Innovation news in brief: Antimicrobial resistance; smart lighting; Redx Pharma; IT

Antimicrobial resistance could have an enormous economic cost

$100 trillion - the economic cost of antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial resistance could reduce global GDP by up to 3.5% – a cumulative cost of $100 trillion – by 2050, Chancellor George Osborne has warned.

Osborne said that the latest evidence suggested that by 2050 10 million people a year could die globally as a result– which is more than currently die from cancer each year.

He warned that apart from the consequences for human health, there will be an ‘enormous economic cost’ too. He said that by 2050, antimicrobial resistance could reduce global GDP by up to 3.5 per cent – a cumulative cost of $100 trillion.

The Chancellor said the reimbursement models for antibiotics and diagnostics are ‘broken’ and called for a global overhaul.

He backed a proposal from Treasury minister Lord O’Neill and others to create ‘market entry rewards’; large lump sums paid to a pharmaceutical company, or set of companies, that successfully get a new antibiotic or diagnostic to market.

The Chancellor said: “We have to dramatically shift incentives for pharmaceutical companies and others to create a long-term solution to this problem, with new rewards, funded globally, that support the development of new antibiotics and ensure access to antibiotics in the developing world.

“To achieve a long-term solution we also need better rapid diagnostics that will cut the vast amounts of unnecessary antibiotic use," he added.

Urbis Schréder launches smart lighting

LED lighting solutions provider Urbis Schréder has launched the Shuffle, a smart, interactive lighting column designed to encourage social connectivity in towns and cities.

The Shuffle interactive lighting column integrates features such as:

• Loudspeakers
• CCTV
• Night vision
• Wireless internet
• Electric vehicle charging
• Visual guidance

Adam Rice, marketing manager, Urbis Schréder said: “The Shuffle is an enabler for Smart Cities. The challenge for local authorities to offer safety and well-being to their citizens, while taking into account financial and environmental factors, is huge. Cities and managers of any and all spaces will have to become smarter when implementing the variety of new technology, while ensuring that these benefits are made available.”


Interactive screens on packages

Instead of reading a label, consumers could be interacting with an electronic screen on packaging in the future, thanks to a new development by scientists at the University of Sheffield.

The scientists collaborated with technology company Novalia to create a new way of displaying information on packaging, a move that could revolutionise the packaging industry.

This technology could be used in greetings cards or products where a customer could receive a simple message. More complex developments could include a countdown timer on the side of a packet to indicate when a timed product was ready - such as hair-dye, pregnancy tests or home-baking using a ‘traffic lights’ system.

Prof David Lidzey of the University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy said: “Labels on packaging could become much more innovative, and allow customers to interact with and explore new products. The use of displays or light emitting panels on packaging will also allow companies to communicate brand awareness in a more sophisticated manner.”

Chris Jones of Novalia said: “The paper-based packaging industry is worth billions of dollars. This innovative system we have developed with the University of Sheffield could give manufacturers a way to gain market share by being able to distinguish its products from competitors.”

Redx Pharma relocates to Alderley Park

Drug developer Redx Pharma is to relocate its head office from Liverpool to Alderley Park, reports Insider.

The company has outlined plans to create a 74,000 sq ft drug development facility that brings together its three subsidiaries onto a single site.

Redx's chief executive Neil Murray said the Cheshire bioscience hub is a "truly world-class facility".

New chairman at Norwich Research Park

Prof David Richardson has been announced as the new chair of Norwich Research Park.

David joined the board at its inception in 2012 is taking over the role from Anthony Habgood, who recently concluded his three-year tenure as chair of the Park.

Appointed vice-chancellor of the University of East Anglia in January 2014, Prof Richardson joined the University in 1991 and has held a series of leadership positions including dean of the faculty of science, pro-vice-chancellor for research, enterprise and engagement, and deputy vice-chancellor.

He is also a former member of the governing council of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, which plays a key role in the shaping of UK research policy.

UK IT bosses “shying away from innovation”

UK IT bosses are among the most conservative in Western Europe, focusing on keeping the lights on and shying away from innovation or adopting new approaches, reports The Register.

Research from MSP Claranet, covering 900 IT decision makers across Europe, suggests France, Spain, and the Benelux countries are the most progressive regions. The UK, alongside Germany and Portugal, was seen as “lagging behind and more resistant to change”.