Innovation & Enterprise


‘Innovator of the Year Award’ for UCL alumnus who developed revolutionary blood filtration device

21 May 2019

UCL alumnus Dr George Frodsham was recognised at the 2019 BBSRC Innovator of the Year Awards for his blood filtration technology that could transform treatment of blood-borne diseases such as sepsis.

Dr George Frodsham collects his Early Career Impact Award at the 2019 BBSRC Innovator of the Year Awards

George received the ‘Early Career Impact Award’ for his work, which led to the formation of MediSieve – a UCL spinout.

Last month the company also won the Investment Achievement Award at MedTech London Awards 2019 – part of the annual Mayor of London Awards. MediSieve secured £1.75 million from private investors at the start of 2018, and two grants from Innovate UK, worth around £1.56 million, towards the end of the year.

A new approach to blood-borne diseases 

George studied for a Master’s in Nanotechnology, followed by a PhD in Biochemical Engineering at UCL. It was here that he first developed the idea for a revolutionary new method of treating blood-borne diseases by removing pathogens directly from a patient's bloodstream.

MediSieve’s technology circulates a patient’s blood outside their body, similar to a dialysis blood loop, in order to capture and remove specific disease-causing agents. 

The way in which traditional dialysis filters the blood is non-specific, and simply relies on molecular weight to remove individual blood components. By contrast, MediSieve uses biocompatible magnetic particles coated with binding agents (such as antibodies) which target specific blood components. It then uses magnetic forces to extract these magnetic particles, and crucially, the blood targets they’re bound to. 

MediSieve’s blood filtration device

The whole process takes place outside the body and the MediSieve system is designed to integrate with existing hospital peristaltic haemofiltration pumps.

George commented: “Using this method, practically anything can be removed from the blood, including specific cell populations, pathogens, toxins, inflammatory cytokines and even potentially viruses.

“The vision is to revolutionise the treatment of diseases like malaria, sepsis, leukaemia and others, improving patient outcomes, and ultimately saving lives.”

MediSieve’s first product for malaria has completed pre-clinical validation and is ready to enter clinical trials. Its second product for sepsis is undergoing pre-clinical validation.

From idea to commercialisation

Following completion of his PhD at UCL in 2015, George founded MediSieve in the same year, as a spinout from UCL, with assistance from UCLB (UCL’s commercialisation company – part of UCL Innovation & Enterprise).

Dr Steven Schooling, Director of Engineering and Physical Sciences at UCLB, said: “We're most encouraged to see another UCL medical device innovation progressing on the translational pathway towards clinical adoption with resultant societal impacts that MediSieve’s technology platform promises to unlock.”

Now celebrating its eleventh year, the BBSRC Innovator of the Year competition recognises the important impact bioscience research and innovation has on lives, society and the economy. George received BBSRC help to develop his technology through an Enterprise Fellowship award in 2014, providing the training and mentorship to establish MediSieve.

“The Innovator of the Year awards continue to successfully recognise researchers and their teams for focusing their talents on transforming the future,” said Professor Melanie Welham, Executive Chair of BBSRC. “I congratulate all the named winners of the Innovator of the Year competition, and I anticipate their successes will continue to push the boundaries of bioscience, driving innovative solutions with the potential to change the world forward.”

Dr George Frodsham carrying out research and development in the lab


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Top photo shows Dr George Frodsham collecting his Early Career Impact Award at the 2019 BBSRC Innovator of the Year Awards © BBSRC.

Small photo is MediSieve’s blood filtration device © MediSieve.

Bottom photo is of Dr George Frodsham carrying out research and development in the lab © Royal Academy of Engineering.

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