May 17, 2020

New Year's Honours List sees CEO of GSK knighted

New Year's Honours List
2 min
Andrew Witty, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline
The work of Andrew Witty, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has been formally recognised in the...

The work of Andrew Witty, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has been formally recognised in the 2012 New Year’s Honours List.

Witty has been awarded with a Knighthood in commendation for his work not only towards GSK as a company, but also to the UK pharmaceutical industry as a whole and the British economy.

Despite only being in his current role as CEO of GSK since May 2008, Witty’s career with the company spans 25 years and has seen him take on a variety of roles, including the President and Vice-President of European and Asia-Pacific operations respectively.

Aged just 47, Witty has also been credited with being one of the youngest recipients of the honours this year.

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Witty is tremendously supportive of GSK’s promise to provide affordable drugs and medications to low income countries and poorer global communities, as a result offering better and bigger price discounts to those who need it most.   

In addition to this, he is particularly supportive of research and development into new and affordable vaccines and treatments for malaria.

During 2011 GSK saw third-quarter sales increase by six percent under Witty’s leadership.

Alongside his responsibilities as company CEO Witty is also a member of the UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s business advisory group.

Elsewhere in the New Year’s Honours List, the former director-general of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) was awarded with an OBE.

Despite stepping down from the post in June last year, Richard Barker was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for the contributions he made to the pharmaceutical sector in the UK.

Furthermore, John Buchanan also received a Knighthood in recognition for his work as the chairman of Smith & Nephew, a medical devices company.

The most recent New Year’s Honours List also noted the work of ‘local heroes’ in the healthcare industry alongside industry leaders.

Christine Mills, the woman responsible for the introduction of the UK’s first mobile chemotherapy unit and founder of cancer charity Hope for Tomorrow was honoured with an MBE.

Another MBE was given to the brains behind a transport service that takes vulnerable patients to vital healthcare appointments in the English county of Essex – Stock Cares founder Terence Monaghan.

Other OBEs, MBEs and Knighthoods also went to a variety of local GP’s, doctors and medicine and health academics.

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Jun 15, 2021

 NHS trials test that predicts sepsis 3 days in advance 

2 min
Queen Alexandra Hospital is trialling a new sepsis test by Presymptom Health that uses machine learning to detect the onset of the disease

A new test that can predict sepsis before the patient develops symptoms is being trialled at a National Health Service (NHS) hospital in the south of England. 

Clinicians at Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital are leading medical trials of the blood test, which they hope will help them save thousands of lives a year. 

The test is being developed by government spin-out company Presymptom Health, but the research began over 10 years ago at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). This included a study of 4,385 patients and more than 70,000 samples, the largest study of its kind at the time. 

From the samples taken, a clinical biobank and database were generated and then mined using machine learning to identify biomarker signatures that could predict the onset of sepsis. The researchers found they were able to provide an early warning of sepsis up to three days ahead of illness with an accuracy of up to 90%.

Unlike most other tests, Presymptom Health identifies the patient’s response to the disease as opposed to detecting the pathogen. This is an important differentiator, as sepsis occurs as a result of the patient's immune system’s overreaction to an infection or injury, which can then cause life-threatening organ dysfunction. 

Worldwide, an estimated 49 million people a year contract sepsis, while in the UK almost two million patients admitted to hospital each year are thought to be at risk of developing the condition. If Presymptom's test is effective, it could save billions of pounds globally and improve clinical outcomes for millions of sepsis patients.

The initial trials at Queen Alexandra Hospital will last 12 months, with two other sites planned to go live this summer. Up to 600 patients admitted to hospital with respiratory tract infections will be given the option to participate in the trial. The data collected will be independently assessed and used to refine and validate the test, which could be available for broader NHS use within two years. 

If successful, this test could also identify sepsis arising from other infections before symptoms appear, which could potentially include future waves of COVID-19 and other pandemics.

Dr Roman Lukaszewski, the lead Dstl scientist behind the innovation, said: “It is incredible to see this test, which we had originally begun to develop to help service personnel survive injury and infection on the front line, is now being used for the wider UK population, including those fighting COVID-19.”

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