Document Sample
REviEwing thE latESt innovationS,
collaboRationS and tEchnology tRanSfER

                                         Edition 51 SUMMER 2007


 toM hockaday

                                       Oxford University Consulting
                                       has been an integral part of            Contents
                                       Isis since 2002 and now has a           news and events                                              3
                                       turnover of £1m, as described           Don’t Innovate, Imitate! the Historic Role of                4
                                       in this issue. Consulting was           Consultants in organizations
                                       the theme of the OIS Meeting              dr chris Mckenna
                                       in March and the two excellent          Kick starting Innovation: How to avoid a                     6
                                       lectures presented the role of          business teenage tantrum or mid-life crisis
                                       consultants as both imitators (Dr         Maxxim consulting
                                       Chris McKenna, Saïd Business            oxford University Consulting Group                           8
 Tom Hockaday, Managing                School) and innovators (Claire            Experts from oxford
 Director, Isis Innovation Ltd
                                      Arnold, Maxxim Consulting).
                                                                               the hub for innovation companies                             9
Their lectures are presented on the following pages.                             oiS Member Milton Park

                                                                               Pearson Matthews                                            10
this edition also provides details on a number of oxford
                                                                                 oiS Member
technologies for which we are currently seeking licensing
                                                                               Globalising technology transfer                             11
partners, including imaging and monitoring, meters and
                                                                                 a platform of international activities
questionnaires. we report on some of isis’s international
activities: presenting technologies at show case seminars                      Health outcome Questionnaires                               12
in Japan; working with European partners to develop their                      – a growing market
                                                                                 isis Projects: 3037, 2712 & 2973
technology transfer activities; supporting oxford spin-outs
develop their activities in the US.                                            oxford BioDynamics Limited                                  13
                                                                                 new Spin-out company

we     are     pleased           to   welcome    Pearson     Matthews,         A breakthrough in protein                                   14
tata chemicals, Pepsico, and consensus business group as                       structure determination
new Members of the oxford innovation Society. we continue                        nMR spectroscopy data analysis using Swarm intelligence
enjoy working with all the Society’s Members to help make                      Licensing opportunity in plant biotechnology                15
connections with University researchers and technologies                         isis Project number 960
and each other.                                                                the future for cell culture is in three dimensions          16
                                                                                 isis insights
Please register to receive isis E-news at
                                                                               Commercial opportunity in porphyrin dimers                  18
                                                                                 isis Project number 3096

                                                                               Acquisition of images of moving organs                      19
                                                                                 isis Project number 2835

                                                                               “smart Meters” outsmarted!                                  20
                                                                                 isis Project number 2871

                                                                               Visible light photocatalyst                                 21
tom hockaday, Managing director                                                  isis Project number 2241

                                                                               overcoming transplant rejection                             22
                                                                                 isis Project 1439

                                                                               Portfolio news                                              23
                                                                                 Spin-out news

                                                                               oxford Innovation society Meetings                          24

NewS ANd eveNTS

 thE latESt dEvEloPMEntS in oxfoRd and thE woRld of tEchnology tRanSfER

Isis goes to Washington                                             enterprise at Venturefest

isis   presented       a                                            this year’s venturefest was held at Rutherford appleton
seminar at the library                                              laboratories in July and provided an excellent opportunity to
of     congress       in                                            promote isis Enterprise’s work supporting other universities
washington dc in May.                                               and research institutes in developing their own technology
the opportunity for the                                             transfer activities.
seminar was provided
by Professor Raymond                                                isis Enterprise offers consulting expertise and advice in
dwek, visiting chair of                                             technology transfer, based upon the experience and success
Science and technology                                              of isis. isis Enterprise works with clients in a number of areas:
at the kluge center, and                                            support and advice for research organisations building up
was presented for the                                               their own technology transfer activities; project specific
main part by Professor                                              advice, from disclosure to deal, licence spin-out and start-up;
tim cook, Managing                                                  hosting and workshop programmes to suit client require-
director of isis from 1997 to 2006 with contributions from          ments; technology transfer audits – assessing systems and
Professor dwek, Professor baruch blumberg, dr Mark frankel          activities, identifying actions to develop future technology
and tom hockaday.                                                   transfer activities.

the event described the strategies and tactics that oxford
and isis have developed over a ten-year period to address the
potentially conflicting demands of the traditional university
responsibilities of teaching and research, with the third           spinning-out in June
stream commercialisation activities.
                                                                    three new oxford University spin-outs were launched in
the approach has been based on a clear policy definition            June, each the culmination of many months of technology
of the ownership of intellectual Property Rights, and the           assessment and business planning: clinox ltd, oxford
allocation of university resources to encourage, and support        biodynamics ltd and crysalin ltd. Clinox offers clients
researchers in protecting and commercialising inventions.           knowledge and expertise in the development, placement,
the result has been a marked increase in disclosures                conduct and analysis of early phase oncology clinical trials,
and successful commercial development, through licences,            with particular emphasis on pharmacokinetic and mecha-
consultancy and spin-out companies, generating returns to           nistic endpoints.
the researchers, university and regional economy.
                                                                    oxford BioDynamics offers a novel and revolutionary
this was a prestigious event for isis providing a wonderful         platform technology in the diagnostics field of aberrant gene
opportunity to present oxford’s experiences of managing a           expression. the technology allows screening, early detection
successful technology transfer programme. the full presen-          and monitoring of major diseases associated with aberrant
tation is available by webcast at:                                  gene expression: cancer, neurodegenerative conditions,
                                                                    such as alzheimer’s disease, and inflammatory conditions.
                                                                    Crysalin has been formed to commercialise novel nanos-
                                                                    tructured materials that that can be applied to a number of
                                                                    problems in various industries, initially focusing on devel-
                                                                    oping products that improve the efficiency of the preclinical
                                                                    phase of drug development.

 dR chRiS MckEnna

That Oxford
Consulting is part
of Isis Innovation
makes a great deal
of sense given the
long history of
How did it come to be that management
consultants focus on the transfer of
best practices, not the creation of new
processes, as their central professional

innovation, we would all quickly agree,       newcomer in both the consulting           little, a chemical engineer trained
is the holy grail of modern industry.         business and within oxford. while         at M.i.t., who advised the largest
because true commercial innovation is         business and technology consultants       industrial companies on cutting-edge
so rare and valuable, however, we often       have been important since the end of      technology. although many engineers
discount the value of imitation and ignore    the nineteenth century, only recently     founded consulting firms at the end of
the extraordinary value of the transfer of    have they become so extraordinarily       the nineteenth century, arthur d. little,
best practices amongst organizations.         prominent in the corporate landscape.     inc. was particularly successful because
best practices, far more than innovation,                                               of arthur little’s personal connections
allow smaller organizations to remain         but why should consultants favour         with the faculty at M.i.t. and the pre-
competitive in the marketplace. after         the transfer of best practices over the   eminence of the boston-based banks
all, money spent on technology transfer       development of novel solutions for        in financing industrial companies like
– whether that technology is scientific       their clients? isn’t innovation always    general Electric and at&t prior to
or managerial – is much closer to a           a better proposition than imitation?      1900.
“sure thing” than funding research and        Perhaps some historical perspective
development in the hope of achieving a        might give us a better sense of the       in particular, arthur little boasted of
technological breakthrough.                   relative merits of the two potential      solving problems that others could not
                                              business models for consulting.           handle including his infamous demon-
of course, one source of technology                                                     stration that he could turn a “sow’s
transfer is isis innovation, the technology   nowhere was the potential value of        ear into a silk purse” by spinning
spin-out arm of the University of oxford,     consultants more obvious than in the      gelatin made from sow’s ears to create
but another source of best practices is       rapid growth of the boston-based          artificial silk that was then woven into a
oxford University consulting, a relative      consulting firm founded by arthur d.      purse. interestingly, little’s decision to

