The Neurogastroenterology group recognises the importance of innovation, intellectual property (IP) and commercial enterprise and therefore works closely with the innovation centre set up by the School of Medicine and Dentistry. Professor Williams has set up ‘ENTERIC’, the Bowel Function Healthcare Technology Co-operative, which is one of two pilot co-operatives funded by the Department of Health in collaboration with the Technology Strategy Board and the Research Councils. The role of a Healthcare Technology Co-operative is to act as a national focus for technology pull into the NHS within a specific clinical area of unmet need. The Co-operative is particularly focussed on disorders of GI function and brings together all the relevant stakeholders to develop, evaluate and promote adoption of new technologies and improve clinical practice. At present, ENTERIC is supporting six fully-funded Technology Development Partnerships and with core funding of up to £250,000 per year, has attracted £1.4 million of external project funding for our partners who are developing technologies that have the potential to benefit over 500,000 patients and generate an estimated five-year world-wide sales value of £30 million for our commercial partners.
Examples of innovative technology development within the Neurogastroenterology group include neuromodulation of gut sensory motor pathways such as vagal nerve stimulation for visceral sensory motor disorders, novel thermal stimulation device for the human gut, use of neurophysiological techniques to study human gut sensory motor pathways etc.
Recent appointments of Professor G Sanger and Dr D Bulmer from industry to the GI neuroscience Group through the Skills Gap Award has helped to strengthen our links with the pharmaceutical industry and a number of academic and commercial ventures are currently in various stages of implementation.