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Edinburgh BioQuarter Innovation Competition - improving the success of liver transplant surgery.

Edinburgh BioQuarter Innovation Competition - improving the success of liver transplant surgery.

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A transplant surgeon from the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh has scooped first prize of £15,000 in the Edinburgh BioQuarter Innovation Competition for his potentially ground-breaking invention to help improve the success of liver transplant surgery.

The winner, Ian Currie, a consultant transplant surgeon at NHS Lothian and honorary senior lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, has come up with a novel way of measuring the fat content of livers being considered for use in transplant surgery.  The hope is that his research will lead to the development of a medical device that will help surgeons better predict the viability of livers destined for transplantation thereby improving the outcome of the liver transplant for the recipient.

This annual innovation competition is only open to staff at NHS Lothian and staff and postgraduate students at the University of Edinburgh and encourages entrants to share their ideas for the improvement of human or animal health, with iPads and cash prizes worth £30,000 up for grabs.

Now in its fourth year, the Innovation Competition has delivered some £90,000 of prize money to thirty winners over the years, and seen three of the winning entrants go on to form companies based on the concept presented in this competition. These include Pharmatics Limited, a data analysis company for drug development and Cytomos Limited, creators of the world’s first desk-top cell sorting device for use in medical research and diagnostics.

Dr Mike Capaldi, Commercialisation Director of the Edinburgh BioQuarter, said: “This is the fourth year that Edinburgh BioQuarter has run the competition and we continue to be impressed by the number of ideas and the level of innovation shown by all entrants. This year’s calibre of entries has been very high.” 

“We have already seen novel products and companies reaching the market from previous years’ winners and I don’t expect this year to be any different.  Once again, I believe this just goes to demonstrate the strength and depth of biomedical innovation within the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian and the commitment that our clinicians and academics have to make a difference in improving people’s lives.”

The 2014 Competition is sponsored by the City of Edinburgh Council’s Innovation and Enterprise Team (Principal Sponsor), as well as Marks & Clerk, a leading firm of patent and trade mark attorneys; MBM Commercial, a niche law firm focused on advising entrepreneurial start-ups and their investors; and Springfords, accountants and business growth specialists.

Greg Ward, Director of Economic Development with the City of Edinburgh Council said: "The Council, and Edinburgh Science Triangle, are delighted to play a part in encouraging creative business ideas within Edinburgh's life science sector. We look forward to hearing more on how the ideas develop over time. Congratulations to all the winners."

Dr Richard Gibbs of patent attorneys Marks & Clerk said: "The standard of entries keeps getting better and better and we’ve been really excited by the ideas this year. The BioQuarter Innovation Competition is a valuable opportunity to progress innovation towards commercial reality and we're looking forward to helping the winners do just that.”

Julie Nixon, Trainee at law firm MBM Commercial said; “It was difficult to choose a winner from an exceptionally high standard of entrant.  Ian's pitch stood out with a medical device which is easy to use and which provides a novel and potentially ground-breaking solution to an unmet and important clinical need.”

Carol Wright, Partner of accountant and business advisors Springfords said: "We've been really impressed with the quality of good ideas coming through the competition and look forward to seeing these ideas become commercial realities which will help improve global health in the years ahead"

The top five entries in the competition were selected by a panel of experts from BioQuarter and sponsors and received their prizes at an awards ceremony last night (11 June).

Winning entries not only receive prize money and support from the BioQuarter Commercialisation Team, but also expert advice from our sponsors on intellectual property (Marks & Clerk), company growth (MBM Commercial) and taxation and finance (Springfords).

The 2014 winners: to see videos of the winners click here

1st place   

Development of a device to measure liver fat

Ian Currie, Consultant Transplant Surgeon and Honorary Senior Lecturer, NHS Lothian


Joint 2nd place

yeS: A helping hand tool

Fern Sinclair, PhD Student, University of Edinburgh


Control of Clostridium difficile spores in hospitals

Justin Barclay, MSc student, University of Edinburgh


Highly Commended

Kinase Inhibitors for Targeted Breast Cancer

Craig Fraser, PhD Student, Edinburgh Cancer Research UK Centre, University of Edinburgh


Edinburgh EndoResponse4 (EER4)

Dr Arran Turnbull, Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Team, University of Edinburgh.

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