specialize in the most difficult problems    to dominate the emerging profession            knowledge of a functional specialty, or,
– and to never do the same thing twice       by offering best practices, not novel          most often, because the consultants
– was a reversal from his previous career,   solutions, to their corporate clients.         had performed a similar study for
since his initial experience managing a                                                     a    competitor.    thus   management
series of paper mills gave him expertise     Executives readily accepted the value          consultants became knowledge-brokers
in the routine transfer of established       of these outside advisors because              who solved administrative problems
best practices.                              consultants were able to master and            not through their innovative solutions
                                             manipulate     new       realms     complex    to unusual questions (like arthur little)
although arthur little got his start in      knowledge, even if they themselves             but rather through the application and
consulting through the routine testing       had not developed the original ideas.          reformulation of existing knowledge to
of chemical compounds, he preferred          thus consultants exhibited what i have         well-understood problems.
to wrestle with a succession of novel        called “economies of knowledge” or
engineering puzzles rather than concen-      the ability to efficiently apply knowledge     having argued that consultants are
trate on a single specialty. following       gained in one setting to problems in           less concerned with innovation than
isaiah berlin’s famous distinction, little   another through the repeated transfer          imitation, should we think any less of
was a fox, interested in many things,        of best practices.                             their professional services? My answer is
not a hedgehog, interested in just one                                                      that imitation, just as much as innovation,
big thing. it is perhaps not surprising      in 1958, for example, Jock whitney,            should be valued. innovation is a costly
then that little generally shunned           an early venture capitalist, selected          process and one that rarely yields
assignments that tended toward the           Mckinsey & company over booz allen             easy results. Employing consultants
“management”      side   of   consulting     & hamilton to reorganize The New               to transfer proven methods that have
rather than the “engineering” side of        York Herald Tribune, primarily because         been tried and tested in other organi-
consulting even though the two were          his business partner assured him that          zations is a far more effective solution
frequently, and necessarily, intertwined.    Mckinsey “had extensive experience in          for most routine managerial problems.
arthur little’s aversion to management       newspaper work” through the consul-            that oxford University consulting is
may also explain why he was delighted        tancy’s studies of the Los Angeles             part of isis innovation makes a great
to help general Motors set up its own        Times and other newspaper chains.              deal of sense given the long history
research and development laboratory          through their intrinsic “economies of          of consulting. innovation, after all, is
in 1911. little explained that “the more     knowledge,” which were necessarily             only one aspect of the many needs of
research they have, the more they’ll         predicated on their status as outsiders,       complex organizations.
need me” for the most difficult and          the consultants from Mckinsey and booz
unusual problems in general Motors..         allen provided their clients with a cost-      Christopher McKenna, author of the
                                             effective means to acquire managerial          prize-winning      book,   the    world’s
arthur little, however, never became         skills at a lower cost than equivalent         newest Profession, is University Lecture
the archetype for consulting despite         internal studies of the same problem.          in Strategy at the Saïd Business School
all of the success that he enjoyed.                                                         and a Fellow of Brasenose College. He
Unlike general management consul-            Repeatedly,     corporate         executives   is a founding member of the Clifford
tancies, the firm of arthur d. little,       decided whether or not to employ               Chance Centre for the Management
inc. remained linked in the public eye       external advisors based on two distinct        of Professional Service Firms at the
with specialized research and devel-         preconditions. first, that the under-          University of Oxford.
opment. in contrast, the management          lying problem be brief, specialized,
consultants who founded firms in             and non-recurring, thus making the                 PRESS contact
chicago during the early twentieth           alternative – an internal analysis of the
                                                                                             dr christopher Mckenna
century – people like James Mckinsey,        topic – both slow and costly. Second,
                                                                                             Saïd business School,
of   Mckinsey     &   company,     Edwin     that the potential consultants had
                                                                                             University of oxford
booz, of booz allen & hamilton, and          experience with similar cases through
                                                                                             t +44 (0)1865 288800
arthur andersen, of (obviously) arthur       previous assignments in the industry,
andersen & company – would go on             either because of the consultants’

 MaxxiM conSUlting

                                                                       Sometimes, companies can become victims of their own
                                                                       success, struggling with the increase in customers and, as a
                                                                       result, letting standards slip or simply finding management
                                                                       swamped by the increase in the number of decisions
                                                                       required as the business grows. although they still make
                                                                       money, the service offered can suffer and profits can begin
                                                                       to decline; businesses’ own form of a teenage tantrum. to
                                                                       continue to maintain high standards and maximise profits at
                                                                       this critical stage, companies need to revamp their business
                                                                       processes, systems and organisational structure and conse-
                                                                       quent decision making processes in order that they don’t
                                                                       fall by the teenage wayside of dismayed disapproval at the
                                                                       world and a disregard of those upon whom they most rely.

                                                                       Maxxim Consulting, the
                                                                   “Trinny and Susannah” of the
                                                                       business world, comes in
                                                                       and reviews the organisation
                                                                       before moving it in the right
 Claire Arnold, Maxxim Consulting LLP.                                 direction
Is your business having a teenage temper tantrum or                    without reviewing its structures, an organisation can mature
fighting a mid-life crisis?                                            without learning its lessons properly and carry faults into the
                                                                       real world of big business. it is dangerous for a company
businesses are living organisms that, like people, require             to stay within its comfort zone, as this ultimately breeds
nurture and care through their infancy, constant nagging               complacency and decline. at this stage, a company has
in their rebellious teenage years and a reality check during           to ask itself some serious questions about its core compe-
those misguided midlife crises. Much like in life, the needs           tencies; those that have led to success to date may not be
of a business will adapt and change through the course of its          the same as those required in the future. it must be decided
lifecycle. at start-up, a company develops its personality by          whether to avoid reality by doing nothing, or adapt once
identifying the products and services it wants to offer, which         again so that it has the opportunity to enter a golden age of
will, hopefully, result in sales. once the company’s identity is       a second youth, without the need of buying a motorcycle or
in place, it can begin to assert itself by focusing on creating        getting a tattoo.
a large customer base, selling to it and making lots of money
in the meantime.                                                       it’s at this point that Maxxim consulting, the “trinny and
                                                                       Susannah” of the business world, comes in and reviews the
then come the difficult teenage years when a company is                organisation before moving it in the right direction. Maxxim
forced to adapt in order that its ideas stay fresh and it can          is a specialist organisational design and change consultancy
survive in the ever more pressured modern world of business.           that focuses on helping organisations align their structure to

strategy, and maximise results by ensuring that people and            to drift upwards. Maxxim has also found that there is often
processes are fully optimized.                                        unnecessary duplication of, and within, operating divisions
                                                                      and a disconnection between the theory and its practice on
our clients are typically large, complex organisations looking        the ground. therefore, Maxxim recommends that all large
to improve performance by undergoing restructure, cost                organisations conduct a health-check of the corporate centre
reduction or change, or are in the pre or post phase of a             if the business is underperforming or is undergoing a merger
merger/acquisition. we work closely with senior management            or acquisition. Even without these characteristics being seen,
to help them create the optimum structure for their organi-           the centre should be evaluated every three to four years to
sation, moving through the process of improvement that starts         ensure optimal performance.
at assessment and review, all the way through to process
redesign, team performance and, finally, transformation that          Maxxim helps its clients align their processes and governance.
creates sustainable change that all stakeholders in the organi-       this would entail aligning the key elements in the business,
sation from the management down understand and support.               such as the products and services, the processes to run them
the approach is based on four pillars: organisation review,           and the people to make it all happen, and making them co-
the role of the centre, processes and governance, and roles           dependant. companies must ensure that the complexity and
and responsibilities.                                                 bureaucracy of their business does not lead to compromising
                                                                      on innovation, change and delivery. Maxxim ensures that the
                                                                      processes and the correct governance are in place in order
Companies must ensure                                                 to produce the best possible result for the company.

