Over £73,000 secured to drive DECODE forward

Alice Garrood, Research Fellow at the University of Exeter and Trial Manager of DECODE has successfully won three grants, worth over £73,000 to accelerate DECODE’s translation into clinical practice. DECODE is an intelligent, evidence-based computerised decision support system for dementia identification, designed in partnership with patients, carers and healthcare professionals to help clinicians identify dementia earlier and more accurately. DECODE has the potential to create economic savings and improve patient and clinician experiences.

Alice is the Principal Investigator for two Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Impact Acceleration Account grants (EPSRC IAA) – an Entrepreneurship Award and an Impact Knowledge and Exchange Award. These were awarded to help progress the complex Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) work involved in getting DECODE to its first in man trial.

Alice said: “The EPSRC grants have been essential in helping to move the project forward and acquire the necessary expertise to complete the next stage of the trial”. This is the first time Alice has led on a funding application. “I’ve really enjoyed writing up the application and the support from Laura Loveday in the Innovation, Impact and Business team at the University of Exeter has been fantastic”.

The grants fund work of a software company, highly experienced in the specialist field of clinical software, and a consultant who is overseeing the MHRA process in order to achieve the Notice of No Objection and eventual CE marking. “For many academics and clinicians the regulatory field is highly challenging, without the necessary expertise many won’t be able to get their products to trial yet alone to market. Having these experts on board has been essential in being able to get DECODE to trial” said Alice.

Professor David Llewellyn has led the development of DECODE said “These grants are crucial to allow us to take DECODE to the next level and move towards clinical impact. Securing these grants is a fantastic achievement for Alice and the DECODE team and will make an enormous difference.”

Dr Laura Hill, Consultant Psychiatrist and partner on the EPSRC IAA Impact and Knowledge Award, said “The DECODE technology is extremely promising and has the potential to transform dementia assessment. It is a simple, time-efficient technology which supports clinical decision making and we are keen to implement it as soon as possible”.

Alice has also been working with Dr Victoria Hammond a Research Commercialisation Manager in the University’s technology transfer team from Innovation, Impact & Business, on a third grant, awarded by the IIB Commercialisation Fund. The funding will support the team’s work with York Health Economics Consortium (YHEC) to develop an early cost-effectiveness model of DECODE’s implementation into the NHS. Victoria said “clinical implementation of DECODE has the potential to offer significant benefit to patients and healthcare providers, so being able to understand DECODE’s economic benefit is crucial for us to validate our business model and most effectively deploy DECODE in the NHS.”

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