Innovative nucleic acid chemistry for industry and academia
Interdisciplinary BBSRC-funded research into nucleic acid chemistry – the building blocks of DNA – has underpinned the development of a suite of innovative technologies.
The technologies, created by Professor Tom Brown now at the University of Oxford, led to the creation of three spin-out companies and two innovations commercialised by other companies. "Our work was funded by the Research Councils, mostly BBSRC," says Brown, who has received substantial BBSRC funding since the 1990s. "That provided us with the expertise and knowledge required to start to look at applications in diagnostics and DNA analysis in general."
|£12M||Price that company Primer Design sold for in 2016|
|US$120M||Price that spin-out DxS was acquired for by Qiagen in 2009|
|US$100M||Value of annual sales of Scorpion primer diagnostics in 2013|
ATDBio was founded by Brown in 2005 to continue designing and selling modified nucleic acids to researchers and to the biotech and pharma industries.
Primer Design, also founded in 2005, developed diagnostic kits using modified nucleic acids, which are used to detect bacteria and viruses such as Ebola and swine flu. The company sold for £12M in 2016.
Much of Brown’s research takes place at the interface of chemistry and biology. "We were able, through BBSRC funding, to move into these interdisciplinary areas which are so fruitful in terms of discovering new things," Brown explains.
In 2016, Brown was the overall winner of BBSRC's Innovator of the Year competition, which aims to reward researchers who harness the potential of their research.
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