Plasma Clean technology is pure genius

Plasma Clean Limited, a hi-tech spin-out from The University of Manchester has been awarded a £112,829 Grant for Research and Development from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA)

Based in the Stockport Business Incubator, Plasma Clean specialises in odour control and air purification solutions utilising non-thermal plasma technology.

Grant for Research and Development, is part of Solutions for Business, the Government’s package of publicly funded business support designed to help companies start and grow.

The Grant helps entrepreneurs and business owners introduce innovative products and processes, including research trials and product testing. Grant for Research and Development is designed specifically to support innovative projects that have a solid commercial potential.

The Grant for Research and Development will allow Plasma Clean to complete the development of its non-thermal plasma system. The technology, aimed at Ultra Pure Gas applications in the manufacture of semi-conductors, flat-panel displays and solar cells, and any other ultra high purity gas application, has already generated significant interest from the UK and abroad.

The work will build on the NWDA research project completed in October 2008, which helped the business to deliver a unique power supply system capable of producing a highly active plasma discharge using lower power.

The Plasma Clean system, known as Plasma UPG, will eventually be licensed to commercial partners across the world, seeking low power solutions to meet the ever demanding need to enhance process gas purity.

Mark Hughes, Executive Director of Economic Development, NWDA said:
“Innovation is critical to the economic development of the region; ensuring vital sectors remain productive. The NWDA plays an important role ensuring businesses within the Northwest are able to retain a competitive edge, leading the way in research and development,”

David Glover, Managing Director of Plasma Clean said:
“Receiving this award is a great boost for Plasma Clean and will help to deliver a unique product offering which will present significant benefits to our customers worldwide.

We have already had significant interest from some of the major players in the air purification industry, seeking a product which will offer competitive advantage in terms of performance and running costs”

“We have been working with Plasma Clean for over 3 years through the North West Business Investment Scheme. I am delighted their hard work and innovation has been recognised, enabling them to take their developments of the UPG plasma technology to the next level on an international scale. There is a huge market for Plasma Clean’s technology and this grant will help them further establish themselves as pioneers in the air purification field.” Says Doug Stellman, NWBIS, YFM Private Equity

The NWDA is playing a crucial role in response to the current economic downturn, with a number of actions being taken to meet the needs of businesses during these financially challenging times. To keep updated on the range of support being offered by the NWDA go to –

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Link Technologies inks exclusive license to exciplex

The ISO 9001:2000 certified specialist oligonucleotide reagent manufacturer, Link Technologies Ltd, is pleased to announce an exclusive license deal with The University of Manchester Intellectual Property Limited (UMIP) to the University’s “Exciplex” technology. Exciplex diagnostic probes offer ultra-biospecificity and significantly increased detection sensitivity over conventional systems due to negligible background signal.

At the same time, Link and the University are commencing a forward collaboration to further develop the existing technology. Under the terms of the licence agreement Link will manufacture and sell Exciplex-based reagents worldwide. No financial details of the agreement have been disclosed.

University of Manchester scientists, Honorary Professor Ken Douglas and Dr Elena Bichenkova, a Senior Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry, have developed new exciplex diagnostic probes based on labelling oligonucleotides with exciplex partners that form excited-state complexes in close spatial proximity. Application of these modified oligonucleotides in diagnostic systems has been shown to discriminate DNA mutations at the level of PCR products and plasmid DNA.

Professor Douglas commented: “This is a very exciting opportunity to bring together a University discovery base and this excellent company to work together. The Exciplex is a significant new area of science and we are pleased to have the expertise of Link Technologies to take this forward to a commercial entity for clinical benefit”.

Dr John Bremner, Business Development Director at Link Technologies, concurred: “We are
delighted with this deal, although we firmly believe this is simply the start of something truly
exciting. Our ongoing collaboration with the University over the coming months will optimise the technology, allowing us to launch a new range of innovative products targeted at diagnostic companies worldwide.”

Patents for this technology, covering all major market areas, are held by the University of
Manchester and licensed to Link. Link Technologies has also secured the rights to any intellectual property arising from the collaboration with the University.

UMIP Wins Tech Transfer Award

The University of Manchester’s intellectual property commercialisation company, UMIP, was voted Technology Transfer Office of the Year at the Genesis biotechnology conference in London last night.

The judges at the Gala dinner, held at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, awarded UMIP the top prize, despite strong competition from the other two shortlisted companies; Cancer Research Technology Ltd and UCL Business plc.

