Clinical biomarker tools and technologies for dementia receive funding

Two radiologists looking at MRI scans

10 new projects will receive funding for identification, development and commercialisation of biomarker tools and technologies.

Innovate UK is pleased to announce the winners of a funding competition to develop new clinical tools for dementia and neurodegeneration. The focus of the competition is on enhancing clinical trials and precision therapies for dementia patients.

It is a significant step towards advancing dementia research and therapy development, and Innovate UK has awarded over £6 million in funding to 10 innovative organisations through its Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI).

Addressing the global challenge

The number of people in the UK with dementia is estimated at 850,000. It is a complex and diverse disease, posing challenges in identifying effective treatments for patients.

The economic cost associated with the disease is considerable, estimated at £23 billion a year, which is predicted to triple by 2040. This is more than the cost of cancer, heart disease and stroke.

Advancing dementia treatment

This Innovate UK investment forms an important part of the Dame Barbara Windsor Dementia Mission, a government-led effort committed to realising a new generation of precision dementia therapies and solutions for the UK.

The funding competition sought innovative solutions to address the complexities of dementia, a disease known to manifest and progress differently in different patients.

The funds will empower organisations to develop customised tools using state-of-the-art technologies and repurposed innovations. The goal is to address the pressing need for improved clinical tools capable of identifying suitable patients for clinical trials and tailoring treatments accordingly.

Transforming trials for patients

These transformative clinical trials hold the potential to revolutionise dementia therapy. Leveraging the expertise of the UK’s life sciences sector, these initiatives aim to expedite the discovery of precise treatments. The approach provides hope for a future where dementia can be effectively managed, offering a positive outlook for patients and their families.

Revolutionising patient care

Dr Cynthia Bullock, Deputy Director of the Healthy Ageing Challenge at Innovate UK, said:

Dementia’s complexity demands a personalised approach, and the development of biomarker tools is paramount in ensuring that we can tailor therapies to individual patients.

Innovative future of dementia therapy

Dr Stella Peace, Executive Director for Healthy Living and Agriculture Domain at Innovate UK, said:

This investment marks a significant step forward in our collective efforts to manage and eventually overcome the challenges posed by dementia. The innovative solutions developed by these organisations will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of dementia therapy, making life better for all.

Demonstration of the excellence of our life sciences, data and digital sectors

Dame Barbara Windsor Dementia Mission Co-chairs Nadeem Sarwar and Hilary Evans said:

The cutting-edge technologies being funded through this competition represent the excellence and variety of innovation coming out of our life sciences sector in the UK.

We’re excited to work with these companies through the Mission to drive forward our collective ambition to realise a new era of precision medicines and solutions for dementia and neurodegeneration.

In particular, the innovations being pursued by these companies align with our focus on accelerating biomarker and clinical trial innovation, underpinned by scalable data sciences.

By building on the strengths of our life sciences, data and digital sectors in the UK, and supporting our innovative SMEs and academic institutions we will ensure new dementia therapies and innovations will make their way to patients as soon as possible.

Further information

Full list of successful projects

Cumulus Neuroscience Ltd

Optimising blood biomarker accuracy for clinical trials and healthcare using artificial intelligence and digital biomarkers

Cortirio Ltd

Portable brain imaging: a biomarker platform for dementia

Cambridge Vision Technology Ltd

A-eye scope: a standardised, scalable tool for point-of-care, early stage dementia pre-screening

IXICO Technologies Ltd

Dementia diagnostic platform with integrated AI-based decision support for decision enabling biomarkers

University of Nottingham

BBDLB: A novel multiplex plasma extracellular vesicle RNA biomarker assay for improving clinical diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies

Quantified Imaging Ltd

Automated measurement of quantitative dementia biomarkers from arterial spin labelling MRI

Esya Ltd

Multi-analyte blood-based biomarker panel for diagnosis of Alzheimer’s diseases

Fraunhofer UK Research Ltd

Dementia biomarker detection using resonant Raman spectroscopy at point of need

Cfdx Ltd

A liquid biopsy platform technology to transform dementia clinical biomarkers using advanced deep learning

Occuity Ltd

The Aβ+ Reader: A novel hyperspectral fluorescence-lifetime imaging device for detection of dementia biomarkers in the lens of the eye

Top image:  Credit: simonkr, E+ via Getty Images

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