A new family of antiviral agents, bicyclic nucleoside analogues (BCNAs),
discovered in Cardiff University has led to a highly potent anti-VZV
(shingles) molecule, FV-100. On a worldwide basis more than two million
patients are affected by shingles annually. FV-100 has successfully
completed Phase II clinical trials, showing it is safe, potent and
effective and with clinical advantages over the current standard of care.
FV-100 has received more than $30 million in R&D investment,
generating patents and creating highly skilled jobs in the UK and the USA,
with the parent company currently valued at $397 million. It will enter
registration trials in late 2013.
Cardiff University research led to second-generation chemiluminescent
technology. The invention allowed for internal amplification control in
nucleic-acid based clinical diagnostic assays for infectious disease and
produced results with greater accuracy and fulfilled previously unmet
regulatory standards. Adopted by the market leader in nucleic acid
diagnostics (a sub-licensee of Cardiff University) the Cardiff technology
is used globally in more than 60 million in vitro diagnostic tests
annually. Sales of the tests approach $500 million per year and the
sub-licensee was subsequently sold for $3.8 billion.
Economic impact is claimed through the growth of the biopharmaceutical
spin-out company Q Chip Ltd. During the REF period, this has created 19
new jobs, £7.5M investment, a new Dutch subsidiary (Q Chip BV), and
staged-payment, six figure contract sales to four major international
Q Chip has generated over £928K in contract sales from the pharmaceutical
industry from 2008-2012, with further sales of over £1M projected in
Originally established by Professor David Barrow in 2003 from his micro
technology research, Q Chip has developed new processes and miniaturised
equipment to encapsulate materials, including drugs, within uniform
polymeric microspheres as injectable therapeutics.
ProTide technology, discovered by the McGuigan team at Cardiff
University, is a pro-drug strategy with proven capacity to generate new
drug candidates for nucleoside-based antiviral and anti- cancer
indications. In the assessment period the McGuigan team has attracted more
than £2 million direct research funding through sustained collaborations
on ProTide technology with global pharmaceutical companies and smaller
biotech firms in the USA and Europe. In the same period, either through
working directly with Cardiff or by independent adoption of McGuigan's
research, eight ProTide entities have progressed to clinical trials as
cancer, HIV and hepatitis C treatments. The technology is demonstrating
significant commercial impact for companies with ProTide-based drug
Research by Smales has led to IP that protects novel technologies for
cell line development. Based upon mass spectrometry and in silico
modelling approaches, the
technology has permitted the development of highly efficient cell lines
for monoclonal antibody
production in the commercial environment at Lonza Biologics. This IP has
three important benefits
to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries:
(a) It allows key biopharmaceuticals to be made using substantially less
resource and with an
overall higher efficiency.
(b) It reduces the time from transfection to production of cell banks.
(c) It accelerates bioreactor evaluation and the ability to predict cell
line performance at the
bioreactor scale early in cell line construction.
From 1993 to 2005, Professor Errington and his colleagues at the
University of Oxford addressed
the increasingly serious global emergency of treating antibiotic-resistant
bacteria. Their research
led to the establishment in 1998 of the university spin-out company
Prolysis Ltd and the discovery
and development of two innovative series of antibiotics. The success of
Prolysis Ltd was confirmed
in 2009 when it was acquired by Biota Europe for £6.4 million, and gained
an additional investment
of £14.9 million. The subsequently formed Biota Pharmaceuticals Inc.
continues to support the
development of innovative broad-spectrum antibiotics essential to combat
Impact: Economic. The EaStCHEM spin-out company
Deliverics has commercialised biodegradable transfection reagents for both
the "research tool" and the "RNAi therapeutics" markets (globally valued
at £400M and £4 billion respectively). Beneficiaries are the
pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors, and clinicians. The turnover
since 2010/11 is £330k and the company currently has five employees.
Significance: Deliveric's agents out-perfom existing materials in
term of efficacy and reduced levels of toxicity. They are not hampered by
the immunogenicity, manufacturing issues, and carcinogenicity previously
seen for viral vectors used as delivery agents. This presents a wide
ranging ability to deliver nucleic acids into cells and tissues for
Research; date; attribution: EaStCHEM research (2008) led by
Bradley reported a family of non-viral DNA delivery agents that offered a
highly-efficient and non-toxic method of delivering siRNA/DNA into
mammalian cells and tissues. Development and patenting of this technology
led to the spin-out of Deliverics Ltd. in 2010.
Reach: International customer base (20 research groups and 10
companies) including specially appointed distributors in Spain (Albyn
Medical), South Korea (CoreSciences), and US (Galen).
Cardiff University's research has provided quantitative characterisation
of transient fuel sprays under engine condition for the first time. This
has enabled integrated design optimisation of Gasoline Direct injection
(GDi) engines, through computer simulation validated by Cardiff's
experimental measurements. The method has been developed and used in
collaboration with Ricardo, a world-leading engine design consultancy, and
has resulted in:
There have been substantial reductions in global CO2
emissions. Prior to 2012, GDi engine production had resulted in over 20M
tonnes CO2 reduction globally, including 10M tonnes across
Europe. A global reduction of 10M tonnes/year is predicted by 2020.
Gasoline engines designed or developed by Ricardo in collaboration with
Cardiff have provided a considerable contribution to this reduction.
Cardiff's measurement techniques provided an essential step in designing
these engines. For example, the PETRONAS engine uses 20% less fuel and
produces 80% less NOx.
Improved Professional Engineering Practice
Cardiff's experimental validation methodology has enabled Ricardo to
design engines through simulation rather than step-wise empirical
development, significantly reducing lead time.
The quantum well solar cell (QWSC) was invented, developed and patented
by the Quantum Photovoltaics (QPV) research group at Imperial. QuantaSol
was spun out of Imperial college in 2007 and was awarded Guardian
CleanTech Top 100 awards in 2008 and 2009. In May 2009 it received £1.35m
of funding from a syndicate of investors. In 2011 QuantaSol was bought by
JDSU, a leading US semiconductor manufacturer, for US $3.7million. The
quantum well (QW) technology developed by the QPV group enabled QuantaSol,
and subsequently JDSU, to manufacture QWSCs with efficiencies above those
of the then market leaders, Spectrolab and Solar Junction. Uniquely, QWs
will allow JDSU to optimise cells for maximum energy harvest in different
solar spectra. This will increase world-wide the beneficiaries of
concentrator technology and enable other low-carbon applications in
building integration and electric transport. The Imperial research has
thus had (i) economic impact through the adoption of improved technology
and (ii) environmental impact through the take up of QWSCs by JDSU.
Imperial researchers in Prof Paul French's photonics group demonstrated
one of the first practical FLIM instruments in 1997 using a prototype
gated optical intensifier (GOI) developed by Kentech Instruments Ltd and a
home-built solid-state ultrafast laser. They subsequently pioneered the
use of ultrafast supercontinuum sources (USS) for FLIM. Today wide-field
time-gated FLIM is a commercial success and is being widely applied for
biomedicine, including for imaging of diseased tissue [e.g. 5] and for
FRET (Fluorescence resonance energy transfer) microscopy to assay protein
interactions [e.g. 3, 4]. This research thus helped translate FLIM to a
wider community, highlighting the potential for tissue imaging, cell
biology and drug discovery. It stimulated about £5M of GOI sales for
Kentech [section 5, source A], with whom they developed time-gated FLIM
technology and applications, and millions of pounds worth of sales of
supercontinuum sources for Fianium Ltd [B].