Liverpool ChiroChem Wins Merseyside Innovation Award 2015

Liverpool ChiroChem has scooped the top prize at this year's Merseyside Innovation Awards, beating fellow finalists Fusion Implants and FumeCare. The company will now receive £10,000 in cash and the two runners-up will share £4,000 worth of specialist business support. Liverpool ChiroChem clinched the accolade this afternoon (9 July 2015) at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Liverpool.

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The awards were open to individuals or companies with fewer than 50 employees and were set up to recognise and reward the use of innovation to boost growth and profitability. Mitchell Charlesworth and MC Vanguard Corporate Finance are once again proud to sponsor the annual awards.

The BBC's Jayne McCubbin, who chaired the judging panel, said: "All three of the finalists are brilliant companies doing amazing things and all scored very highly. But Liverpool ChiroChem has a fantastic and truly innovative product in what is a very competitive pharmaceuticals sector."

The other sponsors are BBC Radio Merseyside, Brabners, Insider, Kenyon Fraser, Unilever, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, Liverpool LEP, NatWest, University of Liverpool Management School, Village Software, WP Thompson, C-Tech Innovation, the North West Fund and Trustech Smart Ventures.

The finalists:

Liverpool ChiroChem (LCC) was founded in 2014 by Professor Jianliang Xiao of the University of Liverpool, along with former PhD students Dr Jianjun Wu, Dr Paul Colbon and Dr Jiwu Ruan. The business supplies specialist building blocks for pharmaceutical research and biotechnology and draws upon synthetic methods in asymmetric catalysis, first developed and patented by the university. This licensed technology has allowed LCC to develop a line of products using a simple, low cost and environmentally friendly process.

The company is now focusing upon the production and supply of chiral piperidines, said to be well known and ubiquitous building blocks utilised in the synthesis of many naturally occurring products, pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals. The location of LCC's analytical centre and scale-up laboratory in Taizhou, Jiangsu, China allows it to access to a network of quality assured suppliers in Asia.

Fusion Implants is also a University of Liverpool spin-out. It has made a metal 3D-printed implant to surgically remedy canine cruciate ligament injuries. This new business has created advanced devices which have pioneered a new method used in veterinary surgeries intended to surgically relieve dogs. The process involves printing with powdered titanium a dynamic tension plate and porous wedge that imitates the structure of bone, and has characteristics which are shown to optimise bone in-growth and fixation.

The company, which has received funding support from the North West Fund for Venture Capital, believes the process can be applied more widely to veterinary surgery and is exploring other common problems that could benefit from this process. The next steps include redeveloping the implant to suit smaller and larger breeds of dogs.

FumeCare, founded in 2009, specialises in a range of fume cupboard systems to serve industries such as medical, industrial, dental and forensic. The Formby-based company sells a variety of products including custom fume cupboards, dye staining benches, downdraft tables or any filtration equipment related to forensic laboratory processes.

It is run by John and Carol Haugh who both have experience in the industry. Carol has worked in the laboratory fume extraction market for many years and John had previously worked for Astec, Air Science, Labcaire and Semper before founding the company with Carol. Notably the business has designed several products for the forensic industry when investing crimes and has developed an evidence-drying cabinet that it claims has more flexibility than existing products on the market while still being economically priced.

This story first appeared in Insider North West and can be read here.

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