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C-TRIC

Barry Henderson is Business Development Manager of C-TRIC – Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre – a multi-faceted centre that takes groundbreaking ideas from lab bench to point-of-care

Massive commercial potential

“Around the world hundreds of millions of pounds are spent each year on medical research yet you would be surprised at how little results in a viable end product, despite the huge potential for commercial reward”. Barry Henderson, Business Development Manager of C-TRIC, believes the problem is that “researchers often fail to target the key problems that need addressing, while clinicians aren’t always aware of the technological advances being made.”

The Way Forward

So, putting researchers and clinicians together to pioneer clinical and translational research (where ideas are developed for clinical application from lab bench to point-of-care) seems like the obvious way forward. “Those who know where the main areas of unmet clinical need are”, Barry says, “work alongside those at the forefront of technological advances.”

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C-TRIC Open

Add state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, highly trained technicians, access to top academic and medical expertise and NHS clinical trials alongside networking with leading business people and you have the thinking behind the formation of the groundbreaking C-TRIC (Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre) five years ago.

Multi-faceted Centre

A joint partnership between Derry City Council, the University of Ulster and the Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT), the multi-faceted centre was created to develop innovative health technologies, medical devices, diagnostics and therapeutics.

State-of-the-art-facilities

One of only two such centres in the UK, C-TRIC is based in the grounds of Altnagelvin Area Hospital in Derry~Londonderry. The state-of-the-art facilities on offer in the 11,250 sq ft building include two fully equipped clinical consultation rooms, a blood science and biomedical processing laboratory, a cell culture laboratory and a biological sample storage facility as well as offices and workspace.

Expertise On Hand

Barry works with Chief Executive Dr Maurice O’Kane, Clinical Research Technician Maranna Sweeney and Senior Administrator Patricia Moran as well as several clinical research nurses. They also have the considerable expertise of the Centre for Stratified Medicine on site (see separate case study), and can call on the services of highly skilled bio medical scientists and engineers, as well as tapping into Derry’s groundbreaking IT expertise too.

PATHWAY TO SUCCESS

“What we do at C-TRIC”, Barry says, ” is to create a pathway where ideas are generated in tandem by academics and clinicians, then developed through to their final commercial application in collaboration with industry. This way the time to market, as well as the costs of research and development, is significantly reduced.”

Expertise On Hand

Barry works with Chief Executive Dr Maurice O’Kane, Clinical Research Technician Maranna Sweeney and Senior Administrator Patricia Moran as well as several clinical research nurses. They also have the considerable expertise of the Centre for Stratified Medicine on site (see separate case study), and can call on the services of highly skilled bio medical scientists and engineers, as well as tapping into Derry’s groundbreaking IT expertise too.

CTRIC

Personalised Medicine

C-TRIC specialises in personalised medicine, in which genetic testing ensures the right treatment for the right person at the right time. As Barry says, “Our DNA is unique to us all. That means that we can often react differently to medicines. At C-TRIC one of our main objectives is to help achieve significant breakthroughs in personalised medicine, creating easy to use point-of-care testing devices which can help identify the right treatment for the right person.”

Main Roles

C-TRIC has three core functions – clinical research, bio-incubation and contract research – and also hosts the NI Centre for Stratified Medicine (see separate study).

Clinical Research

In just five years C-TRIC has earned a worldwide reputation for academic led clinical research in areas such as diabetes, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, nutrition and biomarkers (which indicate the presence of disease). As well as the high quality laboratories on site, there are also facilities for processing of clinical samples, very important given that components of such materials can quickly degrade if they are not stabilised prior to analysis.

NHS Access

“A key advantage of C-TRIC for clinical research purposes,” Barry says, “is that it has direct access into the National Health Service. Not only does this include a huge range of clinical expertise and the ability to recruit participants for clinical studies and trials but means products can be evaluated, tested and potentially adopted by the world’s largest healthcare provider. It also gives our researchers access to a vast bank of clinical trial data.”

Top Rated Research Unit

C-TRIC also works with the University of Ulster’s Biomedical Sciences Research Institute – the only such unit in the UK university system to achieve top rating in every UK RAE since 1996.

TUDA Study

The centre runs around 40 high quality trials commissioned by the pharmaceutical industry each year. A typical example was TUDA, in which C-TRIC recruited 1,200 people in order to collect detailed clinical, lifestyle, dietary, genetic and biochemical data to help investigate gene-nutrient interactions in the development of conditions such as Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis. The study, which employed cognitive function tests, access to a bone density scanner and genetic testing, saw this recruitment achieved in a speedy eight months.

Contract Research

Because of their expertise, facilities and connections, C-TRIC regularly undertakes research for companies around the world. Typical of this high level work is a study completed for medical device company Nova Biomedical, based in Massachusetts. “They were attracted to work with us because of Dr O’Kane’s reputation as a clinical biochemist,” Barry says. “They commissioned us to test the effectiveness of point-of-care testing devices for diabetes, in which they are the world leader.”

The advantage of outsourcing this work to C-TRIC? They offer high value and quicker turn around times (70 days in this case) with considerably less bureaucracy and paperwork, speedily obtaining the relevant ethics and research governance approvals. Their global reputation for quality also adds considerable weight to any study.

Bio – Incubation

One of the key functions of the centre is as a thriving innovation hub for Research and Development in Life Sciences, helping individuals and companies flourish and grow in a supportive environment. Barry helps smaller companies find funding opportunities and identify the appropriate clinicians to champion them.

“Companies come to us to get projects off the ground,” Barry says, “to evaluate them and take them to the stage were they can be procured or signposted to private investors. We will also increasingly be working as a pipeline of new ideas and technologies for the new science park across the city.”

You don’t have to be a big company to utilise this unique environment either. Some, like 3Square, can be just one person. Siobhan Kirkham used the centre to develop a unique healthy eating app for the iPhone that helps users measure and keep track of all the nutrition they get from the food, to ensure a healthy, balanced diet.

Bio-Entrepreneur Programme

C-TRIC also runs this dynamic programme which encourages entrepreneurs, innovators, and start-ups to develop innovative products for healthcare, whether it’s software, medical devices, diagnostics or therapies. C-TRIC provides tailored support, including lab access for twelve months and access to appropriate mentors.

To enquire about C-Tric contact The Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre

Altnagelvin Hospital campus,
Glenshane Road,
Derry/Londonderry BT47 6SB
Northern Ireland

Tel: +44(0) 28 7161 1249
Email: info@c-tric.com