The Reporter
Issue 493, 27 October 2003
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Skin treatments spin-out Techtran's first


Jon Cove and Anne EadyNew ways to treat acne and tackle ‘superbugs’ could be available in just a few years, following the first spin-out in conjunction with the University’s new commercialisation partner, Techtran Ltd.

Microbiologists Anne Eady and Jon Cove of the skin research centre are to head a new company, Syntopix Ltd, creating effective alternatives to antibiotics for externally applied treatments for acne and Staphylococcus aureus infection (including resistant strains such as MRSA). The company has won £500,000 funding from the Wellcome Trust.

New anti-staphylococcal drugs are urgently needed to tackle the spread of ‘superbugs’ such as MRSA, particularly in hospitals where MRSA-related infections are on the increase, along with instances of infection in the community.

“Our goal is to remove the need for antibiotics for all but the most serious staphylococcal infections,” said Dr Cove. “We plan to combine tried and tested agents in new ways that harness their antimicrobial and pharmacological effects. We’ve developed an effective screening process that means we can quickly determine which combinations will be most effective, enabling us to get the products very quickly to where they are needed.”

The funding from the Wellcome Trust’s technology transfer division will enable the company to employ four scientists to run a pre-clinical research programme, identifying products able to undergo clinical trials within two years.

Techtran has helped the researchers start the business and find the development funding. Dr Alex Stevenson from Techtran will join the Syntopix board as a non-executive director.

Professor David Hogg, Pro-Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for knowledge strategy, said: “Congratulations to everyone involved in the creation of Syntoptix for trailblazing the University’s new partnership with Techtran. I look forward to seeing the emergence of other spin-outs already in the pipeline.”


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