This case study outlines the impact in generating investment in a
spin-out SME and in developing a technology for clinical diagnosis based
on chemistry research carried out in Bath. The research led to a spin-out
company, Atlas Genetics, which has raised over £18M funding in the REF
period specifically to develop the Atlas io™ platform, novel
technology for rapid (<30 minute) and robust detection of infectious
diseases suitable for point-of-care. The investment has created new jobs
for highly skilled workers at the cutting-edge of medical diagnostics,
with Atlas currently employing 36 staff. The io™ platform has
been fully developed and has undergone successful clinical tests on
multiple infections (based on bespoke Chemistry developed at Bath) prior
to clinical trialling and rollout in Europe and the United States.
Research; date; attribution:
Since 2005, EaStCHEM research expertise in electrochemistry and in
sensing and detection, in partnership with University of Edinburgh
researchers and expertise from the associated disciplines of medicine,
engineering and physics and funded by the Scottish Intermediary Technology
Institute (now Scottish Enterprise, SE) has formed a multidisciplinary
team and developed the research outputs and novel platform technologies
with enhanced detection characteristics (sensitivity, specificity, ability
to handle clinical samples, rapid time-to-result) applicable to
point-of-care diagnosis of wound infection state.
Significance: This technology was exclusively licensed from SE by
Mölnlycke Health Care AB in 2012. Mölnlycke Health Care AB also
established a new subsidiary, MHC Scotland Ltd in the BioQuarter in
Edinburgh, to develop this technology, marking their entry into the
multibillion dollar global point of care diagnostics market, as well as
employing 5 UoE researchers.
Reach: Mölnlycke Health Care AB is a leading innovator in
infection control in hospitals having ~7000 employees worldwide and with
manufacturing plants in 9 countries.
Beneficiaries: The impact deriving from the underpinning research
is to Mölnlycke Health Care AB as evidenced by formation of a significant
new business venture and alteration of business practice, through the
adoption and commercialisation of our new technology platform and the
employment of 5 UoE staff from the research programme as human capital in
MHC Scotland Ltd.
Impact: altered business practice / new business venture created
Research into biophysical detection methods undertaken within PHYESTA has
resulted in a Gothenburg-based multi-national, Mölnlycke Health Care,
establishing a Scottish subsidiary (MHC Scotland) to exploit a commercial
(exclusive license) partnership involving PHYESTA and Scottish Enterprise.
This represents (i) creation of a new business sector for the company, and
(ii) adoption of a new technology into its portfolio.
Mölnlycke Health Care has used its access to PHYESTA's IP portfolio, via
license arrangements, as the primary vehicle for creating a new business
venture enabling its entry into the diagnostics market for the first time.
Mölnlycke Health Care is a leading innovator in infection control in
hospitals with employees in 30 countries worldwide. Its entry into the
diagnostics market has implications for the entire company.
Impact in 2011-2013 pertains primarily to Mölnlycke Health Care and to the
Attribution: This work was led by Professor Jason Crain, in
collaboration with Professor Andrew Mount (Chemistry), Professor Peter
Ghazal (Medicine), and Professor Anthony Walton (Engineering).
High-throughput genotyping has revolutionised the genome-wide search for
associations between genetic variants and disease. Professor Sir Edwin
Southern of the University of Oxford's Biochemistry Department invented
the highly cost-effective array-based method of analysing genetic
variation based on hybridisation between probes and samples on glass
slides or `chips'. The spin-out company Oxford Gene Technology (OGT)
founded by Southern in 1995 licenses the patent to manufacturers of
`single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) chips', including Illumina and
Agilent, a global business exceeding $500M per year. Southern has
continued to refine and extend this technology to increase its speed,
efficiency and cost-effectiveness. This revolutionary technology has
widespread applications such as prediction of individual risk, development
of new drugs, provision of personalised treatments, and increased
cost-effectiveness of clinical trials. Licence revenues fund R&D
within OGT, and endow charitable trusts supporting primary school science
education in the UK and crop improvement in the developing world.
