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UK-Shanghai Collaboration: pioneering Thames Valley business wins funding

16:13 03 October in Asia Pacific, China, Markets

Oxford-based Genefirst is one of 10 UK companies that will partner with 10 Shanghai companies on joint innovative manufacturing, smart cities and healthcare. Genefirst are working with Fosun Med-Tech to develop a non-invasive test for cancer gene mutations.

The projects will be funded by Innovate UK and the Science and Technology Department of Shanghai Municipality (STCSM). Funding for the winning projects comes from a joint UK-Shanghai competition for:

  • future cities solutions relating to rapid urbanisation, demographic and social change, resource scarcity and climate change
  • new and novel products, processes or services drawn from any technology, engineering or industrial area. There was particular interest in healthcare and life sciences, advanced manufacturing and green technology.

Dr Ruth McKernan, Innovate UK’s Chief Executive, said:

“Collaboration is essential to innovation and through this competition we are backing some exceptional UK businesses to work with partners in Shanghai and take advantage of the opportunity to help shape the future of global technology.”

Dr Winnie Wu, Commercial Manager, Genefirst UK, added:

“GeneFirst Ltd is very pleased to be involved in this exciting venture in collaboration with Shanghai and Innovate UK.  The development of a novel assay for detecting circulating tumour nucleic acid that overcomes current limitations in terms of accuracy and sensitivity is key to improving patient outcomes and to assisting diagnostic laboratories in the early diagnosis and the delivery of personalised medicine.”

The UK and China are increasingly working together as strategic partners. In September 2016, the UK was chosen as Country of Honour at the Pujiang Innovation Forum, China’s leading innovation conference.

Shanghai is one of the world’s largest ‘super cities’, with a population of 22.7 million and GDP of 320 billion. It is home to 55 major universities and colleges, 33 State Key Laboratories, 11 Chinese Academy of Science Institutes and 2 high-tech industrial zones.