£700,000 UK government investment in Randox R&D
A £700,000 UK Research and Innovation investment into manufacturing processes at Randox means patients could benefit from quicker, cheaper and more consistent diagnosis of diseases.
The announcement comes exactly one year after the government launched its modern Industrial Strategy – the long-term plan to boost productivity by backing businesses to create high-quality, well-paid jobs in every corner of the United Kingdom.
The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) award, administered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), will allow Randox Laboratories to further develop its state-of-the-art ‘freeze-drying’ technology which enables the components of vital diagnostic kits to be manufactured, stored and transported more effectively, producing better and speedier diagnoses.
For the first time it also allows this complicated manufacturing process to be carried out in the UK rather than having to be outsourced to countries such as the United States, bringing more jobs and economic growth. These new genomic analysis tools also have the potential to make a major impact in the global fight against antimicrobial resistance by identifying and quickly sharing information about resistant microbial strains.
More in-depth analysis of biomarkers in blood and other bodily fluid levels will allow better, quicker diagnosis of cancers and a range of other diseases, ranging from respiratory infections to sepsis, such as blood poisoning.
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland said:
“I am delighted to announce a £700,000k UK Government investment in Randox, a multinational life sciences company in County Antrim. This funding will bring significant benefits to Randox’s vital medical diagnostics and help create well-paid manufacturing jobs in Northern Ireland.
“A year-on from the launch of our Modern Industrial Strategy, this investment highlights the great progress we are making to boost productivity by backing leading businesses and creating high-quality jobs in every corner of the United Kingdom.”
John Penrose, Minister of State for Northern Ireland, who visited Randox today to mark the new investment, said:
“Everyone always says the UK needs more high-tec, high-value added manufacturing and the high-skilled, high-waged jobs it brings. But Randox are actually doing it right here in Northern Ireland. This is properly world leading, cutting-edge industry and I’m delighted that today’s money is helping bring the vision to life.”
Dr Peter FitzGerald, Managing Director of Randox Laboratories, commented:
“Innovative diagnostic technologies are not only capable of diagnosing disease and ill-health at the earliest possible stage, but they also have a real potential to advance personalised medicine. Our commitment to developing new and exciting breakthroughs in science, technology, engineering and manufacturing is therefore matched only, by our passion to transform the life of the patient. Randox is leading the way in moving from a one-size-fits-all approach towards decisions, practices, and products tailored to the needs of the individual and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund award brings us one step closer to realising that aim.”
Funded through UK Research and Innovation, the award forms part of the ISCF Early Diagnosis and Precision Medicine programme, focusing on the use of diagnostic information and genetic analysis to drive more personalised healthcare. Innovate UK, now part of UK Research and Innovation, has supported Randox extensively since 2010, helping grow and scale an innovative diagnostics company who are now distributing their products all over the world.
The announcement comes after the government’s announcement of the Life Sciences Sector Deal that will support healthcare innovation and back businesses to create high-paid, high-quality jobs as part of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy. The deal signals a vote in confidence in UK industry, with global biopharmaceutical company UCB investing around £1 billion in research and development.
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Global healthcare company Randox, recently unveiled as the sponsors for the Grand National 2017 under the banner of Randox Health, today announced it has been awarded an Innovate UK Award, for their pioneering work in the development of a diagnostic test for Acute Myeloid Leukemia patients.
Randox’s award-winning test will enable the stratification of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) patients, to determine patient response, before chemotherapeutic treatment. Currently, aggressive chemotherapy is given at diagnosis for the 2900 patients diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia every year in the UK, yet up to 40% of patients do not respond to this treatment due to the type of their cancer cells, and the patient’s genetic make-up.
The competition was therefore designed to promote the development of new diagnostic products and services for use in stratified medicine; in this case studying groups of leukemia patients to predict which treatments their cancers are likely to respond to.
Dr Cherith Reid, Project Manager for the AML Test at Randox, commented;
“As with any illness, it is important to select the best treatment and care for AML patients based on their diagnosis. The majority of AML patients are over 60 years old, and with the rise in the elderly population, increased prevalence of the disease is predicted. Currently, patients in this age range who are deemed fit for treatment are prescribed cytarabine chemotherapy, where the patient’s reaction to this drug is uninformed and is based on a trial-and-error approach. The information provided by our test will allow us to identify patients whose cancer is drug responsive, and treat them accordingly, possibly with lower doses of chemotherapy, reducing its severe side-effects. We want to assist clinicians in selecting the best treatment and care for patients as early as possible to improve patient outcomes.”
Phase one of the project includes an economic study to measure the health economic benefits for The National Health Service, conducted by The National Institute for Health Research Diagnostic Evidence Co-Operative London.
Professor George Hanna, NIHR DEC London Centre Director, commented;
“The stratification of patients within the NHS has been widely acknowledged as an important method for the efficient use of resources, as well as improving patient experience. New in vitro diagnostic tests that can classify patients in this way – such as the test being developed at Randox for Leukemia patients – personalise patient care to better inform treatment decisions which will hopefully lead to improved health outcomes and fewer side effects. This is particularly important for Leukemia patients who face the severe side effects of chemotherapy. Through the collaboration of Randox Laboratories and the NIHR Diagnostic Evidence Co-operative London, we have a unique opportunity to evaluate the adoption pathway of the new Randox AML technology to translate it to the bedside where it can best benefit patient care.”
“Determining Acute Myeloid Leukemia patient response to chemotherapeutic treatment” was selected by Innovate UK in the “Stratified Medicine: connecting the UK infrastructure” competition.
Pictured: Dr Cherith Reid