Atlas Genetics Ltd is a University of Bath spin-out company established
in 2005 by Dr John Clarkson, a former lecturer in the Department of
Biology and Biochemistry (DBB). In collaboration with DBB researchers,
Atlas Genetics developed novel technology for rapid (<30 minute) and
robust detection of infectious diseases at the point-of-care. Atlas
Genetics has raised over £22m funding specifically to develop the Atlas ioTM
detection system, which combines a patented electrochemical detection
system with probes for specific micro-organisms within a small disposable
cartridge. Different probe cartridges are used to detect a range of
pathogens that have critical clinical importance and large-scale
socio-economic significance, including Candida, methicillin
resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), bacterial meningitis, and
sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) Trichomonas, Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea.
Candida research in DBB underpinned the specificity, sensitivity
and application of the technology to clinical samples and was used in
seeking capitalization for Atlas.
Atlas Genetics re-located from the University to a nearby business park
and employs 35 full-time staff, some having moved from academia into the
company largely thanks to the synergistic relationship with University of
Bath researchers. The ioTM platform has undergone successful
clinical tests on Chlamydia and Trichomonas at Johns
Hopkins University, USA. The ioTM platform and Chlamydia
test is scheduled for clinical trials in 2014, with roll out in Europe and
the USA, pending regulatory approval, providing global reach within the
$42bn in vitro diagnostics market.
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.
Professor Chris Toumazou FRS and his team at Imperial College have
developed biomedical technologies based on ultra-low-power CMOS and ISFET
electronics to provide the medical community with the means to rapidly
diagnose, monitor, and treat diseases with confidence and at low cost.
Since 2008, the impact of this research has been to:
I1) spinout a start-up company DNA Electronics (DNAe) to deliver
point-of-care products to quickly recognize genetic diseases and identify
potential poor drug interactions;
I2) enable Life Technologies (formerly Ion Torrent) to develop the
Personal Genome Machine (PGM) that have generated $100m in sales (in the
18 months since its launch) using DNAe's core semiconductor sequencing IP;
I3) save lives by using the PGM in clinical and public health
I4) spinout a second start-up company (Toumaz) that has released
SensiumVitals®, a FDA-approved and CE-marked ultra-low power system for
wireless monitoring of patient vital signs;
I5) provide early warning of adverse physiological events in clinical
settings using the SensiumVitals® platform resulting in improved quality
of patient care and reduced demand on intensive care provision in
A commercial continuous glucose sensor/monitor that provides real time
data has been developed by GlySure, a venture capital funded company
founded on the basis of Bath chemistry. The sensor enables Tight Glycaemic
Control (TGC) for control of glucose levels in patients in Intensive Care
Units (ICUs), reducing severe hypoglycaemia, glycaemic variability and the
nursing burden, maximising both patient and economic benefit. This has led
to (i) £13.5M investment in the company GlySure Ltd directly for
development of the system based on the Bath chemistry and (ii) successful
results from full clinical trials of the device, involving more than 200
ICU patients, prior to CE approval and launch in the EU.
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.
Impact: New business, technology, intellectual property and
employment resulting from the invention and exploitation of a micro-scale
laboratory device (ScreenTapeTM).
Significance: New business and technology commercialised resulting
in sales of novel products worldwide, acquisition by Agilent Technologies
Limited (Agilent) for £[text removed for publication] in 2011, product
sales of over £[text removed for publication] to August 2013, generation
of sustained employment for 50-160 people, major inward investment (£6M)
by local investors followed by a US multinational.
Beneficiaries: The economy, commerce, employment, research and
diagnostic laboratories, Agilent Technologies Inc. (Agilent).
Attribution: UoE Prof Peter Ghazal and Dr Douglas Roy inventors on
granted patent, establishment of multi-disciplinary research in biochip
medicine, collaborators with ex-Motorola engineers, co-founders of
spin-out company for commercialisation of intellectual property.
Reach: Worldwide, including employment and product sales. Inward
investment to UK.
The spin-out company, Degrasense, has developed and protected
intellectual property of technology capable of quantifying specific
proteolytic enzymes through changes in electrochemical responses
(impedance) at electrodes due to the enzymatic degradation of polymer
coatings. The company has detected several specific proteases that are
relevant to the monitoring and treatment of a number of conditions
including: periodontal disease, multiple sclerosis, haemophilia and
hypertension. The technology is currently being validated in a clinical
trial as a point of care sensor for the detection of active periodontal
disease. Point-of-care sensors provide immediate, low-cost test results in
non-laboratory settings, offering a more patient-centred approach to
healthcare and earlier detection of disease.
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.