Communicable diseases are a major health burden in the developing world.
Early detection and
accurate identification of infectious agents is key to their management.
However, the complex
procedures and logistics of current diagnostic tests often make them
unsuitable for use in
developing countries. Two technology platforms have been developed that
have led to a new
generation of simple and inexpensive rapid tests that can be applied in
resource-limited settings. A
spinout company was set up to allow translation of these platforms into
new products. Three tests
(Chlamydia, Hepatitis B and HIV) were launched since 2008, with test kits
patients to receive treatment for infections which would have previously
gone unnoticed and
untreated. The spinout company has raised >$30 million, of which
>$20million is since 2008.
Research led by Dr A McNally at Nottingham Trent University has driven
the development of rapid diagnostic protocols and devices for infectious
diseases, principally Influenza, Salmonella and Campylobacter.
This began by working on the validation of a standardised real-time PCR
test for H5N1 avian influenza which is now used in European reference
laboratories. Follow on funding from European Union and Technology
Strategy Board led to the development of fully automated diagnostic
devices for companies who have taken their products to market and
attracted substantial investment from world-leading pharmaceutical
Research co-led by Prof Roz Anderson, in collaboration with a
multi-disciplinary team, resulted in a
new chromogenic substrate for the rapid detection and specific
identification of the bacterial
pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a `super-bug' that threatens
many thousands of hospital
patients annually, leading to poor clinical outcome and increased risk of
bioMérieux adopted the technology for a new product, ChromID®
P. aeruginosa, for commercial
realisation as a clinical microbiology test; it was launched in the EU,
USA and Australia, supporting
the company's commercial position as leaders in this field. This test has
enhanced the care of
patients, through more rapid detection of P. aeruginosa and
earlier informed clinical decision-
Development of the human cell GADD45a assay enabled accurate
identification of carcinogens in vitro, with a low rate of
misleading positives. Through the spin-out company Gentronix, this
research is reducing costs to industry and decreasing the use of animals
in research. Industrial collaboration has enabled commercial adoption of
the technology in many sectors. With a 10-fold increase in orders in 2012
versus 2008, Gentronix is a profitable business employing 17 people and
with an annual turnover of £1.88m. During 2008-12, Gentronix released a
series of new products, established testing services, and signed a product
license agreement with GlaxoSmithKline. More than 100 companies worldwide
are using Gentronix kits, including pharmaceutical, agricultural and
health and beauty companies, along with manufacturers of food flavourings
and household goods. The Gentronix assay is currently being reviewed by
the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods.
Hagan Bayley's research on nanopore sensing for DNA sequencing at the
University of Oxford led to the formation of the spin-out company Oxford
Nanopore Technologies Ltd (ONT) in 2005. Since 2008, ONT has raised £
97.8M to support research and product development. This level of
investment arises as a direct result of the pioneering technology ONT has
developed, based on research in the UOA, which has the potential to
revolutionise DNA sequencing and other single molecule analyses. ONT
currently employs 145 people, nearly six times as many as in 2008, and was
recently valued at $ 2 billion. Evidence from ONT was used in a 2009 House
of Lords report on genomic medicine, demonstrating ONT's position at the
forefront of this new technology.
This case study describes the impact of discoveries by Griffin and
Handyside on the universal detection of genetic disease in IVF embryos.
The team used basic research to develop practicable new techniques now
employed in IVF clinics around the world and culminating in a process
named "Karyomapping". The impacts are far-reaching and significant: when
applied to families at risk of transmitting genetic disorders the process
has resulted in live births of unaffected children. The positive results
of the discoveries have extended beyond clinical applications: Adaptations
of the technology are now being translated to farm animal breeding regimes
to improve meat yields and reduce environmental concerns. Impact also
includes new product development and wealth generation, job creation,
education, and influence on public policy through HFEA, plus widespread
public engagement and communication.