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Charnwood based Nemaura Pharma is one of Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park’s (LUSEP) most successful and long-standing tenants, and active members of the LATi community of scientists, engineers and technologists.
Founded in 2005, the biotech company has a significant pipeline of innovative drug delivery systems under pre-clinical and clinical development – with patents secured or pending in multiple countries across numerous patent families. These innovative med-techs have applications across a range of conditions including Alzheimer’s Disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and migraine.
Nemaura has successfully secured investment, totalling more than £24.5 million in licensing and development payments from global licensees and private investors, as well as five highly competitive Government grants.
Both are novel alternatives to traditional hypodermic needle drug delivery, and both have far-reaching healthcare applications.
What’s more, they are designed to increase the effectiveness and safety of therapeutic drugs, reducing complications due to patient non-compliance whilst mitigating the side effects of less efficient delivery systems.
Dr Faz Chowdhury, the company’s Founder and CEO offered these insights about the company’s success:
Believe in what you’re doing
As an undergraduate, I studied pharmacy and became very interested in drug-delivery systems. It became apparent that existing technologies weren’t appropriate for many drugs and not suitable for countless patients. So, as a postgraduate, I decided to specialise in nanotechnologies and address the issue.
By developing novel drug delivery systems, I can help to tackle a range of healthcare challenges – spanning needle phobia to ease diabetics’ day-to-day routines, real-time health monitoring, and improved world health via improved vaccine longevity.
This passion – and the belief that I’m contributing something worthwhile – is a real driver to succeed.
Develop a deep knowledge of your market
Keeping up to date with developments in your field and how they impact on your product and specialism is essential.
It’s crucial to gain a deep and thorough understanding of your area. Study the market and the challenges your product will address and come up with a novel, but realistic way to solve it. Keep in mind the regulatory considerations and manufacture scalability from the outset.
If you have a first-rate product or idea that plugs a gap in the market, others will value and want it. There’s really no point in simply replicating what’s already available.
So, for example, Micro-PatchTM grew out of the need for a cost efficient and effective way to support the vaccination programmes called for by the World Health Organisation’s Global Vaccine Action Plan.
The storage and transportation of conventional liquid formulations is expensive and the drugs themselves carry dangerous stability risks, if stored incorrectly. In solid-form, the same drugs can remain biologically stable and effective for several months.
Hence, the interest in our product. It offers a novel solution to a real problem, reducing costs and enhancing efficacy.
I hope that one day Nemaura products will be used worldwide to help combat diseases that currently kill thousands, simply for lack of sustainable vaccination programmes.
Protect your intellectual property
An important element of your market knowledge – irrespective of your product or sector – should be in the area of intellectual property (IP).
You need to be prepared to actively protect your own IP whilst not infringing someone’s existing rights.
The process can seem daunting and expensive, but your IP is a valuable asset that needs safeguarding. It raises your profile in the marketplace, enhancing your credibility, and boosting your market value whilst helping to attract funding.
What’s more, it’s difficult to attract investment if your technology is not protected. In the absence of IP protection, others are able to exploit the same ideas – diluting the commercial potential of your technology.
If IP is new to you, seek advice and support to ensure you get it right – rather than wish you had. In the field of medicine and medical devices it is imperative to secure IP, and all-the-more important to ensure this is done through professional patent attorneys to ensure the highest levels of protection.
Seek help and advice from those in the know
Know your strengths and surround yourself with people who complement them.
Don’t assume you know everything about every aspect of business – there’s no reason why you should. Everyone has their field of expertise. It’s important – particularly in the early days or if you diversify – to draw on the knowledge and experience of others.
It’s unlikely, for example, that you will have licensed technology to a global company before, and so having developed or embarked on a development, it’s important to seek the guidance of seasoned commercialisation and licensing experts to ensure you secure terms that are mutually attractive.
Choose your business location carefully
Nemaura has been based in LUSEP’s innovation community since August 2015. It is a vibrant and enterprising environment and has excellent facilities. We have been able to build state-of-the-art laboratories here, and there is ample space for us to grow.
We also have very useful neighbours who have skills and knowledge to support our development. For example, Cresco Innovation which specialises in securing funding have helped us win Government grants to conduct proof of concept studies for our vaccine delivery system.
Being on the University campus, and part of the East Midlands’ life sciences cluster, also gives us access to expertise and a first-class recruitment pipeline. I believe that strong links with academia are essential to our product development activity. Our well-established links with academic researchers are invaluable when we need to revisit fundamental scientific principles.
To find out more about Nemaura, particularly if you are interested in licensing or collaborating on its innovative products, please visit www.nemaura.co.uk
Article written by Anna Leather of Loughborough University
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