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Enzyme Enterprise

7 August 2012

Green Energy

A new spin-out from the School of Biosciences has become the latest portfolio company of university commercialisation company Fusion IP.

Nanotether Discovery Science Limited ("Nanotether") is founded on the invention of three Cardiff academics – Professor Trevor Dale, Professor Adrian Harwood and Professor Paola Borri from the School of Biosciences.

The trio's breakthrough intellectual property has the potential to improve drug discovery by miniaturising and accelerating the rate at which interactions between proteins and drug candidates can be studied for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology markets.

In recent years there has been an explosion of biological information resulting from the use of high-throughput biological sensor technologies, each resulting in the creation of new analytical and diagnostic markets. However, when each new technique is created, bottlenecks are created between one approach and the next and one of the key bottlenecks is biochemical quantification.

Biochemical quantification can take several months to determine using current technology, mainly due to the time taken to produce and purify proteins for assays. Nanotether's technology aims to break this biochemical bottleneck.

Professor Dale said: "Our technology miniaturises biochemical quantification assays and will allow more drugs to be tested using smaller quantities, at a lower cost than current approaches.

"This could speed up the identification of new drugs and potential side-effects at a stage before preclinical and clinical testing. This should have a significant impact on success in drug development."

The new company has been founded on technology developed with the aid of funding from the Welsh Government and the UK Government's Technology Strategy Board.

The lead investor in the company is Andrew Black, who invests in early stage biotechnology and is well known for his role in setting up online sports betting site Betfair.

Speaking about his investment Andrew Black said: "I'm delighted to see this revolutionary technology enter the next major phase of its development. Nanotether has a truly disruptive potential and there is already a high level of industry interest."

Chief Executive Officer of Fusion IP David Baynes added: "This is another example of Cardiff University's world class research and we look forward to working with the team as they develop this groundbreaking IP.

"The potential of the technology to increase the rate of screening by 100 fold and reduce the amount of material required by 1,000 fold is very exciting and clearly demonstrates that this technique could revolutionise drug discovery."

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