that the complexity and                                               finally, Maxxim reviews the roles and responsibilities of
                                                                      divisions, departments and people in order to promote
bureaucracy of their                                                  efficient practices and ensure that there are not too many
                                                                      layers of process or insufficient accountability. it often
business does not lead to                                             happens that corporate centre staff become increasingly
                                                                      involved in different aspects of the company which begs
compromising on innovation,                                           the rarely asked question: should this role be based at the
                                                                      centre or elsewhere? Maxxim engineers a model of practice
change and delivery                                                   to rid companies of these problems and prevent them from
                                                                      happening again.
an organisational review gives us the opportunity to assess
a company’s current position and to diagnose the need                 Maxxim consulting has the knowledge and expertise to seek
and cost case for restructuring or improvement. Maxxim                new opportunities to create or restore value to businesses,
works with clients to define a target organisational model            increase cost effectiveness, and design and implement
that describes the desired end state in terms of people,              corporate centre strategy. with Maxxim consulting, your
organisation, processes and behaviour. to do this, we review          business can overcome its teenage temper tantrum or mid-
people’s roles and responsibilities and evaluate what needs           life crisis.
to be changed while considering the implications for the
organisation’s and the individual’s long-term development.
we then work with the team to manage the change and
adapt to the new processes and behaviours by facilitating
honest, practical workshops that gel the team together and             PRESS contact
re-focus them on the new, shared vision.
                                                                       Maxxim consulting llP
                                                                       5th floor,
the corporate centre, too, is unlikely to remain efficient
                                                                       3 Princes Street,
over time. companies’ corporate headquarters often suffer
                                                                       london w1b 2ld
from having an unclear remit and unnecessary management
                                                                       t 020 7317 0762
layers, as well as a general tendency for headcount and costs


 ExPERtS fRoM oxfoRd

With a turnover of over a million             Crossing boundaries                         “As one of the NAO’s quality
pounds in the past twelve months,
                                                                                          assurance reviewers and a
Oxford University Consulting (OUC)            Some problems, for example, need
is experiencing a step change in its          to be addressed from more than one          strategic     partner      providing
performance as it enters a new phase          angle, but not all businesses have the
                                                                                          consultancy services for our
in its short history.                         resources to put together a multidis-
                                              ciplinary solution. oUc can mobilize        value for money work, OUC has
drawing upon the depth and breadth            experts    to   provide   perspectives      impressed us with its efficiency
of oxford’s world-class multidisci-           across the disciplines: from cardiovas-
plinary research base, oUc has an             cular medicine to climate prediction;       and high professional standards.
unassailable advantage in terms of the        economic forecasting to energy policy;      We value the access to a wide
quality of its consultants, the world-        glycochemistry to grid computing.
                                                                                          range of expertise in areas that
wide reach of its institution’s reputation,   oUc’s real strength is in its access to
and the oxford brand. these compo-            experts across the disciplines.             matter to us.”
nents, coupled with the business ‘front                                                        national audit office, June 2007.
end’ provided by oUc’s professional           Providing independent checks and
project management, are proving to            balances
be a powerful mix when it comes to                                                        Applying the best minds
marketing academic consultants and            So how might this work in practice?
sourcing new opportunities for them to        the quality of an organization’s infor-     whether they are operating in the
advise business and government.               mation is crucial to its performance.       private or public sector, there are
                                              increasingly, clients across the sectors    times when all organisations need an
oUc is currently actively engaged in          use oUc to source expert independent        independent partner to provide author-
building networks of key internal clients     review of draft reports and business        itative insight and advice. through its
(in the Saïd business School, for example);   plans, providing objective feedback         register of leading experts, oUc has
developing strategic partnerships for         to assist corporate decision-making,        access to specialists who can provide
the supply of consultancy to the private      project    management     and     quality   answers to the range of challenges
sector; and fostering new relationships       assurance processes.                        faced by organisations today.
with public sector bodies. now with an
internal consultant register of over 450      one such client is the Uk’s national        oxford University consulting, a division
of oxford’s leading academics, and a          audit office, which in 2006 named           of isis innovation ltd., is accredited
client list ranging across the sectors        oUc as one of its strategic partners in     to iSo 9001 standards of quality
from large pharmaceutical companies           one of the areas for which nao is best      assurance.
to the United nations development             known: value for Money.
Programme, oUc is taking traditional
academic consulting into a new era.           in the last financial year alone, oUc
                                              has consulted on over sixty project
Unlike many consulting companies,             reviews for the nao, covering subjects
oUc does not sell a generic method or         as diverse as vat fraud, obesity in          contact
approach. instead, it works closely with      childhood, Rural Poverty, corporation
                                                                                           oxford University consulting
clients to ensure a clear understanding       tax, the Ministry of defence’s Reserve
                                                                                           isis innovation ltd
of their requirements and then crafts         forces, and the national Programme
                                                                                           t +44 (0)1865 280829
a solution by identifying the expertise       for it in the nhS.
                                                                                           F +44 (0)1865 280828
at oxford most appropriate to address
their specific needs.


 oiS MEMbER Milton PaRk

One of the most difficult issues facing today’s entrepreneurs       laskow Pooley explained, “we have built up trust amongst
and innovators once they have turned a good idea into a             the companies as we all work on chatham house Rules
viable business is to find the people and support to grow           – what is said in the room, stays in the room – and, because
that business.                                                      of the success of all the companies here, we are attracting
                                                                    more similar business here. Everyone in the oxfordshire
Milton Park, the abingdon-based business park, is home to           bioscience network has a win – win situation here.”
150 innovation-led businesses. Philip campbell, Milton Park’s
asset manager, has day-to-day experience of businesses              because of the high concentration of bio science, technology
going through transitional stages. “Many businesses act on          and healthcare companies residing at Milton Park, there are
a great idea, but there is a lot more to running a successful       now a number of companies offering support services (such
business than having the technical know-how. there is a             as legal, payroll, hR specialists) who have relocated here to
plethora of help and consultants, but the decision of where         be near to them. having such expertise on your doorstep is
to base the business is also vital. at Milton Park, we are          a significant cost and time saving.
amenable to helping tenants move into bigger premises to
meet their changing needs,” campbell said.                          About Milton Park

networking is a valuable asset of Milton Park for businesses        Milton Park is one of Europe’s largest multi use business parks,
as Philip campbell explained further: “at Milton Park,              located near abingdon, oxfordshire, and home to more than
people meet informally at the gym, pool, café or shop so            165 companies with in excess of 6,500 employees.
networking is both spontaneous and formally organised. for
SMEs, access to so many like-minded companies and people            the park is part of the MEPc portfolio, owned by hermes
is invaluable.”                                                     investment Management. MEPc owns more than 12 million
                                                                    sq ft of business space in the Uk, of which 3.4 million sq ft
Surface therapeutics moved to Milton Park in 2005 and               is at Milton Park.
managing director, dr. david laskow-Pooley, chose to base
the company at Milton Park because the location gives them          MEPc has owned Milton Park for 15 years, and has invested
and their fellow bioscience companies important critical            more than £40m in facilities to make it one of the most
mass. there are now 23 life science companies (large and            progressive and desirable locations in the region.
small) on the park that are all members of the oxfordshire
bioscience network.

                                                                     PRESS contact
                                                                     Philip campbell,
                                                                     MEPc Milton Park, 6 Milton Park, abingdon,
                                                                     oxon. ox14 4RR
                                                                     t 01235 865555.