Commenting on the award Clive Rowland, CEO of UMIP, said: “It is an honour to receive this award and it is testament to all the dedication and hard work of UMIP staff. It has been a strong year for us with many new technologies having been either licensed or spun-out creating companies to bring ground breaking new technologies to the marketplace.“

In financial terms, over the last 5 years, UMIP’s activities have generated over £35M for the University through the sale of shares in spin-outs, licensing income and through IP grants and contracts activity.

This year UMIP has seen award-winning Myconostica pick up the ‘Innovation in Diagnostics Project of the Year’ prize at the Northwest Biomedical Awards. Also, spin out company Renephra received the ‘Emerging Technology Project of the Year’ at the same ceremony, as well as the ‘Northwest NHS Innovations Award’ at a separate event.

Also, clean-tech spin-out company Arvia® Technology won the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) North West Innovation Award in July and were named a Global Cleantech 100 company by Guardian News and Media and Cleantech Group™.

Allan Prits, UMIP Marketing Manager, receives the award from Baroness Jo Valentine, CEO, London First..

UMIP appoints Dr Sharon O’ Kane as its Entrepreneur in Residence

The University of Manchester’s award winning intellectual property company (UMIP) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Sharon O’ Kane as its Entrepreneur in Residence. Sharon will be engaging in an advisory role with UMIP to enhance the University’s spin-out company and licensing activities and to encourage intellectual property entrepreneurship at the University.

Sharon, who was recently named as Bionow / NWDA Biomedical Personality of the Year 2009, and was the Entrepreneur of the Year at the inaugural Northwest Women in Business Awards 2008, is the Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of University of Manchester spin-out company Renovo. Renovo Group plc is a biopharmaceutical company developing drugs for the reduction of scarring and has been listed on the London Stock Exchange since 2006.

Sharon said that she is looking forward to using the business skills and networks that she has developed from her involvement in the commercialisation of University-based research which led to the creation of Renovo and to raising the profile of entrepreneurship at the University. Sharon commented: “I am very pleased to have been asked to advise the University in this capacity. The University already has an excellent track record in innovation and entrepreneurship, with many successful spin-out companies. When I announced in September that I will move on from Renovo next February, I said I wanted to use my experience to help start and build companies, and this advisory role with UMIP is one in which I can immediately contribute and help UMIP continue to be successful in meeting its goals of creating spin-out companies, licensing IP and making an important contribution to the economy.”

Clive Rowland, UMIP’s CEO, said that he was delighted that Sharon had agreed to accept the appointment. “We are very much looking forward to working with Sharon. We have some specific ambitious funding initiatives in mind with which Sharon is ideally suited to help us. We are also asking Sharon to assist in improving our effectiveness and our success rate in drug discovery licensing.”

Awards for UMIP Premier Fund investments

Renephra and Myconostica are part of the UMIP Premier Fund which is managed by technology specialists MTI Partners, who invest in hi-tech, high growth companies.

Myconostica was awarded the ‘Innovation in Diagnostics Project of the Year’, at this year’s Northwest Biomedical Awards dinner, whilst Renephra received the ‘Emerging Technology Project of the Year’ at the same ceremony, but also scooped a ‘Northwest NHS Innovations Award’ at a separate event.

University of Manchester School of Medicine spin out, Myconostica, is a medical diagnostic company which develops and commercialises rapid and highly specific tests for life-threatening fungal infections. The award was received for Myconostica’s MycArray Yeast ID product; an inventive system for identifying Candida species.

Renephra, also a spin out project from The University of Manchester, were recognised for the development of their groundbreaking dialysis technology that could dramatically improve the quality of life of patients with kidney disease and improve their long term prognosis.

Dr. John Thornback, Myconostica’s Chief Operating Officer, received the honour on behalf of the company at the award ceremony. Speaking at the event, Dr. Thornback said “Myconostica is delighted to have received this title in recognition of the innovative technology utilised in our original test for identifying Candida species, MycArray Yeast ID.

Dr. Thornback continues: “Having been the recipients of Bionow’s Biomedical Start Up of the Year Award in 2006 we are delighted to have been further recognised for our continued contribution to providing innovative diagnostic solutions for the treatment of invasive fungal diseases.”

Prof. Paul Brenchley said: “Receiving one award is fantastic, so to have our technology recognised by both the Northwest NHS Innovations Award and the Northwest Biomedical Awards in one week is a huge honour.”

Manchester based MTI Partners Investment Manager Mark Rahn said: “I am delighted that the University of Manchester and NHS projects have featured so well in recent awards events. MTI’s UMIP Premier Fund is a supporter of both Myconostica and Renephra and we are pleased that these awards recognise their recent strides forward.”

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