Around 100 delegates from across the University, NHS organisations and industry attended the inaugural showcase Manchester Molecular Pathology Innovation Centre event, held in Citylabs, on Thursday 28th April.
Delegates at the event included academic and clinical staff from across the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre and wider, industrial stakeholders, and representatives from policymakers and other molecular pathology nodes across the UK. All were keen to find out more about MMPathICs remit to deliver new biomarker based tests and in vitro diagnostics to the clinic and opportunities for engagement with the initiative.
Opening the event, Professor Ian Greer stressed the strategic importance of MMPathIC for Manchester’s ambitions to be world leading in delivering precision medicine solutions to patients. Professor Greer said “Manchester’s molecular pathology node will play a key role in translating the outstanding stratified medicine discovery research already ongoing locally, through to development and roll out of tests to into the NHS”. Professor Greer also noted that the co-funding of MMPathIC by both the Medical Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Council highlights the need and opportunity to work across traditional disciplinary boundaries.
Professor Tony Freemont, MMPathIC Director, outlined the exciting opportunities offered through MMPathIC. Professor Freemont said “MMPathIC has recruited a great team of experts who can help researchers and industry deliver biomarker based tests to the clinic or market”. Addressing the audience, Professor Freemont went on to highlight the early successes of MMPathIC since it’s official start date of 1st October 2015, which includes a number of funded projects in development with industry and academic partners.
The importance of joint working with external stakeholders such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) was also flagged and Carla Deakin, Associate Director of the Diagnostics Assessment Programme outlined the role NICE plays in the development to adoption landscape.
Much of the MMPathIC funding support is to build an infrastructure of cutting edge expertise such as health informatics, health economics and text mining- and some of these newly recruited research fellows and other key staff gave presentations highlighting the opportunities offered by their particular disciplines.
The commercial potential of molecular pathology were further emphasised by keynote speaker, Dr Stephen Little, CEA of local diagnostic company, Premaitha, in an entertaining and informative overview of his own experiences of bringing molecular pathology tools to the market and the future business opportunities he saw.
Reflecting on the day, Professor Freemont said “The interest we’ve already had from organisations wanting to work with us has been great, but we want to continue to expand our community of companies, academics and clinicians with whom we work. We urge anyone who wishes to find out more about MMPathIC or the potential for collaboration to get in touch”.
MMPathIC is one of a network of six molecular pathology nodes across the UK. The University of Manchester was successful in securing nearly £3M funding for 4 years from 1st October 2015 from the Medical Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Council to set to establish MMPathIC- this was supplemented by an additional £1.5M of industry and institutional commitment.