Pearson Matthews, part of Pearson Matthews Consulting,
provides strategic innovation consultancy in the technical,
consumer and healthcare sectors. Group capabilities include
strategy, technical R&D, design and manufacture and are
backed by laboratory, electronics and software capability                 Molecular Sensing successfully floated on OFEX 3 months after demon-
                                                                          strating this PCR-on-a-card technology developed by Pearson Matthews
with full engineering and prototyping facilities.
                                                                          from first principles in 11 months.

as a group our involvement with isis innovation proves
an effective point at which to engage with emerging                      it is this disconnect in the translation process that Pearson
technology; it is especially at these early stages that the              Matthews fills, providing materials that support funding. the
services we offer add most value. at the strategic end of our            processes we use aim to express technology in terms of clear
offer we have the tools and expertise to map technologies                user benefits across broad application areas or new market
emerging from many sources, but especially academia, onto                sectors and results in better qualified and more focused
our clients’ commercial needs and opportunities – bringing               assessments of opportunity and market outcomes. we use
benefits to both parties. at the developmental end we                    it also to identify potential downstream technical hot-spots.
engineer technologies through to market at costs that reflect            the results are often delivered in the form of scenarios and
established far East manufacturing partnerships.                         vibrant, attractive visualisations that indicate quick routes to
                                                                         revenue generation.
the demand for such capability is driven by the imperative to
prevent technology pushing when market needs should pull.                we stress that this is neither a scientific nor economic activity
where translational activities help early stage ideas meet               but a creative role that requires good understanding of
commercial opportunity it can speed the time-to-market                   science, future trends and downstream economic implica-
by years. the strength of our approach is allowing strategic             tions. carried out early on it allows research to realign with
innovation to be informed by a thorough understanding of                 commercial focus.
downstream manufacturing implications.
                                                                         Pearson Matthews is engaged with a network of major
this disconnect between technology and need is compounded                commercial companies in many sectors and this aids the
by the funding criteria of venture capitalists and business              process of translation. our role within these organisations
angels. well worked business plans with extensive market infor-          exposes us to their intimate commercial needs, creating the
mation can create huge hurdles for academics championing                 opportunity to engineer a fit with this early stage technology.
new technologies or ideas. it is an art not a science to collate         it is the creativity required to spot the match between
meaningful market information for a disruptive technology                technology and commercial need that takes this beyond a
with a range of unspecified commercial ends. because both                simple brokering activity.
academia and healthcare put those with the highest skills at the
point of delivery of their activity they are the ones that evolve         PRESS contact
new technology or spot raw opportunity and need. yet in both
                                                                          Pearson Matthews
cases the onus is also placed on these scientifically trained
                                                                          9 Princess Mews, horace Road,
individuals not only to champion commercialisation but also to
                                                                          kingston upon thames kt1 2SZ
imagine and quantify commercial potential. Unsurprisingly it is
                                                                          t 0208 547 0470
a role they are sometimes ill placed, and unwilling to give up
their day jobs to fulfil.


 a PlatfoRM of intERnational activitiES

Isis is committed to transferring technology to the best                 isis also engages globally through its Enterprise division,
customer companies regardless of geographic boundaries                   transferring commercialisation skills into international research
and time differences. To this end Isis makes selected visits to          organisations. in addition to our workshop programmes
key markets such as the US and Asia. In the most recent and              with clients throughout the world (isis newsletter 50), isis
third annual trip to Japan, Isis made contact with more than             Enterprise has already entered into a number of more
150 technology led companies. The visits were coordinated,               strategic relationships with Universities in countries including
sponsored and supported by Mitsui & Co (through Mitsui                   Portugal, the czech Republic, croatia and Sweden.
Global Strategic Studies Institute and regional offices), the
UK Foreign and Commonwealth Offices in Osaka and Tokyo                   these partnerships, often based on one theme or task initially,
and the Oxford University Japan Office.                                  have now developed to enable wider strategic and practical
                                                                         day-to-day support on: the organisation’s policies, systems
Speaking on the trip format, dr david baghurst, head of the              and processes, bespoke training programmes at the partners’
Physical Sciences group commented “a mixture of face-to-face             offices and project specific services where isis Enterprise under-
meetings and showcase seminars took place in tokyo, osaka,               takes activities ranging from technology feasibility studies
nagoya and kyoto. the former allow detailed discussions on               through to market assessments and competitor analyses.
companies’ future business plans and potential synergies with
isis technology – the latter enable isis to present a broad range        the success of these partnerships has led to isis Enterprise
of new technology ideas to Japanese firms”.                              signing potential longer-term collaboration agreements with,
                                                                         among others, Stockholm University’s knowledge interchange
Projects from across the scientific disciplines were presented           group and the technology transfer office – tecMinho
as well as recent oxford spin-out companies. three Japanese              – of Minho University in Portugal. discussions around similar
companies have so far made follow-up visits to oxford, and               collaborations are ongoing with other Universities in Europe
others are planned for the coming months.                                and world-wide.

 contact                                                                  contact
 dr david baghurst                                                        dr Sarah Macnaughton
 head of Physical Sciences group                                          Project Manager, isis Enterprise
 t +44 (0)1865 280858                                                     t +44 (0)1865 280865
 e                                           e
 W                                                W

– A GrOwING MArkeT
 iSiS PRoJEctS 3037, 2712 & 2973

Isis Innovation has recently been leading the licensing of
Health Outcome Questionnaires from the Department of
Public Health at Oxford University.

these questionnaires play a vital role in helping to assess the
impact and effectiveness of various drugs, procedures and
treatment regimes on the health status and overall quality of
life of patients.

our customers include major pharmaceutical companies,
clinical trial organisations and healthcare providers who use
the oxford questionnaires to provide crucial information
on how various therapeutic interventions can help patients.
the information they gather using the questionnaires allows            the PdQ-39 questionnaire (isis project 3037), written by
organisations to monitor the performance of their products             Professor crispin Jenkinson, Professor Ray fitzpatrick and Ms
and services.                                                          viv Peto, is the most widely used Parkinson’s disease specific
                                                                       measure of health status.
in the hospital sector, both public and private, more
emphasis is now being placed on assessing the impact of                this questionnaire contains thirty-nine questions, covering
health interventions and services on patient outcomes and              eight aspects of quality of life, and the questions were
satisfaction, so there is a growing requirement for ways to            developed through interviews of people diagnosed with the
measure this.                                                          disease. the PdQ-39 has been widely validated and trans-
                                                                       lated into over fifty languages. the PdQ-39 is designed to
two of the oxford questionnaires, written by Professor Ray             measure health related quality of life in patients diagnosed
fitzpatrick and dr Jill dawson, are used to assess hip and             with Parkinson’s disease, and can be used to monitor
knee replacement procedures. the questionnaires, entitled              changes that may occur during clinical trials of therapeutics
“the oxford knee Score” (isis project number 2712) and                 for Parkinson’s disease.
“the oxford hip Score” (isis project 2973) are becoming
widely used around the world, and are setting the standard             there is an official web site providing an overview of the
in this area of outcome Measures. the oxford knee Score                PdQ-39, information on publications, which use or cite
provides an accurate measure of the outcome after knee                 the instrument, translations available and details of how to
surgery, and has been reported as “being increasingly used             obtain copies, as well as how to score and interpret PdQ-39
since it is reported to be short, simple, inexpensive and              data.
validated” (the Journal of bone and Joint Surgery vol. 83-b,
no. 3, april 2001 345-347).                                  

