Improving our understanding of viruses to help develop new medicines

Based on research at University College London, Arrow Therapeutics has developed an array of potential candidates for novel anti-viral drugs. Basic Research by Professor Ian Charles into molecular pathogenicity led to the creation of a novel technology termed Transposon-mediated Differential Hybridisation (TMDH), which allows researchers to analyse the genes of a target organism.

Arrow therapeutics was purchased by Astra Zeneca in 2007 for around $150m in cash, generating large financial returns for the researchers and the university. The products being developed by the company work to combat important pathogens such as Hepatitis C and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV): they could therefore have enormous impacts on healthcare, and potentially save many lives.

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Reducing blood transfusions to lower patient risk, reduce costs and save lives

More than half a million people in the UK receive a blood transfusion each year and demand is increasing. Our ageing population, and a stringent donor selection process, mean the supply of blood is limited. 40% fewer new donors came forward last year compared with a decade ago. Recognising these challenges, researchers at the University of Edinburgh have shown the benefits of reducing the use of blood transfusions in intensive care and surgery.

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