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A collaboration between the University’s Department of Eye and Vision Science and a technology company has been assessed as being ‘outstanding’.
The ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnership’ (KTP) scheme helps businesses overcome challenges by directly accessing academic expertise. This allows the businesses to innovate, create academic challenge and impact and generate stimulating jobs for graduates. The partnership receives financial support from the government.
The KTP between the Department of Eye and Vision Science and Polyphotonix Ltd (PPX) has been given an ‘A’ grade by the UK’s innovation agency Innovate UK.
PPX develops light treatment for retinal diseases. Using state of the art in-house facilities in partnership with the Centre for Process Innovation, they research the application of light-based therapies.
The partnership was designed to extend the capabilities of PPX into medical diagnostic devices using knowledge existing in the Department of Eye and Vision Science
The aim of the project was to evaluate existing retinal pathology diagnostic devices to identify the limitations of current devices and to identify essential requirements needed for future devices.
As part of the partnership an associate from the Department of Eye and Vision Science, Dr Alessandro Giuliano, defined a specification for a new device and produced an early prototype for initial trials at Liverpool on health volunteers as well as embedding his knowledge into PPX via workshops and training.
The device, a “dark adaptometer”, measures the functional response of the retina to decreasing light levels, in order to determine the state of the retina through analysis of photoreceptor response.
Having determined that Dr Giuliano was such a valuable member of the PPX team they created a new post and he has now been employed by them. The scheme encourages the employment of KTP associates by industrial partners at the end of their partnerships.
The University gained invaluable experience of the conformity assessment process (sometimes referred to as the CE marking process) and the clinical trials design and approval process. It has used the KTP to develop teaching material and student projects and is in discussion with PPX on future collaborative projects.
Professor of Ophthalmic Bioengineering Rachel Williams, Department of Eye and Vision Science, said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed being involved in this KTP. It have given me invaluable insights into the way a company develops its strategy to build its business through new products and its requirements to fulfil regulatory and CE marking processes.
“It has enabled me to work more effectively with the commercial sectors in the future to translate my research”
Dr Alex Cole Chief Scientific Officer, PPX, said: “PolyPhotonix has found participation in the Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme an immensely positive experience.
“New market areas have open up as a result of the scheme and the KTP Associate has taken up a permanent position. PolyPhotonix believes that the KTP will result in significant future income and the Associate has become a well-respected and valued member of the PolyPhotonix team inside and outside of the workplace.”
For more information about KTP please visit https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/ktp/
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