Med-City cluster aims to commercialise healthcare research

A major new medical research and translation initiative has been launched at Imperial College London. 

Dubbed MedCity, the venture brings together centres of medical research in London, Cambridge and Oxford as they work to translate their research into new healthcare applications.

The new body, which is modelled on the Tech City Investment Organisation, is aimed at positioning the London-Oxford-Cambridge life sciences sector as a world-leading cluster.

MedCity has been established by the Mayor of London and Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre, King’s Health Partners and UCLPartners with cooperation from the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford.

The organisation’s advisory board includes Imperial’s Vice President (Health) Prof Dermot Kelleher, Sir Paul Nurse, director of the Crick Institute, alongside entrepreneurs including Dr Hermann Hauser as well as leading political, medical and charitable representatives.

MedCity is funded by £2.92m from the Higher Education Funding Council for England and £1.2m from the Mayor of London’s Office.

‘Together with Oxford and Cambridge we form a ‘golden triangle’ of scientific innovation and we need to channel that intellectual pre-eminence into a positive impact on our economy,’ London mayor Boris Johnson said in a statement. ‘MedCity will span everything from research to clinical trials to manufacturing, across biotech, med tech and health tech. I am in no doubt that having the whole ‘chain’ from small spin-offs to massive companies doing their research, clinical development and manufacturing here in London and the south east can be as important to our economy as the financial services sector is today.’

MedCity is supported by Imanova, an imaging company formed by Imperial in collaboration with the Medical Research Council, UCL and King’s.

A motion-tracking device being developed by Imanova scientists is based on a Microsoft Kinect camera, which is used to track movements and then generate complex three-dimensional images. In brain scanning studies, the resulting image is used to ensure an accurate, unblurred scan, an important factor for patients who have difficulty remaining still.

Dr Kevin Cox, CEO of Imanova, said: ‘We are fully behind MedCity as it will position London as the undisputed leader for translational medicine in Europe; increasing inward investment, expanding collaborations and supporting growth. As a leading centre for imaging sciences this will greatly enhance Imanova’s ability to attract business from around the world.’