PeptiGelDesign relaunches as Manchester BIOGEL

PeptiGelDesign will relaunch as Manchester BIOGEL in a move that reflects the wider reach of the company and growth success since launching in 2014.

The company provides PeptiGels – a range of highly sophisticated peptide hydrogels that provide the ideal environment for cells to grow. These hydrogels have been developed from over 15 years of research at The University of Manchester and are specifically designed to help improve the quality of drug toxicity testing and regenerative medicine, reducing the time it takes for new drugs to get to market and maximising the chance of success when regenerating damaged areas of patient’s bodies.

University of Manchester entrepreneurs scoop accolades at The BBSRC’s Innovator of the Year Awards 2018

Dr Neil Gibbs, founder of University of Manchester spin-out Curapel, won the Commercial Impact Award and the University’s Ben Dolman and Dr James Winterburn won the Early Career Impact Award in recognition of the development of a more cost efficient process for producing insoluble lipids. The winners received £10,000 each to further their technology businesses.

Curapel is a skin healthcare company developing innovative, patent-protected products based on naturally-occurring ingredients under its brand name, Curapella. Curapel currently has a portfolio of products undergoing pre-clinical development and dermatological testing. Curapel’s first product on the market is Pellamex a dermatologically tested, liquid food supplement containing naturally-occurring ingredients that contribute to the maintenance of normal skin barrier function in those with eczema.

Neil comments:” I am delighted that Curapel has been recognised by this award; the support of UMIP and the BBSRC was crucial to commercialise our academic research and bring safe healthcare products to people with skin conditions.”

Ben Dolman’s and Dr James Winterburn’s work at Manchester has enabled the development of a gravity based separation technology which dramatically reduces the cost of production of lipid bioproducts, particularly biosurfactants, which have potential as green replacements for petrochemical products in many applications. Ben has now founded start-up Holiferm as a vehicle to commercialise this technology.

Ben comments: “We are thrilled to have won the Early Career Innovator of the Year award from BBSRC. Our work at The University of Manchester has led to the creation of Holiferm, a company that aims to dramatically reduce industrial production costs through the use of this holistically improved fermentation technology. Huge thanks to UK Research and Innovation for putting on such a great event,and to all of our collaborators whose efforts made this possible!”

Dr Rich Ferrie, Director of Operations at UMIP, added:” I am delighted that Neil, Ben and James’s work has been recognised by the BBSRC in this way. I know just how much work effort and commitment has been shown by all three in moving their innovations towards commercial success and real world impact, and I feel sure that many more accolades are on the way. This was a great evening too for us at UMIP and I thank my UMIP colleagues for supporting these projects on behalf of The University of Manchester.”

The awards, now in their 10th year, were held at The Mermaid London on Wednesday 16 May and were presented by Professor Malcolm Skingle, Director of Academic Liaison, GlaxoSmithKline Ltd and Professor Melanie Welham, Executive Chair of BBSRC.

From l to r: Dr James Winterburn, Ben Dolman, Dr Neil Gibbs, Dr Rich Ferrie

Reuters rates University of Manchester for the high commercial impact of its patents

A list recently produced by Reuters ranks The University of Manchester as the seventh most innovative in Europe – jumping nine places from the 2017 report – and third in the UK.

The Reuters Top 100 Most Innovative Universities ranking is based on the number of academic papers, patents filed and citations by other academics and industry which introduces a quality rather than a volume measure.

The University’s world-class research base has an excellent track record of innovation spanning over 30 years. All of the brilliant ideas which are generated by the University’s researchers have the potential to save lives, improve health, increase efficiencies in industry and the environment, or otherwise enhance society and make positive contributions to our economy.

Clive Rowland, CEO of UMI3 Ltd, the University’s agent for IP commercialisation, comments: “The University continues to promote its long-standing commitment to improving society through innovation, whether such positive impacts are achieved by our social enterprises or for commercial gain through our spin-out company and technology licensing work.

“We recognise that to be an innovative organisation we need to look for quality as well as volume with our patenting – our patents need to be both thorough and defensible.

“It’s pleasing to see that our results-focussed approach and continuous improvement in our way of working, that we introduced some time ago, is having an effect as shown by our upward movement in this index.

“The difference between us and those towards the top of the table, in respect of the impact measure, is narrowing too.”

Since 2004, IP enterprises have generated over £115 million to the University through the sale of shares in spin-outs, licensing income and through IP grants and contracts activity. Furthermore, over £430m has been invested by 3rd party venture funders in the University’s spin-outs, a number of which have received national and regional enterprise awards.

Manchester is synonymous with graphene following its isolation in 2004 by Nobel Prize winners Professors Geim and Novoselov. The University has one of the most extensive portfolios of IP rights relating to graphene and 2D materials with over 300 scientists engaged in 2D materials research here in Graphene City ®.

IP encompasses technologies in areas including: the production of 2D materials, 2D inks, desalination and nano-filtration membranes, barrier coatings, polymer composites, thermoelectric composites, sensors, touch screen interfaces, printable electronics and wearable technologies to name a few.