 dr fiona begg
 Project Manager, life Sciences group
 t +44 (0)1865 280844


nEw SPin-oUt coMPany

Oxford BioDynamics Limited is a new        Many types of cancer and various                 tissues, and the company intends to
University of Oxford spin out company      inherited    genetic         disorders     are   adapt it for use with biopsies and blood
commercialising novel methods of           associated with abnormal expression              samples. importantly, a single sample
diagnosis/prognosis of cancer and          of particular genes. the traditional             could be used to test a whole list of
other diseases with a genetic basis.       approach to diagnosis and prognosis              genes of interest, thus providing the
The company, co-founded by Dr              of such ailments has been based on               diagnostic profile for many potential
Alexandre Akoulitchev and Dr Aroul         detection of the expressed products of           ailments and disorders.
Ramadass of the Sir William Dunn           the genes of interest. however, in many
School of Pathology, aims to develop       cases detection of the intermediary and          it   is   anticipated     that     oxford
rapid, reliable tests for detection and    final products of expression (i.e. Rna           biodynamics      limited’s       approach,
characterisation of genetic diseases to    and proteins) is both difficult and incon-       dubbed chromosome conformation
facilitate more effective ‘personalised’   clusive due to the low half-life of many         fingerprinting, will first permit early
patient care.                              of the proteins of interest, the instability     diagnosis of development of cancers
                                           of Rna and low rates of expression.              in individuals carrying pre-disposing
                                                                                            genes. Subsequently, post-diagnosis,

The approach will                          the   oxford       biodynamics      limited
                                           intellectual property, licensed to the
                                                                                            it will be used for prognosis of tumour
                                                                                            development, which would allow clini-

be a very simple,                          company by isis innovation limited,
                                           builds on the knowledge that different
                                                                                            cians to determine optimal treatment
                                                                                            regimes, and aid management of the

sensitive and                              gene expression states correspond
                                           to different chromosomal structures.
                                                                                            disease. this could be an important
                                                                                            step forward in the move towards

affordable tool                            doctors akoulitchev and Ramadass
                                           discovered     that     by    combining     a
                                                                                            personalised medicine.

in diagnosis and                           particular molecular biology assay with
                                           proprietary mathematical analysis of
                                                                                            dr akoulitchev said, “i am delighted
                                                                                            that many years of academic studies on

prognosis. The                             the specific expression markers within
                                           a given gene, it is possible to detect
                                                                                            the newly recognised important subject
                                                                                            of regulatory non-coding Rna have

assay is no more                           unambiguously particular chromosome
                                           structures corresponding to abnormal
                                                                                            resulted in the formation of oxford
                                                                                            biodynamics limited. the practical

complex than, for                          gene expression associated with cancer
                                           or genetic disorders. the approach
                                                                                            application of our platform technology
                                                                                            could now make a major impact on

example, the DNA                           enables analysis of low numbers of
                                           cells in a mixed population from patient
                                                                                            clinical diagnostics.”

fingerprinting test,                       tissue and the high sensitivity of the
                                           assay removes any dependence on

commonly run in                            stability of Rna and protein gene

forensic studies                           the approach will be a very simple,               contact
                                           sensitive    and      affordable    tool    in
                                                                                             dr adam Stoten
                                           diagnosis and prognosis. the assay is
                                                                                             Project Manager, life Sciences group
                                           no more complex than, for example,
                                                                                             t +44 (0)1865 280909
                                           the dna fingerprinting test, commonly
                                                                                             F +44 (0)1865 280831
                                           run in forensic studies. it has already
                                           been adapted for the analysis of frozen

 nMR SPEctRoScoPy data analySiS USing SwaRM intElligEncE

Research at the University of Oxford
has enabled the use of an artificial
intelligence technique called swarm
intelligence to help model the 3D
                                                 Convergence of an SI structure calculation using spectroscopy data.
structure of proteins unsuitable for
analysis by the traditional method of
x-ray crystallography.

the activity of many of the body’s
proteins is regulated by small ligands
which dock in receptor pockets, causing
them to change shape and function.
drug developers aim to exploit this
activity by designing artificial ligands
with the correct shape to bind to a
                                                 Screenshots from the NMR Swarm software. Left: Analysis of atomic interactions during SI structure
specific protein receptor known to be
                                                 calculation. right: Relative intensities of spectra in a 3D contour viewer.
part of a clinically relevant biochemical
pathway. a 3d structural analysis of the
receptor, while not sufficient rationally    interpretation based on swarm intel-                       the size of the protein, but even with
to design a ligand, can be used to           ligence (Si): the property of a system                     minimal computing power the process
propose molecules likely to be good          in which the collective behaviours of                      can be completed within a single day.
“fits”, which could represent new drugs.     unsophisticated agents, interacting
                                             locally with their environment, cause                     the approach has been well validated
the most widely used method for              coherent functional global patterns to                     with proteins for which crystal struc-
protein structure determination is x-ray     emerge. for example, while walking                         tures are already known – the            1
crystallography, which is appropriate for    to/from a food source ants deposit                         Module from fibronectin and the
proteins able to form crystal structures.    pheromones on the ground, which                            fERM3 module from talin.
however, many important proteins will        attract other ants through a process
not crystallise, and often the only alter-   known as “stigmergy”. in time, a                           in addition, a software application for
native is nuclear Magnetic Resonance         pheromone trail will mark the optimal                      the Si approach has been designed
(nMR)    spectroscopy.    Unfortunately,     route from nest to food.                                   to provide a level of interactivity and
while nMR is better suited to certain                                                                   simplicity which should make this
types of studies than x-ray crystal-         the       nMR       Swarm        software       uses       otherwise highly specialised field much
lography (e.g. study of dynamic inter-       a     simulated        colony      of       molecular      more accessible to non-experts.
actions), it relies on highly iterative      generators          (each      with     a    random
methods     of   data    interpretation,     starting structure) to back-calculate                     the approach is subject to a patent appli-
which are subjective, error prone and        spectroscopy data obtained for a                           cation and is available for licensing.
extremely time consuming. a signif-          protein. individual generators gener-
icant unmet need therefore exists to         ating spectra that partially agree with                      contact
develop interpretative methods which         the experimental data communicate
                                                                                                         dr adam Stoten
are both rapid and accurate.                 this to the other generators in the
                                                                                                         Project Manager, life Sciences group
                                             swarm. in this way the generators
                                                                                                         t +44 (0)1865 280909
Research in the University’s biochemistry    cooperate to self-determine their own
                                                                                                         F +44 (0)1865 280831
department by dr andrew Pickford has         3d structure in an unprecedented
led to a novel approach to nMR data          timescale. the exact time depends on

 iSiS PRoJEct nUMbER 960

Research in Oxford’s Department of
Plant Sciences has identified a model
system for evaluating plant genes and
their function in a high throughput

Marketing opportunity

Elucidating     the     function   of   the
                                                                A       b
thousands of different genes in plant
                                               A Cardamine hirsuta
species is essential in developing new
                                               B Arabidopsis thaliana
commercially important plants. high
throughput     screening      methods    in
model species such as Arabidopsis
have been widely utilised because of
                                              C.hirsuta would be a
the efficient transformation methods
available. however, Arabidopsis is not
                                              useful model system
closely related to any crop species and
developmentally important genes have
                                              for evaluating
distinct functions in different species.
                                              transgenic lines for
Understanding how species-specific
changes in gene activity alter agronom-
                                              adverse effects
ically important attributes of plant
development will be an essential aspect       important      brassicas.     this   means
of crop biotechnology.                        C.hirsuta would be a useful model
                                              system for evaluating transgenic lines
the oxford invention                          for adverse effects.

the oxford invention describes a              Patent status
high throughput model system that             this work is the subject of patent appli-
allows generation of novel information        cation, and isis would like to talk to
regarding gene function utilising an          companies interested in developing
Arabidopsis relative, Cardamine hirsuta.      the commercial opportunity that this
although      related    to   Arabidopsis,    represents. Please contact the isis
C.hirsuta has different developmental         Project Manager to discuss this further.
attributes as illustrated by the difference
in leaf shape (shown below), which
is controlled by differences in knox           contact
gene expression.
                                               dr weng Sie wong
                                               Project Manager, life Sciences group
as well as being a novel platform
                                               t +44 (0)1865 280842
for studying plant gene function, the
Cardamine group of plants is more
closely related to the commercially

