SpheriTech, a leading life science company based at The Heath Business and Technical Park in Runcorn, is playing a key role in a medical trial to develop an antimicrobial corneal bandage lens which will revolutionise the recovery of patients suffering eye infections.

The Medical Research Council has awarded a £767,633 grant to fund the joint research programme which is being conducted through a collaboration of SpheriTech, the University of Liverpool and Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital NHS Trust.

The Precision Engineering department of SOG Group, owners and operators of The Heath, has also played a critical role in the project by making the moulds (pictured right) in which the high-precision corneal bandages are cast.

Don Wellings, Managing Director of SpheriTech and inventor of the antimicrobial corneal bandage lens, says the ground-breaking research revolves around the commercial production of an innovative corneal bandage which has been developed by one of his scientists, Dr Andy Gallagher.

This is a key advancement in the treatment of cornea and Andy has produced the first ever antimicrobial corneal bandage lens of this type. Measuring around 22mm, the corneal bandage is around twice the size of a standard contact lens and covers the front of the eye.

“We needed to find a way of mass producing these very tiny and delicate corneal bandages and Andy Baugh, SOG’s Precision Engineer, has made the moulds for the lenses. It’s an excellent example of how SOG, our landlords, not only provide laboratory space to scientific businesses but can also offer practical help through the very specialised scientific support services they offer,” says Dr Wellings.

This patent protected technology will be licenced to Liverpool University who have agreed to commercialise the new lenses. The trials are due to be completed by October 2020.

Andy Baugh, Dr Andy Gallagher and Dr Don Wellings

SpheriTech is conducting research on a number of pioneering programmes including revolutionising the way physicians repair joints, with a particular focus on repair of hip lesions through regenerative medicine. The company is also developing polymers for bone repair and spinal cord repair as well as developing a unique artificial blood.