Alumnus supports University spin-out business working to reduce number of mammals used in research
Published on: 6 January 2016
Dr Paul W Sheppard is currently advising a spin-out business at the University.
Dr Paul W Sheppard an Exeter alumnus, experienced chemist and management consultant, is offering business advice and support to the ICURe Living Systems Technology Project (LST) which aims to reduce the number of mammals used in research and pharmaceutical testing.
Dr Sheppard has been working with Dr Olivia Champion and Professor Richard Titball in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences to develop the business case for the potential commercialisation of their research ideas. The LST project aims to reduce the quantity of mammals used in research and pharmaceutical testing, replacing them with non-mammalian models such as insect larvae.
Using insects can offer more cost effective and less labour intensive experiments and therefore, larger experimental groups can be used. These alternative research models also don't attract the same ethical debate as the use of mammals.
LST has secured ICURe funding and has carried out market research which evidences the demand for the use of insect larvae. The team are keen to build their understanding of pharmaceutical procurement practices and the development of organisations supplying the bio-sciences industry.
The ICURe Innovation-to-Commercialisation programme, funded by InnovateUK and HEFCE, offers university researchers with commercially-promising ideas up to £50,000 to ‘get out of the lab’ and validate their ideas in the marketplace.
Dr Champion presented LST's alternative research model technology at the Open Innovation Showcase organised by SETsquared. The event gave LST the chance to speak to corporate venturing and innovation search leaders from global corporates, and has generated some real interest in using insects to change how pharmaceutical research is carried out.
Dr Sheppard brings with him more than 30 years experience in establishing, developing, and selling successful businesses operating within the life science research sector. He has both the research experience, as an experienced chemist, but also the business acumen to turn research into a viable business proposition.
Dr Sheppard is Founder and Director at Vacye Associates Limited, an Exeter-based company providing independent non-executive direction and guidance to start-ups and to established and developing businesses within the life science and related sectors. He is also a Non-Executive Director of SpheriTech Ltd, Non-Executive Chairman of VIVA Bioscience Ltd, University representative to the board of ISCA Diagnostics Ltd and an advisor to a number of other companies and organisations.