Mathys and Squire Partner, Anna Gregson, recently attended Biofocus 2018, a life sciences conference bringing industry, academics and experts together to discuss innovative initiatives and developments within the field.
Elaine Warburton of QuantuMDx kicked off the proceedings with an inspiring keynote presentation about working on handheld point-of care diagnostics that can be easily taken to, and used in, parts of the world without easy access to hospitals and laboratories. A real North-Eastern success story with global implications!
As with most conferences, Brexit was the mot du jour and a â€śState of the Nationâ€ť panel session discussed Brexit and the upcoming challenges companies, particularly in the biotech sector.
The general consensus? Companies need to be actively taking steps to make sure their businesses are ready for a post-Brexit environment - although this is difficult when so much uncertainty remains.
As such, SMEs need a strong support network to help them achieve commercial success and subsequent sessions showed how to put this theory into practice. Talks from NEPIC, the Centre for Process Innovation and the new National Horizons Centre (due to open March 2019) alongside showcase presentations from three North Eastern innovators, showed once again how the North East punches above its weight in technological innovation.
The afternoon focused a subject in which Newcastle University is a global leader - ageing research.
Newcastleâ€™s cutting-edge research in this field has been a highlight of the BioFocus conference since the conference first ran in 2016 and this year was no exception as the second keynote presentation of the day linked cutting edge research in both age-related diseases (such as cancers and neurodegenerative conditions) and nanomedicine.
Anna noted that â€świth world class research and an excellent support network and thriving innovation ecosystem, biotech innovators in the North East are well placed to weather the challenges posed by Brexit â€“ but they would be wise to bear in mind the old Axiom â€“ to fail to prepare is to prepare to fail â€“ and make sure they ready themselves for the changes ahead, and seek appropriate advice.â€ť
Anna graduated from the University of Cambridge with a first class MA honours degree in natural sciences, specialising in pathology. She went on to obtain a PhD in biochemistry from Manchester University. Anna has experience in a wide range of subject matter in the fields of biotechnology and life sciences, including therapeutic antibodies, plant biotechnology and stem cells.