Opportunity North East: Transforming Life Sciences
Opportunity North East (ONE) works across key growth sectors with entrepreneurs and founders, creating and growing innovation-driven enterprises. One of the key sectors ONE is supporting is life sciences, with the industry’s ambition to double the size of the life sciences cluster as part of the regional economic diversification. Central to this goal is ONE BioHub, a place where life sciences entrepreneurs and founders build their businesses and commercialise new therapies, treatments, technology and solutions for health and wellbeing, transform health delivery and improve patient outcomes.
ONE established the Life Sciences network six years ago to strengthen the life sciences community, to bring together a diverse group of professionals including those from commercial, academic, research, clinical and healthcare backgrounds, and to provide a platform for networking, learning and growth.
While individual life sciences companies in the region have gained global recognition, the life sciences cluster lacked a cohesive identity until the development of ONE BioHub. The facility now acts as a focal point for commercial research, innovation and commercialisation, all within Foresterhill Health Campus, in the heart of the triple helix of world-class academic, clinical and research interests in Aberdeen.
Artificial Intelligence: NHS Grampian
In today’s healthcare landscape, the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is gaining traction. The recent ONE Life Sciences network event held at ONE BioHub explored the transformational potential of AI in healthcare, particularly within the NHS.
Dr Gerald Lip, clinical director at the North East of Scotland Breast Screening Programme and Consultant Radiologist at NHS Grampian, along with Carla Brackstone, Senior Partnerships Manager at Kheiron Medical Technologies, shared insights into the adoption of AI in NHS Grampian.
Kheiron Medical Technologies’ Mia®️ (Mammography Intelligent Assessment) is a CE-marked medical device software (SaMD) developed using AI and designed to analyse digital mammography images.
The Gemini project, a collaborative effort between NHS Grampian, Kheiron Medical Technologies and the University of Aberdeen, is currently evaluating and testing AI for breast cancer detection in the North East of Scotland Breast Screening Service.
Gerald commented, “The introduction of AI into the workflow can address the shortage of people qualified as breast screening readers and significantly improve cancer detection while reducing false positives. It also reduces the anxiety associated with waiting for results, as AI can provide quicker turnaround times.”
Carla said “The radiology sector faces a workforce crisis, with a 29% shortfall in clinical radiologists which is expected to grow and 52% of vacancies open for more than 12 months, Mia empowers screening services to deliver confident, accurate, timely results through deep learning technology that works with radiologists.”
This cutting-edge innovation has been widely picked up by the media, both nationally and internationally, with The New York Times highlighting the impact of. NHS Grampian’s adoption of the AI Mia platform in breast cancer screening, putting Aberdeen on the global map for innovation in healthcare technology.
Future steps for AI in healthcare
Gerald emphasised the need for a rigorous evaluation of AI’s safety and efficacy in clinical practice. The evidence generated by the Gemini evaluation will contribute significantly to the decision-making process of the National Screening Council of the UK.
Aberdeen is a global leader when it comes to innovation in life sciences. Medical breakthroughs from the invention of the MRI scanner to the synthesis of the life-saving insulin drug have been pioneered in the city, and the University of Aberdeen has won no less than five Nobel Prizes.
Gerald stated, “The introduction of collaborative efforts such as this highlights the benefits of bringing high value and impact research to the North East of Scotland. This in turn creates a benefit for patients in the region to access the latest technology and treatments and participate in international level research.”
Carla further stated, “The incredible collaborative partnership we have with both NHS Grampian and the University of Aberdeen has been pivotal to the success of this work to date.”
ONE’s impact on Life Sciences
Scotland provides excellent support for innovation, and ONE plays a pivotal role in this ecosystem. ONE BioHub offers a range of resources, including access to mentoring, business growth programmes, connections to expert networks, and opportunities for investment. It provides event and meeting spaces for the life sciences community along with incubator laboratories and offices and fully customisable grow-on space fostering collaboration and innovation.
ONE’s investment in ONE BioHub reflects its commitment to the region’s life sciences sector and professionals. The initiative aims to inspire and enable the commercialisation of research and innovation, growth of high-value life sciences business and create more high skill job opportunities.
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