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Setsquared Programme

  • Digital Health Technology Case Study: BioSystems Technology

    Exeter start-up creates ethical alternative for disease and drug testing

    Ethical alternatives to animal testing is being driven by technology, with Exeter firm BioSystems Technology leading the way in providing a more reliable and humane technique.

    Global testing on animals is estimated to be as high as 115 million globally every year. Yet tighter regulations and rising costs have increased the pressure on the industry to find a more humane alternative. Dr Olivia Champion, CEO of BioSystems Technology, has developed research-grade larvae, which can act as a substitute for testing diseases, poisons and new drugs.

    Getting the right support for growth

    A spin out of University of Exeter, BioSystems Technology was supported by SETsquared, a partnership between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey that supports high-tech start-ups.

    The ground-breaking nature of BioSystems Technology and work done by Dr Champion was acknowledged in March when she was named one of the ‘top 50 entrepreneurs’ at an event in the House of Commons. Dr Champion was one of eight entrepreneurs based in Exeter who honoured business for innovation, growth and accessing global markets by SETsquared.

    Joe Pearce, Head of Business Support at SETsquared’s centre in Exeter, said: “This is a great example of the pioneering thinking coming out of the university environment that incubators like SETsquared has supported to become a reality.

    “Exeter is a hub of technology and health companies and it is exciting to see new approaches to age-old concerns be challenged with technology. BioSystems Technology has presented a new way of undertaking testing that enhances the reliability and reputation of the digital health technology sector.”

    Technological advancement to enhance safety testing

    BioSystems Technology’s product TruLarv is a specially-bred moth larvae, which could reduce the use of mammals by as high as 90 per cent. Dr Champion explains that although larvae’s potential as an alternative was known, there were obstacles in availability and quality.
    “TruLarv is standardised, decontaminated larvae that is a cost-effective substitute for testing diseases and new drugs. This method produces robust data and is straightforward and quicker than using mammals.

    “Based in Exeter we are surrounded by a wealth of support that has enabled us to quickly launch our business and facilitate access to international markets, selling to the UK, as well as the EU and US,” added Dr Champion.
  • Digital Tech Case Study: Seedata

    SETsquared sees the potential in Exeter software firm

    Bespoke mobile and web software firm, Seedata has experienced great success since it was founded in 2010. Starting as a digital web agency, Seedata utilised collaborations to expand operations and focus more on innovative products.

    Regional opportunities

    Partnerships have been a key business success factor for Seedata. Managing Director, John James, explained: "Links and collaborations with regional partners are important to us and have formed the basis of some of our greatest innovations."

    The firm worked with South West Academic Health Science Network (SWAHSN) to create a quality improvement platform for health and social care (Life QI), which is now active in 25 countries, its fastest growing user bases in the UK, USA and New Zealand. 

    Working with the university, as part of their connection with SETsquared, Seedata is working on innovative text analytics looking at patient experience and student writing styles, with a goal to enhance scalable data analysis.

    Adding to its accolades, managing director John James has been listed as one of the ‘top 50 entrepreneurs’ by SETsquared at an event held at the House of Commons.

    A partnership between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey, SETsquared aims to provide a range of support services for aspiring tech start-ups. Being part of the SETsquared programme has enabled Seedata to access the contacts and advice needed to maximise opportunities in industry and working alongside the university.

    Joe Pearce, Head of Business Support at SETsquared’s centre in Exeter, said: “Seedata is actively working alongside the university and businesses to bring innovations to market through their world class software. The business is a real success story for Exeter and has utilised local connections to build business opportunities, growing their business into an identified gap in the market.”

    Exeter sees growth in tech

    Exeter has become a hive of tech-related businesses, attracting some innovative firms across a variety of industries. Sharing of knowledge, support from incubators like SETsquared, modern office space, and transportation links are increasing the desirability of the city.

    When expanding and looking for new offices, Seedata chose to stay within the city and moved to the Exeter Science Park for its excellent transport links. John added: “Because our clients are based all over the world, one of the most important business considerations for us is our location.

    “We spend a lot of time travelling to meetings, so being based at the Science Park right next to the M5 and Exeter airport is fantastic. As a young and progressive company, being part of the fast-paced environment at the Science Park is perfect for us. We have been through a busy period and are looking to grow even more, so being surrounded by like-minded people gives us the opportunity to network and benefit from other companies' expertise.”

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