iiCON’s Merseyside SME support programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and designed to support regional innovation and invigorate the product development pipeline.
Delivered in partnership by Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the University of Liverpool, this platform helps Merseyside SMEs overcome roadblocks to product development in the formulation of infectious disease products by providing access to state-of-the-art equipment and world-leading expertise.
iiCON’s platform provides SMEs access to world-class expertise and facilities across three key focus areas to support product development: Screening for AMR Emergence; Novel Surfaces and Materials; and Diagnostic Evaluation.
Facilities and expertise available include AMR testing platforms combined with a microbiology suite in the Materials Innovation Factory at the University of Liverpool; a surface chemistry suite at the Open Innovation Hub for Anti-Microbial Surfaces at the University of Liverpool; and a Diagnostics and Engineering suite to enable diagnostic development and evaluation– supported with expertise from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and University of Liverpool.
Two Years of SME Support Boosts Merseyside’s Life Sciences Sector
iiCON’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme has successfully propelled some of Merseyside’s most innovative new life science businesses – stimulating R&D and economic growth in the region.
Thanks to the support that SMEs have been provided through this programme, such as access to state-of-the-art equipment and world-leading expertise, a host of businesses have been able to accelerate the development and commercialisation of infectious disease products.
iiCON hopes to attract additional participants to follow in the footsteps of the businesses that have already benefitted from the initiative – helping to further establish the Liverpool City Region as a life science incubator and magnet for international investment.
Designed to boost regional innovation, the programme has been instrumental in helping specialist companies play a role in combating deadly infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and malaria.
Thanks to this support, four new products have already gone to market, generating revenue for local businesses and improving the health and wellbeing of people around the world. These include COVID-19 diagnostic products, sewage sampling devices for the early detection of infectious diseases and sensor technology that will help eliminate vector-borne diseases such as malaria.
To-date, the iiCON programme has seen 29 projects completed for regional companies, with another 28 underway. More than 50 companies have engaged with the programme, representing a range of sectors, including engineering, chemicals, diagnostics and manufacturing.
Approximately 50% of the companies engaging with the programme have introduced a new innovation as a result of the collaboration. The programme has also supported five newly established companies to evaluate their innovations.
“We want to support Merseyside companies by enabling them to innovate and bring products to market. Not only can we provide access to cutting-edge facilities and equipment, but we can also facilitate independent evaluation from a world-class research organisation, ultimately adding credibility for investors.
“So far, a significant amount of money has been invested in local businesses due to this scheme, with many grants being secured thanks to the data collected during our collaborations. What’s more,
a large proportion of the projects we’re involved with go on to forge a long-term relationship with the universities, which will help them secure and maintain a place at the forefront of their fields.”
Dr Lisa Baldwin, iiCON Senior Business Development Manager
“The Liverpool City Region has a unique heritage as a world-leader in infection control, where innovative approaches to global health challenges have been pioneered for over 100 years. Through this ERDF funded platform we’re building on that legacy, facilitating a dynamic, collaborative interface between Merseyside innovators and academia. By supporting pioneering infection innovation from companies of all sizes, we aim to help save lives across the world.”
Professor Janet Hemingway, Founding Director of iiCON
For more information or to learn how your business can engage with this platform.
Dr Baldwin leads iiCON’s Merseyside SME support programme and supports iiCON’s portfolio in diagnostics.
She began her career in industry developing point of care diagnostics tests and then worked on novel antibacterial formulations.