The fUTUre fOr CeLL CULTUre IS IN Three
 iSiS inSightS

Researchers at the University of Oxford                                                  currently such experiments are limited
have developed a range of tissue                                                         in duration to a few days while the
culture equipment which successfully                                                     tissue slice can be kept alive.
mimics the three-dimensional structure
of the body’s own tissues.                                                               the protocols for growing tissue
                                                                                         slices vary, because tissue slices have
Proof of concept work shows that                                                         different, often very labour-intensive,
these 3-d tissue models are much                                                         requirements and grow at different
more sensitive than the ‘monolayer’                                                      rates depending on which type of
systems currently used to test new                                                       tissue is being studied.
                                            Prototype microbioreactors: Fluorescence-
drug compounds.                             labelled human mesenchymal stem cells
                                            cultured in TissueFlex® Bioreactors.         So, if tissue slices are not the whole
the oxford tissue models have the                                                        answer, what can be done to improve
potential to improve early-stage testing   tures, differentiated to carry out            cell culture methods?
of new medicines, giving high-quality      different tasks, and where commu-
data about how particular types of         nication between cells is known to            three dimensions
tissues – including bone marrow stem       be of vital importance. this means
cells, blood cells, cartilage and neural   that scientists who are interested in         one solution is to grow the cells in
systems and cancer cells – will react to   studying human cells and tissue types         three dimensions (3-d), to provide a
new compounds.                             need to choose their culture methods          better model for human physiology. the
                                           carefully. otherwise, the results may         importance of 3-d culture is achieving
the old ways                               be distorted by the experimental              increasingly widespread acceptance
                                           conditions so that they do not fully          and indeed an editorial article in Nature
traditionally, scientists have grown       represent human biology.                      from 2003 (vol 424, p861) entitled
cultures of cells using one of two                                                       ‘goodbye, flat biology?’ commented:
methods. in monolayer culture, the         tissue slices                                 “those who have experienced the
cells grow on a surface under a growth                                                   merits of 3-d [cell culture] first-hand are
medium (usually water containing a         because of these limitations, some            convinced that any biologist studying
mix of nutrients) like a layer of slime    scientists use slices of real tissue          a system where the microstructure
mould in a swimming pool. Monolayer        to study disease and normal organ             environment is important in vivo – such
cultures are widely used for early stage   function. this does give a picture of         as neurobiology, atherosclerosis or
testing of new medicines.                  real biology, but comes with its own          diabetes – will have to bid the Petri
                                           difficulties. firstly, because real tissues   dish farewell in the next decade if they
in the alternative method, the cells are   can only come from a patient or from          are to continue being taken seriously.”
dispersed evenly through the growth        a laboratory animal. in addition, once
medium, much like bacteria in a pot        removed from the body the tissue slice        in particular, cancer biologists have
of yoghurt. these ‘suspended’ cultures     must be kept alive.                           found that 3-d culture is essential as 2-
are used by industry for protein                                                         d systems show significant differences
production.                                this is long enough to carry out some         in behaviour (Nature 2003, 424, 870-
                                           studies, but not sufficient time for some     872; J. cell biol. 1997, 137, 231-245).
it has become clear that neither           of the more interesting pharmaceutical
of these types of cultures closely         industry applications. for instance, it       the problem is that 3-d culture has a
simulates the structure of actual          would be very valuable to be able             lot of extra variables and difficulties
tissues and organs, where cells are        to study the effects of an anti-cancer        compared with traditional methods, for
organised into 3-dimensional struc-        drug in real time on a growing tumour.        instance:

  how can nutrients and gases be          that they do not need to suffer from          much more sensitive than an equivalent
  supplied throughout the growing         the abrupt changes in ph when the             monolayer culture system.
  tissue?                                 growth medium is replaced, and they
  how can cell wastes be removed          do not risk contamination because             these 3-d tissue cultures have the
  without decanting off the growing       the system does not need to be                potential to be the future “gold-standard”
  medium then replacing it? this is a     opened regularly.                             for in vitro screening to determine both
  time-consuming procedure, which                                                       efficacy and toxicology. by testing drug
  risks contamination.                    this results in happy cells! it is even       compounds on 3-d tissues the results
  what supports the tissue as it grows    possible to measure how happy                 will be more relevant to real physiology,
  in 3 dimensions?                        they are, using both simple methods           reducing the risk of later stage failure
  how can microscopy, sampling and        such as cell count (stressed cells do         in development, reducing the need
  other tests be carried out on the       not divide) and by looking at other           for animal studies, and providing high
  tissue in order to find out how it’s    parameters that indicate healthy              quality data from a more life-like model.
  doing?                                  metabolism.
                                                                                        further advantages of the tissueflex®
                                                                                        bioreactors include:
The University of Oxford researchers
                                                                                           Small scale – only a small number of
have developed a range of perfused                                                         cells are needed to seed the biore-
3-D tissue culture equipment, which                                                        Parallel and high throughput format
                                                                                           Microscopy through the bioreactor
provides a simple to use, optimised                                                        walls for monitoring
                                                                                           oxygenation takes place directly
environment for 3–D tissue culture                                                         through the bioreactor walls – no
                                                                                           need for gas chamber or bubbling
Perfusion                                 oxford technology                                nutrient delivery
                                                                                           Representative tissue response
Researchers in this area can learn        the University of oxford researchers, led        Stable environment
a lot from biology about how to           by Professor Zf cui of the Engineering           low shear
manage nutrients and wastes. in the       department, have developed a range of            Sterile access
human body veins and arteries carry       perfused 3-d tissue culture equipment,
nutrients and oxygen to the organs        which provides a simple to use, optimised     the technology is flexible with respect
and carry wastes away. the flow of        environment for 3–d tissue culture. the       to cell type, and the oxford researchers
nutrients is driven by the heart, which   oxford    tissueflex®    bioreactors    are   have shown that a wide range of tissues
pumps the blood around. this basic        scaleable and compatible with high            grow well in the bioreactors. the oxford
plumbing can be mimicked in biore-        throughput formats such as standard           researchers have particular expertise in
actors for 3-d cultures, where it is      multiwell plates, and on-line monitoring      standardized 3-dimensional stem cell
called perfusion. the essential ingre-    can be carried out in a number of ways        based model tissues. Partnership enquiries
dients are in-flow and out-flow tubes     including high quality microscopy imaging     should be directed to the contact below.
for supply of growth medium and           through the walls of the bioreactors.
removal of waste, and pumps to                                                           contact
control the flow rate.                    Proof of concept work shows that 3-d
                                                                                         dr Mairi gibbs, Project Manager -
                                          tissue grown from human bone marrow
                                                                                         Physical Sciences group
there are some significant advantages     stem cells shows an amplified reaction
                                                                                         t +44 (0)1865 280852
to perfused tissue cultures. these        to drug treatment when compared to
cultures receive a slow but steady        more traditional monolayer and non-
supply of new nutrients, meaning          perfused cell cultures, making the test

iSiS PRoJEct nUMbER 3096

Use of novel porphyrin dimers in photodynamic therapy

Synthesis of novel, conjugated Porphyrin dimers for use
in two-Photon Photodynamic therapy – these compounds
could potentially be used to treat non-malignant diseases,
non-metastatic benign tumours, arthritis and macular degen-

