The University of Oxford has been awarded more than £7 million, the highest amount of funding given to organisations across the UK, in the latest round of UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) funding – aimed at fuelling the best, brightest and most disruptive ideas from UK research institutions.
The award follows Oxford’s recent top ranking in the UK for generating spin-out companies and its success in the Research Excellence Framework (the national research assessment exercise), which showed Oxford’s submission had the highest volume of world-leading research.
Today’s news means the University has been awarded the largest amount of IAA funding in the UK, to jumpstart knowledge exchange, translation and commercialisation of research across all disciplines.
The programme, now in its tenth year, has provided crucial early-stage support to Oxford start-ups that are now established global businesses.
IMPROVED DIAGNOSIS OF BLOOD DISEASES
SEREN is a Social Enterprise Based at the Muhimbili University for Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania that is delivering DNA-based diagnostics improving outcomes of children and young adults with blood diseases in sub-Saharan Africa.
Thanks to IAA funding, the team in close collaboration with the Muhimbili National Hospital and the patient charity Tumaina la Maisha, have put in place the required infrastructure to facilitate national patient referrals, local sequencing, joint cloud-based data analysis and clinical data collection for the WHO Cancer Registry. Together with their African collaborators, they have put in place frameworks to consent parents/patients for DNA analysis and to provide diagnostic-grade DNA testing for as low as $10/test.
TREATMENTS FOR PATIENTS WITH BLOOD CANCER
A spin-out from the University of Oxford, the company is based on world-leading discoveries in clinical haematology and single-cell multi-omics.
IAA funding has enabled the company’s founding professors to further development of targeted and curative therapies for MPNs – a group of chronic blood cancers that begin with mutations occurring in cancer stem cells in the bone marrow.
Alethiomics’ founders have pioneered the use of single-cell multi-omic approaches to better understand the biology of mutant-positive stem cells in MPNs and to discover novel molecular targets as the basis for drug discovery. They have also developed bespoke platforms for target validation to accelerate successful translation to the clinic.