Motilent & Partners Receive Prestigious UKRI Funding
- Crohn’s Disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the intestine affecting people of all ages.
- There is an urgent need for technology to guide the use of powerful and expensive anti-inflammatory medications.
- Motilent has been awarded a prestigious UKRI grant to tackle this challenge.
About the project
Motilent has been awarded a UKRI grant to improve the way Crohn’s Disease is managed in adults and children.
A total of seven projects led by many of the UK’s leading institutions were funded as part of the £16 million call designed to enable the development of disruptive technologies to improve outcomes in chronic and challenging disease areas.
Working with Great Ormond Street Hospital, University College London (UCL), University of Nottingham (UoN) and IBDrelief, Motilent will develop an improved method of assessing medical imaging data from MRIs of Crohn’s disease patients, while incorporating a range of time and cost saving advances for a routine MRI test.
Approximately 180,000 people live with Crohn’s disease in the UK and there is no cure. Flare ups are managed with powerful but expensive immunosuppressive medications, which have a high failure rate. This project will help ensure the right patients are receiving the right medications at the right time for them.
This image shows three types of MRI scan of the same patient with severe Crohn’s Disease. The blue box represents the area of disease (thickened bowel on the left, low motility in the middle and bright inflamed bowel on the right). The blue circle shows normal bowel. These images are currently interpreted subjectively by Radiologists. The goal of the project is to quantitatively assess the data produced by MRI so smaller changes can be detected to fine tune patient treatment.
What the project partners say
Alex Menys, CEO Motilent: “This project has been a long time in the works and brings together a fantastic and dedicated team with the ability to deliver this exciting programme of work. We’re going to be developing a tool for the radiologist to generate an objective score for Crohn’s Disease activity based on well validated parameters that are currently too time consuming to perform clinically.”
Professor Stuart Taylor, Consultant Radiologist, UCL: “MRI plays an very important role in diagnosing Crohn’s disease as well as treatment planning and monitoring. Interpretation is relatively subjective and time consuming. The software developed in this project will increase both the accuracy and speed of MRI interpretation which will be a significant advance.”
Dr Tom Watson, Consultant Paediatric Radiologist, GOSH: “I am routinely asked to image children as young as 4 with Crohn’s Disease. Imaging the bowel in children can be extremely challenging. An MRI scanner is an intimidating place for an adult let alone a child and on top of that, children need to be still for upwards of 30 minutes using conventional scanning protocols. These protocols often require injection of drugs to highlight areas of inflammation. This requires needles which increases the anxiety for our children with Crohn’s. For me, high quality, high speed imaging without the need for injections would be a huge leap forward. At GOSH we’ll be taking the latest advances in adult imaging and analysis and ensuring they’re relevant to our paediatric population.”
Dr. Gordon Moran, Consultant Gastroenterologist, UoN: “This project is going to help me get a quantitative score for Crohn’s Disease activity which especially in the small bowel is hugely important for assessing treatment response with powerful expensive medications. We’re also going to be able to tie our existing work in fibrosis imaging at UoN into a new protocol expanding the clinical utility of the technique.”
Seb Tucknott, CEO of IBDrelief, said: “This project is really exciting and could have some big benefits for patients with Crohn’s disease in the small bowel, helping them to receive more targeted treatments in a more timely fashion. At IBDrelief we are passionate about ensuring that patients are involved in every stage of research and development to achieve the best outcomes possible, so we are delighted to be working with Motilent and partners to make sure this project helps make a big difference to patients as well as clinical teams.”
What happens next?
Motilent appoints Laurence Bourn as Chief Technical Officer
We are delighted to announce that Laurence Bourn has joined the Motilent team as Chief Technical Officer. Laurence started working with Motilent in August 2019 and will lead the growth of the Company’s technical operations as it enters the clinic.
Laurence has 20 years of commercial experience within the medical device industry. He began as a software engineer in the early days of Voxar in Edinburgh, playing a key role in the core technology team. After working at Medis BV in Leiden,Holland he became software architect at 3mensio BV. On return to the UK, Laurence joined Biotronics3D where he lead the development of their cloud PACS: 3dmetmedical, taking the technology from inception to daily clinical use in over 150 institutions across the EU. He then worked with the InnerEye team at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, bringing his expertise to clinical integration of their AI technologies. Laurence has a wealth of experience leading the transition from research of novel applications into the healthcare domain, delivered to the highest standards required by current regulatory frameworks.
Alex Menys, CEO, said: “I’m incredibly excited to have Laurence onboard and especially at this important transition point for the company where we’re getting ready to take our technology into the clinic. I think we’re both going to learn a lot!”
Laurence Bourn, CTO, said: “The Motilent team have worked extremely hard to develop the technology and crucially the evidence base for MRI in digestive disease. An incredibly important but under served area of need in healthcare. It’s great to join the team at this exciting time as we broaden our clinical portfolio and bring our products to an international audience.”
Motilent are pleased to announce that we were successful in obtaining ISO:13485:2016 certification from British Standards Institute. This means that our quality management system is to a globally recognised standard for the design, development and distribution of medical imaging analysis software. The QMS forms the backbone of our organisation, ensuring that quality products are developed and improved to meet the complex user needs of the gastrointestinal patient community.
Motilent welcomes Gianni