The Oxford AHSN region has significant strengths in diagnostics, being home to around 20 global companies and over 50 SMEs. This is supported by the region’s great strengths in the research and clinical space, providing the facilities and skills needed for industry engagement. These features provide the opportunity to build a strong and vibrant diagnostics platform across the region.
The diagnostics industry is currently undergoing some profound changes, influenced by a number of powerful forces:
- The development of new biomarkers for the stratification of diseases and patient populations
- The increasing use of genomics and other “–omics” technologies and their linkage with new algorithms for determining disease correlations
- Changes in the delivery of care pathways in the NHS in line with the challenges faced in the NHS Five Year Forward View and in particular new opportunities in point-of-care testing, and other rapid methods of diagnostic analysis.
- A recognition that early recognition and diagnosis of diseases can reduce pathway costs
- New approaches to diagnostic imaging
Besides these challenges, diagnostics companies within the UK also have to look at new ways of defining the value of any new diagnostic test within changing care pathways, overcoming barriers to adoption, and the upcoming changes in regulations. Our diagnostic programme seeks to help companies overcome these hurdles:
Diagnostics Industry Advisory Council (DIAC): The DIAC companies meet with the Oxford AHSN twice a year to discuss current issues of interest and challenges faced. The Oxford AHSN and DIAC companies work together through the year on issues of mutual concern. The Oxford AHSN leadership also aims to visit each DIAC member’s corporate office at least once a year to discuss issues related to product, marketing and governmental affairs.
European Diagnostics Cluster Association (EDCA): The Oxford AHSN is a representative on the EDCA Board, and is now able to support the local diagnostics industry on an international level. EDCA provides companies with support the new in vitro diagnostics regulations announced in Summer 2016 and provides a partnering forum for networking into Europe.
Local diagnostics test bed: The region is ideally placed to become one of the leading test bed sites to conduct real world evaluation of combinatorial innovations integrating new diagnostic technologies and service models. We are carrying out a number of real world evaluations using point of care diagnostics in our local test bed. Results are shared in the diagnostics workshops for NHS and industry, held 2-3 times a year.