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2006 News


December 2006

NEW European partnership in agricultural biotechnology cooperation

PBL has joined with 11 European public sector research organisations in a new initiative called EPIPAGRI, supported by the European Commission to collaborate in IP management and technology transfer in the field of agricultural bioscience. 

The partners include some of the major holders of agri-bioscience IP / technology in Europe, including PBL, INRA, The Max-Planck Institutes, IRTA of Spain, VIB (Belgium) and SLU, the Swedish Agricultural University. PBL is responsible for delivering one of the three workpackages in the partnership, which held its inaugural meeting in October 2006. The partners are cooperating to share information on their respective IP portfolios in the areas of agriculture and food related biosciences, plant and animal science and microbiology / biotechnology, and to explore cooperative approaches to bringing public sector technology into commercial use, and for making technology available for public-good purposes. Going forward, EPIPAGRI aims to include participation from outside the collaborating partners, during 2007. 

For more information, please contact Dr Jan Chojecki.

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December 2006

JIC scientists develop revolutionary tool to predict Heterosis in hybrid crops

Prof Ian Bancroft and colleagues at the John Innes Centre, UK have developed a revolutionary new method to predict heterosis.  The method can be used to accurately predict hybrid vigour for a range of important crop performance traits, including yield.  PBL has funded the development of this work, extending from the original work in Arabidopsis, to prove that the technology also worked accurately in the globally important crop, maize.  PBL is now offering licences to the seed and plant breeding industry to use this technology to assist the breeding and development of a wide range of crops, worldwide.

For more information, please contact Dr Jan Chojecki.

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December 2006

Young scientists from Rothamsted Research win national competition with idea for controlling garden slugs

Scientists from Rothamsted Research have won this year's Biotechnology Young Entrepreneur's Scheme business plan competition. The team were advised on intellectual property aspects of their plan by PBL's patent manager, Gerard Bencen. This is the third time in four years that the winner of this prestigious competition has been coached by PBL.

Click here to view the full news item as a PDF.

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November 2006

Novel Wound Dressing Materials Produced from Pea Starch

A team of researchers led by Professor Cliff Hedley at the John Innes Centre (Norwich, UK) has developed range of novel starch-based films with potential applications as wound dressing materials.

Click here to view the full news item as a PDF.

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November 2006

New research published on novel enzyme involved in producing antifungal compound in oats

New research led by Professor Anne Osbourn at the John Innes Centre (Norwich UK) has recently been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS Dec 5, 2006, vol 103, no 49, pp18,848-18,853) describing a novel cytochrome P450 enzyme found in oats, called Sad2, that is involved in the synthesis of a compound in the roots which protects the plant against the fungal disease "take-all."

Click here to view the full news item as a PDF.

Please click here for more information on this technology.

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November 2006

PBL spin-outs joint winners of EEDA Running the Gauntlet competition

Two spin-out companies established by PBL out of John Innes Centre technology have been announced as joint winners in the East of England Development Agency's Running the Gauntlet competition.  Chameleon Biosurfaces Limited and Novacta Biosystems Limited are among the six winning companies that between them will receive a total of £1m investment from the regional venture fund, CREATE.  To have two winners is a significant recognition of PBL's enterprise establishment activity.

Click here to view the full news item as a PDF.

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November 2006

PBL launches the IFR Model Gut services to the Food and Pharma industries

The IFR Model Gut, the development of which has been funded and managed by PBL for the last two years, has recently generated significant press coverage as a result of its launch as a service operation.

PBL and the BBSRC have provided the funds for the build and initial marketing of this innovative instrument that simulates the chemical, biochemical and physical processes at work in the human stomach and small intestine during digestion.

The Model Gut has numerous applications within the food and pharmaceutical industries and is now being marketed as a service to evaluate novel and existing foodstuffs, as well as new pharmaceuticals and/or drug delivery systems.

Dr Peter Ellis, an independent nutritionist from King's College, London commented that "This is an important tool that will allow us to understand what happens in the gut".

The project has already attracted interest from a number of large food and pharmaceutical companies and aim is to generate further business opportunities in the near future.  PBL is looking to form a select number of key, strategic, development relationships with industrial partners in target user sectors.

Click here for a link to the BBC news item.

For more information on the Model Gut, please click here, or contact Dr Martin Stocks.

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November 2006

Two PBL spin-outs in top ten in Eastern Region competition

PBL is delighted to announce that two of its spin out companies have been selected among 10 finalists for the East of England Development Agency's "Running the Gauntlet" competition.  Both Novacta Biosystems Limited and Chameleon Biosurfaces Limited were established by PBL based on technology developed at the John Innes Centre.

Click here to view the full news item.

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October 2006

PBL spin-out Chameleon receives £500,000 new funding

PBL is delighted that its spin-out company CHAMELEON BIOSURFACES is continuing to reach its technical and business milestones and has secured a new £500,000 investment led by London Seed Capital.

Click here to view the full news item. 

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August 2006

Medicago and PBL sign license agreements for PBL’s bipartite expression and related technologies

Medicago and PBL announced today the signing of licence agreements to give Medicago access to a range of technologies for the high level expression of heterologous proteins in plants.  The agreements give Medicago access to PBL’s bipartite expression system and a wide range of suppressors of gene silencing.

The bipartite viral expression system was developed by Dr George Lomonossoff and coworkers at the John Innes Centre, UK using specific elements of comoviruses.

Click here to view the full news item. 

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January 2006

PBL wins £1.9m commercialisation fund in BBSRC-backed bid

PBL is delighted to announce that it has won an award of £1.9m from a UK Government fund designed to turn the best research ideas into commercial reality.  The award helps PBL to fund market research and marketing activity as well as to extend its previously established Technology Development Fund - in particular promoting innovations from the plant, microbial and food science research conducted at BBSRC-sponsored institutes.

Click here to view the full news item.

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January 2006

New research published on cancer-fighting broccoli

A new piece of research from Professor Mithen's group has recently been published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  This reports on dietary studies carried out to understand the benefits of eating broccoli, in particular the new varieties of "superbroccoli", which are the subject of PBL's licence to Seminis.

Click here for the full news item.

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