LSTM launches spinout 'iiDiagnostics' to support industry academic co-innovation

News article 8 Mar 2022

LSTM has launched a spinout, iiDiagnostics, to enable industry engagement and commercial access to the world-leading diagnostics R&D capability and facilities at LSTM – supporting the discovery and development of innovative diagnostics to save lives globally.

iiDiagnostics will build on the Research & Development activity being delivered through the LSTM-led consortium iiCON: the Infection Innovation Consortium. iiCON supports the interface between industry and academia – enabling access to world-leading research capability and facilities to drive forward innovation in the treatment, diagnosis and prevention of infectious diseases.

The spinout will create a new commercial conduit for industry to interact with the leading global diagnostic capability within LSTM. It will support co-innovation and partnership working, enhancing the discovery and delivery of new innovative diagnostics that will ease the global burden of disease.

iiDiagnostics will encompass commercial activity being delivered through LSTM’s LITE (Liverpool Insect Testing Establishment). Established by LSTM’s Vector Biology Department, world renowned for its research on insecticide resistance in disease vectors, LITE is a facility that tests new insecticides or repellent based products against a wide range of mosquito populations for commercial partners.

Elements of iiCON’s diagnostics offering to industry, led by Dr Ana Cubas-Atienzar in LSTM’s Diagnostics Group, will also be run through iiDiagnostics. This provides industry partners with access to world-leading expertise and facilities that support every stage of the product journey, from early-stage concept, through evaluation and regulatory approval, to adoption through LSTM’s FIND and WHO accredited facility. Industry partners benefit from a broad diagnostic focus and expertise across a range of platforms including lateral-flow, antibody, antigen, and molecular testing, in addition to access to Biological Safety level 3 laboratories.

Building on existing collaborations between Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), LSTM and iiCON, iiDiagnostics will also assemble, market and distribute innovate new diagnostics based on sensor technology co-developed with LJMU under licence and LJMU will be part of the Management team for the company.

Professor Hilary Ranson, Dean of Research Culture & Integrity and Professor of Medical Entomology at LSTM and founder of LITE, said: “Driving innovation through industry academic partnership and collaboration has never been more essential in the battle to improve health outcomes globally and combat vector borne diseases such as malaria, which are the scrouge of communities across the globe.

“Building on the hugely successful collaborative model pioneered by iiCON, which supports world-leading R&D by enabling industry and academic co-innovation, we’re delighted to be launching iiDiagnostics to create a new platform to support effective commercial engagement with industry and better enable access to the world-leading research and facilities at LSTM.”

Professor Janet Hemingway, founding Director of iiCON, said: “Continuing to support and nurture collaboration between industry and academic research capability is key to maintaining the momentum behind the discovery, development, and deployment of new innovative diagnostics, preventions, and treatments for infectious diseases.

“Working to enable new platforms that will enable industry to access the world-leading R&D capability within our leading academic institutions is at the heart of iiCON’s ethos. We’re very pleased to be working with our lead partner, LSTM, on the formation of this new spinout, which will support academic and industry co-innovation – helping to fast-track innovative diagnostic solutions to patients and communities most in need across the globe.”

Led by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), iiCON was founded with government funding provided through UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund. It brings together industry, academia, and the NHS in a £174 million collaborative infectious disease R&D programme to accelerate the discovery, development and deployment of new antimicrobial treatments and products. Its partners are Unilever, Evotec, Liverpool University Hospitals Foundation Trust, The University of Liverpool, and Infex Therapeutics.

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