A medical technology company based at a Newcastle science park has won a Government grant for its work to help develop a vaccine for Covid-19.

Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, has awarded Alcyomics £50,000 to carry out scientific support for vaccine development work.

The company, which was founded in 2007, has a human skin explant test which can detect adverse reactions to drugs and other products.

It has become the third company in The Biosphere – a life sciences hub on Newcastle’s Helix site – to get funding from a £40m Government scheme to fast-track the development of research, innovations, and ideas borne out of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company is looking to develop a simple blood screening test to identify those at most risk of a severe Covid-19 infection.

It is hoped that its work could reduce deaths in susceptible groups, enabling the economy to recover faster by reducing the number of the population off work due to their low risk status.

Alcyomics was founded by Prof Anne Dickinson following more than 30 years of research at Newcastle University.

She said: “We are proud to be able to assist with the development of a vaccine for Covid-19 by adapting our already successful technology.

“As a small North East business this fund will allow us to continue critical research that will support the world with its global fight against this virus. So many people across the world have been impacted and our screening will identify those most at risk, helping to keep more people safe.

“This funding has supported us to innovate and comes at a time where support to keep our research going vital.”

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Alcyomics is one of four in The Biosphere which are adapting existing expertise to support with the fight against coronavirus, alongside cell preservation copmany Atelerix, cancer diagnosis firm MCNA Life Sciences and research organisation ExplantLab.

Coun Ged Bell, cabinet member for employment and culture at Newcastle City Council, said: “The Biosphere is becoming a hot spot for life sciences and it is brilliant to see a funding boost that will support Alcyomics with their ambitions.

“New funding streams are critical, even more so in the current climate. Businesses who are based in The Biosphere are standing out as true innovators who are looking to make a positive impact to people’s lives.”



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