life Sciences Accelerator Programme. It helped us visualise the journey towards commercialisation as we aim to make a difference to the quality of life for people who have type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. We greatly appreciated the opportunity to meet experts from the business world who shared valuable experience with us as well as excellent support and mentorship."
Nadimul Faisal also took part in the 2021 accelerator. A reader in mechanical engineering at Robert Gordon University, he is developing a scanner for use in ambulances to assess head injuries resulting from road traffic and sports accidents.
Nadimul said: “I aim to help major trauma consultants who want to assess a patient’s head injury in the back of an ambulance to maximise pre-hospital care decision making, reduce time loss and enhance resource allocation. The ONE accelerator programme gave me a fantastic opportunity to connect with a range of ambulance staff and paramedics in Scotland to inform product development, and it has opened a new entrepreneurial opportunity for my start-up company d-Finger Limited.”
Scotland's £6 billion life sciences industry is growing by more than 10% a year and employs 2,500 people in and around Aberdeen. Action and investment to realise the industry's ambition to double the region's company cluster will drive green economic recovery and create new jobs.
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