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  • Matthew Locke

Driving forward our UK science innovation companies for city economy


How does the UK support young science companies to grow and succeed in a globally competitive environment, where firms have the potential to create the next medical breakthrough? Furthermore, what is the right physical environment in which these science companies can thrive and connect with larger organisations, such as teaching hospitals?

As a follow-up to our Cambridge forum, where we looked at the growth of science innovation and the design of urban knowledge hubs, we are holding a round table discussion this week to try to answer these questions.

Among contributors are Peter Ward, Director of Real Estate Development, King's College, London and Guys' and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, and a medical diagnostics company incubated at Imperial College London, called SIME Dx, which is working in the area of neonatal care.

The company has partly been supported by Microsoft, EU grants, and seed capital funding from the firm, Oxford Technology The early stage investor, led by Lucius Cary and Andrea Mica has been investing in science start-up companies for over 30 years, and is hosting the round table in London for Future Cities Forum.

Oxford Technology's portfolio currently comprises 39 companies based in Oxfordshire, the Thames Valley and London. One of these, SIME Dx, has secured a European patent for ‘methods and system for use in neonatal diagnostics’ in recognition of the company’s unique methods for determining lung maturity at the point of care.

LMT, the world’s first rapid neonatal lung maturity test has been clinically proven to predict Respiratory Disorder Syndrome (RDS) with high sensitivity. Powered by photonics and machine learning algorithms, LMT is the first application of the Digital Molecular Diagnostics (DMDx) platform pipeline.

Povl Verder, Managing Director of SIME Dx said:

'There are very few companies looking at child health innovation in the UK. Premature babies are an unknown as there is little or no data available, but we can generate this in the first 'golden hour' of life, so we can predict issues straight away and these are often breathing related.'

This will be an important debate around the funding of such companies and the environment in which they can grow. Full details of findings will be written up in our report on 'Science Cities' shortly.


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