Collaboration secures approximately £20,000 to enhance expert support offer to diagnostic test developers

Collaboration between the North East Innovation Lab and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Newcastle In Vitro Diagnostics Co-operative secures approximately £20,000 to enhance expert support offer to diagnostic test developers.

The funding supports the North East Innovation Lab, part of Newcastle Hospitals and the NIHR Newcastle In Vitro Diagnostics Cooperative to work together with innovators to accelerate the development of their diagnostics to tackle a wide range of health conditions in the region, nationally and internationally.

The NIHR Newcastle MIC, a partnership between Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, played an integral role in the establishment of innovation lab  during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NIHR Newcastle MIC supported the lab team, with a MIC-trained methodologist joining the Innovation Lab team to integrate all aspects of diagnostic evaluation into projects, and support with test development, data analysis and implementation.

NIHR Newcastle MIC’s services support diagnostic developers at the beginning of the development cycle to identify unmet needs for diagnostic tests and how they might be used. The NIHR Newcastle MIC also offers help with the design and analysis of clinical performance studies once devices have been tested and evaluated in the lab.

This compliments the innovation lab’s services which include independent evaluations for new and emerging diagnostics; methodology and protocol development; and bespoke sample collection.  The lab has a biobank which holds around 20,000 carefully curated samples, including blood, serum and saliva, with associated detailed metadata.

The innovation lab has worked on more than 30 projects which have supported over 20 diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2.

Recently the NIHR Newcastle MIC successfully applied with the innovation lab for NIHR/Newcastle Hospitals Research Capability Funding to strengthen the relationship even further moving beyond the pandemic. The lab’s work has expanded to include other health threats such as ‘flu, sepsis, hepatitis and cancer.

The funding will improve the teams’ position for successful joint funding applications going forwards enabling the partnership to continue to support the industry sector and maintain capacity in the region to facilitate in vitro diagnostic evaluation.

Outputs of this funding will include:

  • Documented processes and procedures for an integrated infrastructure offering to diagnostics developers
  • Jointly created training courses and materials for diagnostics developers
  • Promotion of the new shared offer
  • Extending capacity to secure further grant funding and support the development and use of new improved diagnostics

Prior to this funding, the NIHR Newcastle MIC and the innovation lab collaborated with Paragraf, a UK based company, to secure over £500,000 from Innovate UK. The funding will be used to develop their rapid test for identifying bacterial and viral infections.

Dr John Tyson from NEIL said: “We are delighted to secure this joint funding in partnership with NIHR Newcastle MIC which will really strengthen our unique collaborative offer. Our well-established integrated services are supporting industry with the development of new and improved diagnostics to enable the detection of a range of viruses and health conditions, improving patient care and potentially saving lives.”

Dr William Stephen Jones from the NIHR Newcastle MIC said: “This award with the innovation lab allows us to continue and expand our joint offering of support to diagnostic test developers through the entire evidence generation process, from bench to bedside. This is a unique offering in the UK diagnostics landscape, which will help to bring new diagnostic tests to the market at pace, for the benefit of patients the NHS, and developers.” 

To find out more about the NEIL please watch this  video.


Notes to editors:

About the North East Innovation Lab, part of Newcastle Hospitals

The North East Innovation Lab is part of Newcastle Hospitals and works with organisations to support the development of next generation diagnostics.

The team is supporting cutting-edge innovations that will improve resilience for fighting future virus and health threats.

Based in the Newcastle Helix life sciences quarter, the lab has UK and international clients including university spin-outs and large multi-national corporations.

Find out more at here

About the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR)

The mission of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) is to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. We do this by:

  • Funding high quality, timely research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care;
  • Investing in world-class expertise, facilities and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services;
  • Partnering with patients, service users, carers and communities, improving the relevance, quality and impact of our research;
  • Attracting, training and supporting the best researchers to tackle complex health and social care challenges;
  • Collaborating with other public funders, charities and industry to help shape a cohesive and globally competitive research system;
  • Funding applied global health research and training to meet the needs of the poorest people in low and middle income countries.

NIHR is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. Its work in low and middle income countries is principally funded through UK Aid from the UK government.

About Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The Newcastle Upton Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust provides care to patients and their families, across communities in the North East of England and beyond. It is one of the largest NHS Trusts in the UK, offering a wide range of specialist services, in the community and across its hospital sites which include the Freeman Hospital, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Great North Children’s Hospital, Campus for Ageing and Vitality, Newcastle Dental Hospital and Newcastle Fertility Centre.

Rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for the second consecutive time in 2019, the Trusty has a long history of providing high quality care, clinical excellence, and innovation in medical research regionally,

nationally and internationally.

In June 2019, Newcastle Hospitals became the first healthcare organisation in the world to declare a climate emergency recognising that a climate emergency is a health emergency.

About Newcastle University

Newcastle University, UK, is a thriving international community of some 27,750 students from over 130 countries worldwide.

As a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities in the UK, Newcastle has a world-class reputation for research excellence in the fields of medicine, science and engineering, social sciences and the humanities.

Its academics are sharply focused on responding to the major challenges facing society today. Our research and teaching are world-leading in areas as diverse as health, culture, technology and the environment.

Newcastle University is committed to providing our students with excellent, research-led teaching delivered by dedicated and passionate teachers.

Newcastle University is ranked 122nd in the QS World Ranking 2023 and Joint 146th in the Times Higher Education World University Ranking 2022.

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