Oxford’s Department of Engineering Science gives early cancer detection a boost at Culham Innovation Centre

Sandie Alcock of Culham Innovation Centre in one of the newly refurbished labs
Picture: Ric Mellis

Sandie Alcock of Culham Innovation Centre in one of the newly refurbished labs Picture: Ric Mellis 8/06/2016 Culham Innovation Centre Catchline: Culham IC redecorate Requested; Kelly Lea PR - Credit: Ric Mellis

The medical diagnostics sector, including those which may aid early detection of cancer, is being given a boost at Culham Innovation Centre with two medical device companies making the facility the base from which to further develop cutting-edge technology.

Both companies, Enhanced Medical and Active Needle Technology, have taken technology researched and invented in the UK to the next stage, bringing medical devices to market which may aid in detection and subsequent early treatment.

A spin-out from Oxford’s Department of Engineering Science, Oxford Enhanced Medical has developed an imaging technology which could help doctors detect cancers, particularly prostate and liver tumours. According to the World Health Organisation, early detection greatly increases the chances for successful treatment and Oxford Enhanced Medical’s technology will allow for improved visualisation of tumours helping doctors to achieve this early detection.

From outside, to inside, Active Needle Technology’s needle actuating device enables precision needle targeting from clinicians for improved biopsies. A medical device start-up using proprietary technology developed at the University of Dundee, Active Needle Technology will continue to develop the precision medical needles from a new base at Culham Innovation Centre.

One of the inventors of the Oxford Enhanced Medical technology, Prof. David Edwards MA PhD CEng FIET FRAS, said: “Culham has long been synonymous with science and technology. At Culham Innovation Centre we are in the right environment for sharing of expertise and on a purely practical level we have been able to have laboratory space developed specifically to our specifications.

“Additionally, as a truly multinational group of partners and investors it was essential that we were well served by transport links with easy access to the rest of the country as well as airports. Practicalities such as these all help to accelerate the development of this very innovative and promising technology.”

Established in January 2016 Active Needle Technology anticipates a principal proto-type of the needle to be ready for final approval in the summer and to be in use by next year. With continued product development at the forefront of his mind, Ian Quirk, CEO, decided on the move to Culham Innovation Centre for a number of reasons, commenting;

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“Our move to Culham heralds the next phase for Active Needle Technology. It is located at the heart of the Science Vale and certainly ‘feels’ like a place one can share experiences and collaborate, plugging into other device expertise should the need arise. These factors, and the tremendous flexibility of the offer, were essential to us when looking for a base.

“We currently have two full-time employees and expect to grow a core team steadily over the coming years. These long-term plans can all be met from our base here at Culham Innovation Centre and the location will also enable us to tap into the wealth of expertise and talent when we are looking to recruit.”

Sandie Alcock, centre manager of Culham and Harwell Innovation Centres for Oxford Innovation, said: “We have a number of well established science and technology companies and with the arrival of Enhanced Medical and Active Needle Technology there is an opportunity to create a diagnostics network right here in the building.

“The technology being progressed within the Centre is ground-breaking and with the potential to be life-saving focuses all our thoughts to ensure that myself and the team support each and every company in the day-to-day function of running a business, from administrative support through to finding the right space within the Centre for expansion when the time comes.”

Culham Innovation Centre has over 10,000 sq. ft. of office space, lab and workshop space with suites available from 100 sq. ft. and is home to a number of science and technology businesses. Culham Innovation Centre is managed by Oxford Innovation. New and established businesses that move to the centre can benefit from a unique Technical Support Package making the centre a prime location for any science or technology business.

For further information visit: www.culham-ic.co.uk

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