U.K. government-backed Biomedical Catalyst Awards were given to Ixico and PsiOxus Therapeutics to accelerate translation of ideas into commercial products. Both companies are funded by the technology commercialization and investment company Imperial Innovations. Ixico will lead a project to develop a novel digital healthcare platform that provides earlier and more accurate diagnosis of dementia.

The firm plans to open up advanced investigative techniques usually only available in specialist centers to doctors diagnosing all patients. Computer-based tests of memory and thinking will be combined with computerized analysis of MRI brain scans to yield automated diagnostic reports that the firms hopes will lead to rapid treatment and support for people with dementia and their carers. The three-year collaborative project aims to demonstrate that time to diagnosis of dementia can be reduced by 15 months and to bring diagnosis rates closer to the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge target rate of 80%. Ixico will work alongside Cambridge Cognition, a developer of neurological psychological tests, and their project partners at King’s College London, University of Sussex, and Imperial College London.

PsiOxus will initiate a Phase I/II clinical trial to assess the use of its ColoAd1 oncolytic vaccine in the treatment of platinum-resistant, recurrent ovarian cancer. The Octave (Ovarian Cancer Treated with Adeno Virus) study will be the second clinical trial of ColoAd1, a highly potent, broad-spectrum anticancer therapeutic capable of selectively destroying tumor cells at minute concentrations, according to PsiOxus. The study will assess over 50 ovarian cancer patients and will be carried out at multiple U.K. cancer centers beginning in 2013. Professor Iain McNeish, from the Institute of Cancer Sciences at the University of Glasgow, is principal investigator.

The government-backed Biomedical Catalyst is a £180 million (approximately $287.6 million) funding program for businesses and academics in the life sciences sector. It is managed jointly by the Technology Strategy Board and the Medical Research Council. As part of this round of funding, grants totaling over £39 million (around $62.3 million) have been awarded to over 30 projects led by SMEs and universities to accelerate the development of innovative solutions to healthcare challenges.

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