Earlier this month the University with spin-out Nanoco Group PLC, which develops and manufactures quantum dots and nano-materials, launched Nanoco 2D Materials Ltd to develop a new generation of nano-materials. Potential commercial applications for these materials span across a wide range of sectors including novel catalysts, photo-detectors, photovoltaics, inverters and light emitting devices.

Spin-out and AIM listed SkinBioTherapeutics, a skin health specialist, raised £4.5m when it listed on the London stock market last year. The company recently announced that its cream formulation has passed effectiveness studies in models of skin and will now undergo further testing for stability.

Earlier this year, another spin-out MicroBioSensor – which is behind a medical device designed to detect life threatening infections – received a £1.4m investment boost and has just successfully completed its first clinical trial.

Reuter’s latest ranking follows recent news that the University has attracted the most research income from UK industry of any institution in the country, with £24,831,000 of research income in 2016-2017 from UK industry, commerce and public corporations.

The University of Manchester and Nanoco Group PLC launch new business, Nanoco 2D Materials Ltd

The University’s strategic technology transfer fund provides significant seed funding following a Nanoco sponsored doctoral studentship.


The University of Manchester and Nanoco Group PLC (LSE: NANO), a world leader in the development and manufacture of cadmium-free quantum dots and nano-materials, announce the launch of Nanoco 2D Materials Ltd “2D Materials” which is focused on the development and commercialisation of a new generation of nano-materials. 2D Materials is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nanoco Group PLC.

Two dimensional nano-particles are a platform technology which are one or two atoms thick and a few nanometres wide and represent a burgeoning field of material science. Currently there is no cost-effective way to produce these 2D materials on a commercial scale nor any reliable method to ensure consistent properties suitable for the wide range of potential electronics, industrial and other applications.

For the past year Nanoco has been collaborating with the University’s Professor Novoselov, 2010 winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics for his work on graphene, with the goal to establish feasibility for these exciting new materials. Based on the positive results seen to date, 2D Materials has been created to formalise the partnership between the two groups, ensure funding is in place and continue the development of the technology.

Dr Nigel Pickett, CTO and co-founder of Nanoco, said: “By combining Nanoco’s expertise with the knowledge base from Professor Novoselov’s lab we have been able to push the boundaries of material science to come up with a new generation of versatile 2D nano-particles and are now utilising Nanoco’s 15 years of scale-up expertise on methods to produce them at commercial scale. Potential commercial applications for these materials span across a wide range of sectors including novel catalysts, photo-detectors, photovoltaics, inverters and light emitting devices.”

Professor Novoselov added: “It is exciting to see how quickly 2D materials, beyond graphene, has accelerated from the early research stage to the technology we now have. Working with a very knowledgeable and dedicated Nanoco team continues to be a very refreshing experience. The ability of our combined teams to focus on particular technological and performance parameters is allowing the rapid development of these 2D Materials.”

Clive Rowland, CEO of the University’s innovation company -UMI3- commented: “Part of the University’s strategy for commercialising graphene and its sister 2D materials is to work with existing companies and entrepreneurs to help them set-up R&D centres and new companies close to the campus to create a technology innovation ecosystem here – Graphene City®. I’m delighted that we are working with Nanoco, which itself is a spin-out from the University. Its experience in the handling and scaling up of nanomaterials and access to its relevant facilities were key factors in us deciding to support this initiative.”

University of Manchester spin-out SkinBioTherapeutics plc signs MTA with major global consumer goods company

Manchester, UK – 03 April 2018 – SkinBioTherapeutics plc (AIM: SBTX,  the “Company”), a life science company focused on skin health, announces the signing of an MTA relating to its proprietary SkinBiotix® technology with a major, global consumer goods company.

The Company has been speaking to a range of commercial partners interested in evaluating its SkinBiotix® technology ahead of its human studies which are scheduled to commence later this year.

Having shared the initial pre-clinical data with a number of interested parties, one potential partner to date has progressed to an MTA, granting it access to the SkinBiotix® technology. An MTA is a standard agreement governing the transfer of material between parties enabling the recipient to assess the technology and, where the outcome is successful, can be a precursor to future commercial discussions.

The MTA provides for SkinBioTherapeutics to share a sample of its material against which the third party will conduct its own in-house assessment. Whilst at this stage there can be no certainty that discussions will progress further than the initial sharing of the technology, the Company is encouraged by the level of interest that has been shown in its pre-clinical data.

The Company is initially targeting cosmetic skin care and in this market SkinBioTherapeutics’ skin microbiome technology is unusual in that its properties are supported by scientific data. These demonstrate its ability to improve the skin barrier, offer protection from infection and enhance skin repair. These characteristics support potential opportunities for the Company in cosmetics, anti-infectives and dermatological indications (e.g. eczema).

Most recently, the Company reported good results in a variety of toxicity studies and the development of its formulation as a gel, cream and lotion which will be tested to determine the best concentration and application for its humans studies.

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