As the 33 finalists of this year’s KTP Best of the Best Awards are revealed (see them all here) we review some health-related projects delivering positive change through the extraordinary collaborative mechanism of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP).

Now more than ever, fresh thinking and different ways of solving challenges are needed to help innovation thrive. KTP has been helping facilitate this, creating a three-way partnership through which research teams and graduates (known as KTP Associates) come together with businesses and organisations to drive innovation. The programme has brought new discoveries to market, created thousands of graduate jobs and brought innovative solutions to societal problems. 

The KTP Best of the Best Awards help shine a light on some of the most successful KTP collaborations. Here are some of the health-related projects that have made it on to the shortlist:

Fully human antibodies for rapid clinical development

This KTP between Fusion Antibodies and Queen’s University Belfast focuses on creating an innovative software solution for the design of antibody libraries. KTP Associate, Leona McGirr, led the KTP project supporting the company’s service offering in antibody engineering; transforming capabilities and competitiveness in the antibody discovery space and helping biotech and pharmaceutical organisations speed up the development of the best antibodies possible. Ultimately, this will help these organisations accelerate the provision of treatments that improve the lives of patients throughout the world.

Reducing the risk of brain injury during ambulance transfer

With the aim of preventing damage affecting brain function (encephalopathy) in ambulance transfers, this KTP between Paraid, a division of Evac+Chair International, Birmingham City University and KTP Associate Alex Round (BA Product Design)  set out to design and develop an impact resistant interface system (IRIS). 

The IRIS aims to reduce the risk of brain movements within the skull under heavy acceleration and deceleration. To facilitate this valuable research, Birmingham City University used new simulation software to determine the strength/stress analysis of the IRIS and other ancillary Paraid products in the event of an ambulance crash, increasing productivity and yielding significant cost-savings. More here.


Transformative online training for GPs

The partnership between online medical learning provider Red Whale, Dr Blessing Mbipom and University of Reading has resulted in a suite of online training content for GPs that has resulted in high levels of online engagement and learning effectiveness. Red Whale’s digital content is clearly branded, identifiable by their customers and provides clinicians with a SMARTER (Scientific, Multi-disciplinary, Action focussed, Responsive, Time-efficient, Engaging and Reactive) learning experience, that they can immediately use in their professional practice. The KTP has enabled the company to transform from a traditional training provider to a leading online specialist with 50 team members and training over 15,000 primary care clinicians every year. More here. 

Empowering employees to manage their mental wellbeing

Charity Inspire Workplaces teamed up with Ulster University and KTP Associate Gillian Cameron to create a web-based platform to offer access to mental health screening and support to employees of companies at risk of secondary traumatic stress as their job involves curating disturbing digital media. The project fulfilled and exceeded its original brief, extending to the charity’s wider remit of providing workplace wellbeing services to organisations across the UK and Ireland. The anticipated reach of the Inspire Support Hub now has a potential end-user base of 800,000 lives. More here. 

Developing products with virucidal and tuberculocidal efficacy

A specialist in Infection Prevention Technology, GAMA Healthcare  manufactures innovative antimicrobial products and wanted to consolidate its market leading  position by expanding its range of biocidal products to include claim for virucidal and tuberculocidal efficacy. 

Their KTP with Cardiff University (CU) enabled a translational project focusing on infection control.  Results of the KTP include three new products being developed, including a replacement of the key GAMA product, with increased microbicidal activity claims (broadspectrum efficacy) and competitive pricing. In addition, a new intelligent design test (i5-design) was developed to efficiently test excipients to produce microbicidal formulations, enabling the testing of 307 formulations and performing 847 individual tests, creating significant cost savings. More here

New technique for manufacturing capsule-based drugs using liposomes.

Lonza and University of Strathclyde collaborated via this KTP to investigate the application of liposome formulations to improve the efficacy of drugs delivered via Lonza’s liquid-filled capsules. 

It has not been considered feasible to deliver liposomes orally due to degradation within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This programme involved a new approach to overcome this limitation by using Lonza’s liquid-filled capsule formats to protect the liposomes as they travel through the GI tract. Its potential application in antibiotic agents has the potential to offer significant advances in tackling antibiotic resistance; and in anti-inflammatory agents, it could determine the treatment of colonic disease such as Crohn’s.

The liposome formulations have shown improved efficacy in-vitro, in comparison to the drug alone; and have the potential to improve the current therapy for the disease states targeted; and with the possibility of reducing the human dose, may also allow for a significant reduction in cost. More here.


Gamifying asthma inhaler usage for children

Orbital Media teamed up with University of Suffolk and KTP Associate Thomas Andrews (who has a degree in Computer Games Design) to create a revolutionary app that combines augmented reality (AR)  with gameplay to help children use their asthma inhalers correctly.

Over one million children suffer from asthma in the UK and it is one of the leading causes for paediatric hospital admissions – often down to poor management of the condition. To address this, the KTP developed a medically approved augmented reality healthcare tool to engage children with the learning material, achieving significant learning outcomes and potentially saving hundreds of lives. Since its launch, the app has won numerous prestigious awards, gained the support of the UK’s leading asthma charities as well as Suffolk Public Health. More here. 

In all, there are 33 finalists across six categories: 

  • Best KTP Partnership
  • Business Impact Award
  • Engineering Excellence Award
  • Best Knowledge Base KTP Team (supported by Praxis Auril and inspired by David Woollard)
  • Future Innovator (supported by Ashorne Hill) 
  • Societal Impact Award (supported by UKRI)

Winners will be announced at a “Virtual” Awards ceremony on Wednesday 9 September.  You can find out more and register to attend for the event here. 



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