Marketing opportunity

Photodynamic therapy (Pdt) is a method of treatment for a             the need therefore exists for the development of new Pdt
wide range of diseases, and requires a benign photosensi-             technology that does not suffer from these problems.
tizer, light and molecular oxygen to be present in the tissue
to be treated. the treatment involves the activation by light         the oxford invention
(laser) of the photosensitizer to produce a cytotoxic response
that kills nearby cells. Pdt can be used to treat a number of         the oxford invention uses a combination of novel, conju-
conditions characterized by rapid tissue growth including             gated porphyrin dimers and two-photon excitation (tPE).
cancer, psoriasis and acne. it is also the preferred therapy          the compounds of the invention have good solubility in
for neovascular age-related macular degeneration (aMd),               biological media, and afford enhanced delivery to, and
where abnormal growth of new blood vessels at the back of             localization, in tissues. as excitation of the photosensitizer
the eye leads to blindness. however, current Pdt treatments           is confined to the focal volume of the laser, the degree
are limited by the fact that:                                         of targeting is extremely high, and would benefit Pdt by
                                                                      reducing the collateral damage associated with traditional
  the photosensitizers employed, rapidly diffuse into other           excitation mechanisms. in addition, the invention enables
   healthy tissues, which are subsequently damaged if they            greater depths of treatment to be achieved.
  are incidentally illuminated.
  the depth of treatment is quite limited                             Patent status

                                                                      this work is the subject of patent application, and isis would
As excitation of the photo-                                           like to talk to companies interested in developing the

sensitizer is confined to the                                         commercial opportunity that this represents.

focal volume of the laser,
the degree of targeting is
extremely high and would
benefit PDT by reducing the                                            contact
                                                                       dr david baghurst
collateral damage associated                                           head of Physical Sciences group
                                                                       t +44 (0)1865 280858
with traditional excitation                                            e


iSiS PRoJEct nUMbER 2835

                                                     Edge of liver


Introduction                                                         left, is an image that is reconstructed from a series of
                                                                     slices. the liver boundary is not smooth and the tumour
Isis Innovation, the technology transfer company of the              seems to consist of multiple parts. after application of
University of Oxford, releases a new method for the acqui-           the oxford technology, the liver outline is much smoother
sition of medical images of moving organs.                           and the tumour well represented by a spherical shape.
                                                                     the technology significantly improves patient comfort
Marketing opportunity                                                by reducing scan duration and avoiding recalls. the
                                                                     improved quality and accuracy of the dataset provides
worldwide over 1 million people are diagnosed with colo-             meaningful estimation of tumour volumes for more precise
rectal cancer annually, with a great proportion developing           chemotherapy dose calculation.
metastatic liver disease requiring follow up with abdominal
Magnetic Resonance imaging (MRi). Radiographers and                  it is estimated that 25% of the annual 2 million abdominal
Radiologists have raised breathing artefacts as a major issue        MRi scans worldwide would benefit from this innovation. the
in accurate diagnosis and estimation of tumour volumes.              invention reached the finals of the 2007 Medical futures
with current methods, in 19% of cases at least 5% of the             innovation awards and was also the subject of a recent paper
liver is missed. indeed, for lesions between 6 and 30mm              in the European Journal of Radiology. it is planned to extend
in diameter, 3% are missed completely with a further 21%             the technology to other organs and modalities.
being incorrectly staged, leading to false diagnosis of
disease progression or regression.                                   Commercialisation status

the oxford invention                                                 the underlying method is the subject of an international
                                                                     Patent application, and could be implemented on existing
working closely with clinical staff, oxford scientists have          and new MRi systems. isis would like to talk to companies
used their expertise to find a robust solution. on the               interested in developing the commercial opportunity.

                                                                      dr Jamie ferguson
                                                                      Project Manager, Physical Sciences group
                                                                      t +44 (0)1865 280851
                                                                      F +44 (0)1865 280831


 iSiS PRoJEct nUMbER 2871

A new utility metering device helps       istics can accurately identify the type,   to summarise, the oxford geni-e™
consumers identify the use, or more       or even the individual appliance being     meter delivers:-
appropriately misuse, of appliances in    used.
the home and work environment.                                                         Specific information to consumers,
                                          the oxford geni-e™ meter does not            helping      them   make     informed
Market opportunity                        need satellite-monitoring devices (for       decisions about appliance use that
                                          example on each plug socket); it             can directly save electricity;
So-called “Smart Meters” are currently    can identify hard-wired appliances           a single-point interrogation of the
available to measure electricity supply   (cookers or immersion heaters) and           mains supply into the building
but only provide information on total     could easily be linked to a Pc. the          providing building-wide information
consumption in half-hourly periods.       Pc or other user interface could             on appliance use or misuse;
by altering behaviour when using          analyse the data supplied by the             clearly identified short and long
electricity consumers can significantly   oxford geni-e™ meter to identify             term savings by analysing the
reduce their consumption, save money      appliance use/misuse and direct the          captured data; and
and reduce their co2 footprint. the       consumer towards behavioural or              the theory behind the geni-e™
question remains for the consumer         process changes that results in signif-      electricity meter that could also
“how do i easily identify exactly where   icant reductions in utility use.             be applied to both gas and water
i’m wasting electricity?” Until now,                                                   metering.
there has not been any easy and readily   the geni-e™ meter uses acquired data
available response for the consumer.      including waveform, time of day use        geni-e™ – the genius Meter? why of
                                          and length of appliance operation to       course, it’s from oxford.
the oxford invention                      determine probabilistically what the
                                          appliance is. in this way the geni-e™      Patent status
a new prototype electricity meter, the    meter incorporates a learning mode
geni-e™ Meter, has been success-          and can independently identify appli-      this work is the subject of a patent
fully tested within the Engineering       ances when they are used for the first     application, and isis would like to talk
department at the University. the         time.                                      to companies interested in commer-
single-point monitoring geni-e™ inter-                                               cialising this technology. Please contact
rogates mains supply to the building of   as the device could also identify appli-   the isis Project Manager to discuss this
interest. then, by identifying changes    ances operating outside of their normal    opportunity.
to the power drawn from the supply        modes of electricity consumption, the
and recording time dependent (both        geni-e™ could help identify malfunc-
short-term and long-term) character-      tioning appliances.

Geni-e™ – The Genius Meter?                                                           contact
                                                                                      dr david churchman

Why of course, it’s from Oxford                                                       Project Manager, Physical Sciences
                                                                                      t +44 (0)1865 280857
                                                                                      F +44 (0)1865 280831


iSiS PRoJEct nUMbER 2241

 Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) image of the Oxford photocatalyst, showing detail of catalyst
 particles on sub-nanometer scale.

A new production method gives
photocatalysts with high activity to
                                                     furthermore, it can only absorb Uv
                                                     light, and as Uv light is only 5% of solar
                                                                                                        The method allows
visible light. The materials have appli-
cations in water and air purification,
                                                     light, the efficiency of titanium dioxide
                                                     photocatalysts is very limited.
                                                                                                        excellent control
anti-soiling for building materials and
anti-bacterial properties.                           oxford researchers have now developed
                                                                                                        of the catalyst
Marketing opportunity
                                                     a method for preparing titanium
                                                     oxynitrides, which are photocatalysts
                                                                                                        composition and
Photocatalysts take energy from visible
                                                     that strongly absorb visible light. this
                                                     improves the energy efficiency of the
                                                                                                        structure and gives
light or ultraviolet (Uv) irradiation, and
use that energy to speed up chemical
                                                     photocatalysis 6-fold by comparison
                                                     with Uv-only catalysts. furthermore, the
                                                                                                        catalysts with
reactions. the market for photocatalysts
is growing rapidly, and photocatalysts
                                                     method allows excellent control of the
                                                     catalyst composition and structure, and
                                                                                                        very high surface
have a number of uses, including:                    gives catalysts with very high surface
                                                     area and excellent activity.
                                                                                                        area and excellent
  building materials – for example,
   self-cleaning glass and concrete;                 for example, the dye methyl blue was
  water treatment – decolourising                    decoloured in just 30 minutes using
  waste water, and removal of water                  the oxford photocatalyst, whereas the
  contaminants;                                      leading, commercially available photo-
  air purification – removing harmful                catalyst took over 5 hours to achieve
  gases such as carbon monoxide and                  the same result.
  deodorising – destruction of volatile              Patent status
  organic compounds; and
  disinfection – prevention of bacterial            this work is the subject of a patent
  and mould growth.                                  application, and isis would like to talk
                                                     to companies interested in developing              contact
the oxford invention                                 the commercial opportunity that this
                                                                                                        dr Mairi gibbs
                                                                                                        Project Manager, Physical Sciences
currently the market leading photo-
                                                                                                        t +44 (0)1865 280852
catalysts are based on titanium dioxide.
                                                                                                        F +44 (0)1865 280831
however, this is normally of low surface
area, which limits its catalytic activity.


