Research Innovation Enterprise

Biopharmaceuticals and Innovation … Professor Peter Barlow explores!

Professor Peter Barlow was recently awarded internal funding from the ISCF Partnership Development Fund to explore how society can drive forward innovation and development in the biopharmaceutical sector. He was funded to attend an engaging one day conference on Formulation Solutions for Diversifying Biopharmaceutical Portfolios.

The conference, organised by the Knowledge Transfer Network and hosted at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB), brought together leading industry experts and academics from the sector (aka the Biopharmaceutical Formulation Group (‘BFG’)). They explored some of the challenges around different formulation methods for generating biopharmaceuticals and how relevant expertise can promote innovation and development in this area. As a Professor of Immunology and Infection at Edinburgh Napier University’s School of Applied Sciences, this is of particular relevance to Professor Barlow’s own work which aims to understand how key proteins of the human immune system can be modified and used to treat bacterial and viral infections.

Key Highlights

Particular highlights of the day included:

  • AstraZeneca Talk: From the perspective of a multinational pharma company, they spoke on how funding from DARPA led them to run a project that optimised methods for nanoparticle delivery of mRNA therapeutics (mRNAs are large molecules that can instruct the cells of the body to produce a particular protein).
  • SMEs and Spin-Outs: A handful of SMEs and university spin-outs presented on the manner in which their specific process, or processes, could be exploited either for a single use, or in a translational nature, across different opportunities.
  • University Licensing: During discussions, University representatives outlined how some of their institutions have been extremely pro-active in licensing their bio-technologies to industry. This promotes the sector’s development as they are able to tap into the UK’s excellent research base.
  • ISCF Opportunities: The KTN outlined the ISCF and other relevant funding streams and how these can help take a fundamental research output to a translational medical technology or therapeutic. This also illustrated the fundamental importance of developing industrial partnerships to drive forward research.

Overall, the event gave an extremely diverse overview of the biopharmaceutical industry in the UK and demonstrated how different academic institutions addressed the challenges and opportunities involved in the discovery and development of new medicines.

ISCF Funding

If you wish to discuss the ISCF and relevant opportunities, please get in touch with RIO’s Knowledge Exchange Manager, Georgina Jamieson (

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