Oxfordshire: Two companies lead in fight against COVID-19

Two Oxford companies are among those pioneering businesses in the UK leading the fight against coronavirus, says Tech Nation.

Oxford Optronix has collaborated with Mercedes F1 to develop a new breathing aid that negates the need for a ventilator in under a week. The device helps keep patients out of intensive care, helping to alleviate the pressure on ICUs across the world. If trials go well, Mercedes hope to produce around 1,000 of these per day.

Founded on innovation and operating with an entrepreneurial flair, Oxford Optronix is a global pioneer in the design, development and manufacture of sophisticated instrumentation for the life sciences.

Its products are designed, developed and manufactured in-house by experienced scientists, engineers and technicians with R&D backgrounds. Headquartered at purpose-built facilities at Milton Park, near Abingdon, it is a privately held, self-financed company.

Oxford firm Exscientia, based at Oxford Science Park, which specialises in artificial intelligence-driven drug discovery, has teamed up with Calibr, a UK national science facility, in order to screen more than 15,000 drugs for their effectiveness as a treatment for Covid-19.

Beginning by screening Calbr’s collection for existing compounds that could be repurposed to fight COVID-19, they also plan to use their AI to design even more effective compounds.

Founded in 2012, Exscientia is a leading pharmatech company and the first to automate drug discovery.

Gerard Grech, CEO Tech Nation, commented: “Not in living memory have we seen something that has united the world so quickly and with one common goal. The fight against coronavirus is a global priority, and many organisations and businesses have been quick to respond. From testing and vaccinating, to producing life-saving equipment, all sorts of businesses big and small have registered their willingness to help, with many adapting their areas of expertise to do what they can.”