 iSiS PRoJEct 1439

Harnessing the natural power of              oxford academics have novel methods
the immune system is a preferential          for the generation of regulatory t cells
treatment for transplant rejection.          both in vivo and ex vivo. with respect
This is a novel method to generate           to in vivo generation, immunisation
a population of cells that plays an          with a non-cellular antigen combined
important role both in tolerance to self     with a monoclonal antibody is followed
and maintenance of immune system             by a second challenge with the non-
homeostasis. Such regulatory T cells         cellular antigen at or near the point of
can be used to suppress and control          transplantation.
rejection responses.
Marketing opportunities
                                             the in vivo approach has the potential
transplantation is the treatment of choice   to control transplantation rejection by
for end stage kidney, heart, liver and       administration of a simple, non-cellular         Dr Andrew Bushell, Senior Post-Doctoral

pancreas organ failure. despite consid-      antigen combined with a monoclonal               Fellow and University Research Lecturer,
                                                                                              Transplantation Research Immunology Group,
erable advances in the management of         antibody such as anti-cd4. in a clinical
                                                                                              Nuffield Department of Surgery, University of
transplant rejection the vast majority of    context, it is anticipated that patients
transplants are still eventually rejected.   would be pre-exposed to this therapy
in addition, continual drug therapy          before     transplantation,       and    their
predisposes transplant recipients to         resulting regulatory t cell population
increased susceptibility to infections       maintained by re-challenging with the            Regulatory
and cancer because the drugs are not         non-cellular antigen until transplan-
selective in their modes of action.          tation. this approach does not require           T cells can be used
                                             that the identity of the organ donor is
the oxford invention                         known before the therapy commences.              to suppress and
                                             the ex vivo approach could enable intro-
Under normal circumstances t-helper          duction of regulatory t cells directly to        control rejection
lymphocytes play an essential role in        control transplantation rejection at the
immune responses that protect us from        time of transplantation or at any point          responses
pathogenic organisms. in the context         thereafter to ensure control rejection
of   transplantation   however,     these    is maintained. the in vivo and ex vivo
same cells are largely responsible for       approaches have the potential to be
orchestrating the rejection of organ         used in combination.
transplants. it is widely accepted that
rejection responses are attenuated           Commercialisation opportunity
by the administration of immunosup-
pressive agents, which target cd4+ t         the patent applications are available
cells. More recently it has been shown       for   licence   and        we   are   actively   contact
that such therapy can lead to the            seeking partners for the licensing
                                                                                              dr Sarah deakin
generation in vivo of sub-populations        and commercial development of this
                                                                                              Project Manager, life Sciences group
of t cells known as “regulatory t cells”     technology.
                                                                                              t +44 (0)1865 280843
with the capacity to control destructive
rejection responses.


 SPin-oUt nEwS

naturalMotion’s technology in top selling game                         oxitec receives approval for Us trials

Rockstar games confirmed in June 2007 that it is using                 in april oxitec announced that the US department of
naturalMotion’s euphoria technology in the computer grand              agriculture biotechnology Regulatory Service has granted
theft auto iv due for release in late 2007. the grand theft            a permit for the release of sterile, genetically marked pink
auto franchise is one of the best-selling of all games titles.         bollworm in up to 120 acres of commercial cotton in arizona
                                                                       in the summer of 2007. USda researchers associated with
the technology has been catching the attention of the games            the existing sterile insect control programme will evaluate
industry since the industry’s largest annual trade show, E3, in        the performance of a strain modified with a heritable marker
los angeles last year, when lucasarts demonstrated its use             and irradiated at a lower dose than the standard of 20 kR.
of the dynamic character animation system in its upcoming              the modified moths are expected to be more competitive
indiana Jones and Star wars next-generation games.                     because of the reduction in radiation damage, and easier to
                                                                       monitor accurately with the addition of the in-built marker.
Rockstar and naturalMotion announced their partnership                 the experimental strain was developed in collaboration with
back in february, and described their work as ‘well advanced’          oxitec ltd using oxitec technology. the modified moths will
– the latest trailer released by the controversial developer           be produced at a rate of around 400,000 per week at the
proved that was the case by demonstrating real time footage            USda rearing facility in Phoenix.
of the game in action using the technology.
                                                                       oxitec ltd. is developing effective and environment-friendly
gta iv is built on Rockstar’s proprietary next-generation              techniques to control insect pests that are important to
game engine, R.a.g.E. which the company says ‘allows for               agriculture and public health. the company’s technology,
an unprecedented level of realism and interactivity’.                  which is based on advances in molecular biology and
                                                                       genetics at oxford University, and builds on well-established
naturalMotion ltd. is the first company to create 3d character         sterile insect techniques, is fully compatible with integrated
animation software based on dynamic Motion Synthesis                   pest management.
(dMS), a technology that utilizes adaptive behaviours and
artificial intelligence to simulate the human-nervous system.          oxitec was founded in 2002 and is privately funded. it has
based on oxford University research on the control of                  grown in size to 25 staff, and is located in state-of-the-art
body movements, naturalMotion’s euphoria synthesizes 3d                facilities at Milton Park near oxford. oxitec’s work was recog-
character animation in real time on Playstation® 3, xbox               nised in 2005 with an award of $5 million to address control
360   ®
          and Pc, thus creating unique game moments and                of dengue fever from the bill & Melinda gates foundation
previously unachievable interactivity. naturalMotion’s other           grand challenges in global health initiative.
dMS product endorphin creates off-line animation an order
of magnitude faster than traditional techniques, and is widely
used in the film and games industries, with customers such
as Sony, giant killer Robots, the Mill, capcom, namco
and konami. naturalMotion’s third product, morpheme, is
the industry’s first graphically authorable animation engine
designed to give animators full control over the look of their          contact
animations in-game.
                                                                        James Mallinson – Portfolio Manager
                                                                        t +44 (0)1865 280903
                                                                        F +44 (0)1865 280831

      an intelligent partnership

      Providers of innovative banking, legal, accountancy
      and business advisory solutions for technology
      based businesses in Oxford and beyond.

      For further information on how our services can help you contact:

      Andrew Davies                                            Simon Smith                                  Sue Staunton
      Corporate Technology Manager                             Partner - Biotechnology team                 Partner - Technology group
      Barclays Bank                                            Blake Lapthorn Tarlo Lyons                   James Cowper
      T: 07775 548803                                          T: 01865 253284                              T: 01865 200500
      E:                 E:                   E:

        forthcoming meetings of the
        Oxford Innovation Society
        will be held on the following dates:

                  ThUrSdAy 27 SepTeMber 2007

                  ThUrSdAy 13 deCeMber 2007

                  ThUrSdAy 3 AprIL 2008

       Meetings are held in oxford for oiS Members and invited guests, and are followed by a formal reception
       and dinner in an oxford college hall. for information about the oiS contact cynthia warmington, Marketing
       administrator on t +44 (0)1865 280837 e

Published by Isis Innovation Ltd The Technology Transfer Company of the University of Oxford
isis innovation limited, Ewert house, Ewert Place, Summertown, oxford ox2 7Sg
t +44 (0)1865 280830 F +44 (0)1865 280831 e                      
Design: franks and franks   Cover photo: Jon feingersh / getty images     Pages 2, 4, 6: Photovibe
Paper: 70% fSc certified recycled fibre from sources with sustainable forest development policies

Shared By: