London, UK | 8th February 2013

 

An Aston University biologist has won the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council’s (BBSRC) Commercial Innovator of the Year Award in recognition of her molecular biology research and its relevance and application in industry.

Senior Lecturer, Dr Anna Hine, won the prestigious national award for her development of high quality gene libraries for use by businesses involved in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

Protein engineering company Isogenica has successfully industrialised the technology, and is now marketing this process worldwide, under the trade name Colibra™.

Work on the gene library project initially started in 2001, with the BBSRC and Aston University funding Drs Marcus Hughes and Mohammed Ashraf, who developed ProxiMAX randomisation at the bench. Aston’s Business Partnership Unit was instrumental in helping Dr Hine transfer the technology into Isogenica.
 
Dr Anna Hine said; “I am thrilled and honoured to receive this award for our work on saturation mutagenesis and I must acknowledge those colleagues who have contributed towards this tremendous outcome. It’s great to see our research in the “real world” and to know that we really are making a difference. Isogenica is a fantastic company to work with – dynamic, exciting and extremely capable. I feel very privileged.”
 
Dr Kevin Matthews, CEO of Isogenica Ltd commented; “The successful licensing and commercialisation of Anna’s research demonstrates the important role that universities have in maintaining the competitiveness of UK companies.  Our first orders are from US-based companies and we expect significant export earnings in 2013.  We are doubling the size of our gene library team and increasing our laboratory space.”

The Innovator of the Year competition forms part of BBSRC Fostering Innovation programme, which celebrates the success of scientists, knowledge exchange practitioners and institutions which have translated excellent research into social and economic benefits in UK bioscience. The winners were announced during their Fostering Innovation event in London in March.


Notes for editors
 
Isogenica specialises in the discovery and optimisation of therapeutic and diagnostic peptides, proteins and antibodies and Aston University have secured funding from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), the UK’s innovation agency, for a £0.5M project to develop a gene library assembly technology exclusively licensed to Isogenica.
 
Aston University is a long established research-led University known for its world-class teaching quality and strong links to industry, government and commerce. The Business Partnership Unit provides the link between business and Aston’s academic expertise in areas including Life and Health Sciences, Business, Engineering and Languages.