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The University of Southampton
Institute for Life Sciences

IfLS associates reach European finals

Published: 22 July 2016
FedOx finalists
Left to right: Antonio, Catarina, Estrela, Gianluca, Miguel

A team of Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS) Associate Members reached the finals of a European competition with their business plan aimed at developing the first artificial blood substitute approved for clinical use in the UK.

 

The five IfLS students, from the Centre for Human Development, Stem Cells and Regeneration, battled against seven other teams at the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) Business Plan Competition finals at the organisation’s European conference in Uppsala, Sweden.

Their business plan – called FedOx - tackled the issue of an ageing society increasing the demand for blood transfusions and the potential of a blood shortage crisis due to a decline in the number of blood donations.

Team member Catarina Moura, from the IfLS, said: “FedOx aimed to develop and commercialise a safe, artificial blood substitute that would be readily available, universally compatible and did not depend on blood donations.

“There has been a fair amount of research dedicated to artificial blood substitutes and some attempts to enter the market, however, for various reasons these have failed.

“We carefully analysed the literature to combine some of the biggest advances in this field of research to create the idea behind FedOx.”

The TERMIS-EU 2016 Business Plan Competition is an exciting, entrepreneurial challenge for students and young investigators to develop a business plan, which could potentially result in the commercialisation of a tissue engineering or regenerative medicine product.

Finalists gained invaluable mentorship from an expert team of senior healthcare managers, experienced entrepreneurs, leading scientists, investors, and legal and patent consultants; were recognised for their work by academic leaders and researchers; and networked with outstanding entrepreneurs and leading healthcare companies.

The FedOx team all have a strong background in bioengineering and share an interest in entrepreneurship. The other teams members were Miguel Xavier and Antonio de Grazia, from Electronics and Computer Science; Gianluca Cidonio, from Engineering and Environment; and visiting student Estrela Neto from the University of Porto, Portugal.

The IfLS supported the team by contributing to the travel and accommodation costs of the conference.

Catarina said: “Funding from the IfLS was fundamental in allowing us to attend the conference and participate in the final stage of the competition. We were delighted to receive an Honourable Mention at the award ceremony.

“This competition was invaluable in showing us the processes behind taking a laboratory-developed product into the market. We hope this insight will help us consistently throughout our careers to drive our research on a path of clinical translation where the science we create can make a real difference to society and improve people’s lives.”

IfLS Director Professor Peter J S Smith said: “We congratulate the team on their impressive initiative and achievement in reaching the finals. Entrepreneurship is a key skill for young researchers to develop and we were delighted to have supported this endeavour.”

 

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