Three companies that have recently been spun out of Leicester University's Space Research Centre are the first businesses in the East Midlands to benefit from a new 'Germinator Programme' - European funding that helps early-stage healthcare businesses become self supporting.
BioAstral, Gamma Technologies and SPECTRAL-ID have all developed technologies in the field of space research, which, with the help of funding and other support worth £90,000 from the Germinator Programme, are now being adapted for the bioscience and medical sectors.
Engineers at BioAstral have developed a fluorescence detector based on cryogenic super-conducting tunnel junctions (STJs) that will be used to improve the imaging of microarrays, which are used in the discovery and testing of drugs.
Gamma Technologies is currently prototyping a handheld Mini Gamma Ray Camera for clinical applications in intensive care and operating theatres. Primary focus will be sentinel lymph node imaging, but the camera is anticipated to have wider clinical applications including intra-operative tumour location, thyroid morphology and lacrimal drainage.
Finally, SPECTRAL-ID has developed a detector that can be used find counterfeit high-value goods including pharmaceuticals. A laboratory-based prototype has been built and used in blind trials to discriminate between samples of counterfeit and genuine products obtained from major manufacturers.
The Germinator Programme, managed by Medilink East Midlands and BioCity Nottingham, is intended to fund entrepreneurial support for new companies, paying for a business expert to work with the companies for up to nine months, plus access to research data and business incubator services at the university.