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UK innovation winners will bring life-enhancing products to market

STFC’s Innovations Technology Access Centre
(Credit: STFC)

12 September 2016: Three companies developing innovative products that could bring incredible benefits to people in their day to day lives have won free access to more than £3 million of cutting edge facilities to ensure they get to market as quickly as possible.

A home monitoring device for kidney disease; a portable test for diagnosing TB in undeveloped countries; and an anti-pollution mask for athletes are fantastic new products in development by the three winners of the I-TAC Challenge Competition at Sci-Tech Daresbury in Cheshire.

Open to small R&D businesses that are developing a new product or service, the competition winner receives six months free access to more than £3 million of cutting edge facilities, with a fully self-contained laboratory at the Innovations Technology Access Centre (I-TAC) at Sci-Tech Daresbury. The prize also includes specialist technology and design support through Daresbury’s new Campus Technology Hub as well as the necessary business advice that is so essential when developing and bringing a new product to market. Two very close runners up also win three months and one month access.

IF Sensing – Winner!

A spinout from the University of Manchester and Central Manchester University Teaching Hospital Trust, IF Sensing is developing an innovative and inexpensive home monitoring device for kidney disease, the first of its kind to be used in out-of-clinic settings. The device is bloodless, pain-free and will be used by kidney-disease patients, as well as the general public for monitoring kidney health. Over three million people in the UK already suffer from kidney disease and it is a major health issue across the globe, with a correspondingly high cost to healthcare systems. Empowering patients to take control of their healthcare at home, as with diabetic patients, not only improves their quality of life, it is also becoming a higher priority as pressures on healthcare systems continue to increase.

Andrew Roberts, Operations Manager at IF Sensing said: “We are absolutely thrilled to win the I-TAC Challenge Competition. Having access to all the technology, expertise and business support available at I-TAC means that over the next six months we will significantly enhance our range of prototypes and test ideas that may not otherwise have been possible, or affordable. The huge networking opportunities available at Daresbury are also a major attraction for us as we look to connect to potential development partners in the coming months."

Global BioDiagnostics

Every year more than 9 million people develop TB and nearly 2 million people worldwide are killed by it. Global Bio Diagnostics is developing low cost, hand-held tests for TB, and other infectious diseases, suitable for use in all countries of the world, which could have a huge humanitarian impact for under-developed countries.

Having already based its strategic Operations Centre at Sci-Tech Daresbury a few years ago, access to the fully equipped lab space and expertise at I-TAC means that Global BioDiagnostics will now refine their design to specifically meet the needs of resource constrained healthcare environments in under-developed countries around the world - for use by doctors that could work from a mobile unit with results in 30 minutes, instead of several days.

Hemsted & Co

A study commissioned last year by Greater London Authority and Transport for London suggested that twice as many people as previously thought die prematurely from pollution, with more than 9,500 deaths in London every year as a result. Poor air quality in cities is a major issue. People are becoming increasingly aware of the negative effects on air pollution on our health, and this is a particular concern for the millions of runners, cyclists and fitness enthusiasts who train in the city.

Technology entrepreneur, Philip Hemsted, is a triathlete and marathon runner who found that the anti-pollution training masks currently available were uncomfortable and restrictive to use for longer duration running and cycling training. With access to the fully equipped labs at I-TAC, he’ll be developing the proof of concept for a brand new type of anti-pollution mask specifically suited for use during heavy aerobic activities that will help protect against the harmful effects of pollution, whilst being comfortable and therefore without affecting performance.

I-TAC is part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) business incubation offering to support the start-up and growth of technology businesses and provides flexible and ready access to more than £3 million of cutting edge laboratory facilities supported by world leading science expertise.

Michael Norris, Head of Business Incubation at STFC said: “The sheer diversity of applications we received for the challenge is proof that I-TAC can provide real tangible benefits to small technology companies with exciting ideas, regardless of the sector they are in. We are really looking forward to supporting our winners all the way to ensure that they get the most out of their time here as they work towards addressing some of society’s key challenges.”


Notes to Editors


Wendy Ellison
Science and Technology Facilities Council
Daresbury Laboratory
01925 603232

Innovation Technology Access Centre (I-TAC)

STFC’s Innovation Technology Access Centre is a unique, fully equipped space for innovation, research and development, providing flexible access to laboratory space and scientific equipment alongside the world class science of STFC, ESA, and CERN. Companies using I-TAC are working in diverse sectors from medical biosciences, energy and the environment, to down-stream space technologies and advanced materials and the chemical sector.

Further information about the Innovation Technology Access Centre.

Further information about IF Sensing

Last updated: 12 September 2016


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