Bodies share £50k bioscience backing

Some of the winners at the Aptamer event

Some of the winners at the Aptamer event

First published in Business news York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Business editor

LOCAL bioscience organisations have won a share of £50,000-worth of innovation services from a York business.

The Food and Environmental Research Agency (Fera) and University of York spin-out Paraytec are among businesses to win the support from Aptamer Solutions.

Aptamer Solutions, a global leader in aptamer technology, which can provide an alternative to the use of antibodies, which are frequently used in medical testing, awarded the prizes at biotechnology showcase BioYorkshire.

Melanie Ellyard, business development manager at Aptamer Solutions, said: “We expected a few good projects to come from the competition.

“However, we have been inundated with inquiries and received more than 20 strong applications. For the purpose of the competition we had to reduce this number, but a number of sub-projects will commence with the other applicants.”

Three different projects at Fera won services to help the agency develop electrochemical-based biosensors, which can be used to give an early warning of fungi, bacteria and viruses which could pose a threat to crops, improve existing detection methods and find an alternative to existing tests for herbicide glyphosphate.

Paraytec, which uses ultraviolet (UV) technology to identify molecules that are of interest to human health, also hopes to use aptamer technology to rapidly detect diseases.

Meanwhile, Leeds-based Badrilla hopes to use the technology to help it find a way to prevent heart failure, and the University of Cranfield in Bedfordshire intends to use aptamers to sense and remove toxins which could cause blood poisoning in intensive care patients and the elderly.

More than 130 people representing 115 different organisations, companies and universities attended the BioYorkshire conference at Fera’s laboratories in Sand Hutton.

Nicola Spence, chief executive of SCY, formerly Science City York, which helped organise the event, said: “A number of collaborations are already happening as a result of meetings, and that’s exactly what we were aiming to achieve by bringing the region’s top bioscience companies together with representatives from pharmaceutical firms, health technology companies, government agencies and academia.”

Gordon Jamieson, head of business and international development at Fera, said: “There are countless bioscience success stories here on our doorstep, and it was fantastic to hear about and celebrate some of those successes, as well as see opportunities forming for new collaborations that will enable more and more bioscience projects to achieve commercial success.”

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