Alcyomics are one of four businesses based in The Biosphere that received a share of a £40million government investment for scientific research around the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. The company received £75,000 to carry out critical scientific support in the production of a vaccine for Covid-19.
We talk to Alcyomics about their research, how it aided the production of a Covid-19 vaccine and why Newcastle Helix is an important location for them to be able to innovate and collaborate to develop new products and services.
Can you tell us about how have adapted your service provision to support vital research for COVID-19?
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have adapted our expertise to develop a suite of human-based assays specifically designed to aid research into the virus causing COVID 19, SARS-CoV-2. Alcyomics has put together several assays designed to aid in the identification of new drug targets for COVID-19 and an assessment of safety and efficacy of new and re-purposed drug candidates. Ultimately, we will develop a simple blood screening test to identify those most at risk of a severe COVID-19 infection. This work looks to reduce the mortality and morbidity rates by assessing susceptible groups, enabling the economy to recover faster by reducing the number of the population off work due to their low risk status.
Are there any other ground breaking developments you are currently working on, or received new funding for?
Alcyomics has developed unique non-animal non-artificial human skin explant assays (Skimune® & Skimune®3D) which can test for safety and efficacy of novel drugs and compounds including cosmetics. Skimune® and Skimune® 3D have been developed by using human skin, tissue and blood therefore giving a human response to the compounds rather than, the currently used, animal models. Alcyomics innovative assays enable the products of the pharmaceutical, chemical and cosmetic industries to reach the clinic and/or the market place quicker by early assessment of their safety profiles.
We have recently improved our service offering by the aid of Innovate UK funding by developing Skimune®3D in a 96 well format. The 96 well format allows for high throughput screening saving clients both money and time and Skimune®3D enables multiple dose testing and information on patient drug dosage prior to clinical trial.
We have also been successful with another project through Innovate UK to further develop Skimune® 3D by bioprinting Skimune®3D and validate the bioprinted model for safety testing, therefore creating a more standardised service offering.
A further project that Alcyomics are working on is in the final stages, and whilst under development and IP secured, we are cautious about divulging more detail but we can say it is a disease model that we have bioprinted that will allow drug development companies, pharmaceutical companies and CRO’s to test the predictability and efficacy of their novel drugs and compounds.
Alcyomics are a partner in the Northern Alliance Advanced Therapies Treatment Centre. What can you tell us about your involvement in the project?
Alcyomics were crucial in the development of, and is now a key partner in, the Northern Alliance Advanced Therapies Treatment Centre (NA-ATTC).
Established in 2018, the NA-ATTC is a consortium of twenty NHS, industry and academic organisations from across Scotland and the North of England, established to develop protocols and pipelines for the easy treatment of rare disease and implementation of novel therapies. It is currently the largest of three such UK centres, and reaches 15 million patients across two healthcare systems.
As a partner in the NA-ATTC, Alcyomics is integral to the 4-year set up phase of the centre and is specifically supporting the establishment of the Delivery, Institutional Support and Readiness and Informatics work packages. Additionally, our Skimune® platform is the primary platform used to test the safety, efficacy and potency of advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) developed through the centre.
Newcastle Helix fosters collaboration and innovation between businesses, researchers, and scientists. How has being based in The Biosphere contributed to your work?
At the start of the pandemic, it was good to talk to other companies within The Biosphere to see if there was any way we could work together to support the NHS and Government with testing and vaccine development. Although, joint ventures did not take place it has opened lines of communication to work together on other projects and to share learning. Being on Newcastle Helix you not only get to work with other life sciences businesses co-locating in The Biosphere but the whole eco-system of academics, businesses, and researchers on site. We are very proud to be part of such an innovative community which is working towards tackling some of society’s most pressing issues, helping people to live healthier and longer lives.
Find out more information and updates from Alcyomics, visit https://alcyomics.com/