Case studies



Newcastle company Alcyomics is saving the drugs industry huge amounts of time and money with a process it has developed to test the effectiveness of stem cell and other treatments against disease.

The ‘tool’ it has commercialised – known as an assay – checks human tissue samples to detect whether a newly developed stem cell based drug, for example, would cause immunity problems and rejection of the treatment.

The assay is an outcome of more than 20 years of research by Professor Anne Dickinson and her colleagues in Newcastle University’s Institute of Cellular Medicine.

Professor Dickinson helped to launch the spin-out business which until now has operated from premises in the university.

Alcyomics’ Chief Executive Ian Scoular says the assay offers great benefits to pharmaceutical companies. In some cases it can save millions of pounds by avoiding the costs of developing potentially unviable drugs.It is also helping reduce the need for animal testing ahead of human clinical trials.

“We are getting a great amount of interest from pharmaceutical companies because of the benefits offered by the assay,” Ian explained.

Now Alcyomics is preparing to expand its business in the Newcastle area. “There is an urgent need for the type of facilities that Newcastle Science City is planning to develop at its Science Central campus,” said Ian. “The future for a biotech company like Alcyomics will be to build our intellectual property base on new ideas and inventions and we very much want to do that in Newcastle.”