Working with Industry

Department of Chemistry University of Oxford
Calibration-free pH meter

Research: Professor Richard Compton
Commercialisation: technology licensed by Senova Systems
Focus: a new pH sensor platform deploying patented chemistries coupled with advanced materials and proprietary electronics. Developers Senova previewed the pHit Scanner in 2012, and are now developing a commercial product.
See A5 flyer: A revolution in pH measurement.

See also technology for licensing: New approach to pH sensing and Solid-state pH sensor technology licensed by Phathom Nanosensors

Garlic sensor

Research: Professor Richard Compton 
Focus: a simple electrochemical means for detecting and quantifying diallyldisulfide, the best indicator of the strength of garlic.

Chilli pepper sensor

Research: Professor Richard Compton
Focus: a sensitive electroanalytical methodology for the determination of capsaicin (responsible for the ‘heat’ in foodstuffs) using adsorptive stripping voltammetry with multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) based electrodes. This technology is licensed to the English Provender Company in the UK, and Singapore-based company Bio-X who are creating a hand-held chilli sensor.

Electrochemical detection of tagged nanoparticles

Research: Professor Richard Compton
Focus: an electrochemical detection technique based on particle coulometry. The technology allows the nanoparticle label to be modified and also to be detected in suspension, and is proposed to be of use in sensing or biosensing applications.

Electrochemical detection of silver nanoparticlesNanoparticle detection

Research: Professor Richard Compton
Focus: a fast and accurate method for the measurement of nanoparticles in a variety of samples.

Simplified screening test for cystic fibrosis

Research: Professor Richard Compton
Focus: electrochemical methods for the determination of chloride ions; could be developed into a point-of-care system for preliminary screening of cystic fibrosis (CF) that would be fast and accurate, as well as being simple to use and interpret.

Gas sensors

Research: Professor Richard Compton
Focus: modified carbon-based electrochemical sensors that offer high sensitivity, improved selectivity and longer lifetimes. The sensors are appropriate for a range of gases and are also suited to low cost manufacturing techniques.

Real world arsenic detection

Research: Professor Richard Compton
Focus: a low-cost method of detecting arsenic that could be developed into a test to measure arsenic in the field.

Assays for anti-cancer agents

Research: Professor Christopher Schofield
Focus: a method for identifying inhibitors which can act against the cancer target Mina53. Such inhibitors will be useful in treating colon tumours and oesophageal cancer.

Identifying new metabolic disease therapies

Research: Professor Christopher Schofield
Focus: new assays to screen for potential drug candidates against metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

Obesity assay

Research: Professor Christopher Schofield
Focus: a range of assays, which can be used in identifying and developing pharmaceutical (drug) candidates against FTO enzyme, a promising target for anti-obesity drugs.

Boron alloys for hydrogen storage applications

Research: Professors Peter Edwards and William David
Focus: synthetic routes to novel mixed alkali metal borohydrides. The new materials have proved to be effective hydrogen stores with increased hydrogen density, reduced decomposition temperatures and increased cycles.

Low cost transparent conductors

Research: Professor Peter Edwards
Focus: silicon doped zinc oxide thin films deposited by solution phase technique, showing high conductivity, high transparency and low haze and suited to a wide variety of applications.

Carbon dioxide to methanol process

Research: Professor Dermot O'Hare
Focus: a new process to convert CO2, a greenhouse gas produced in huge quantities industrially, into methanol, a useful solvent and green fuel.

Inorganic adjuvants and immune modulators

Research: Professor Dermot O'Hare
Focus: a novel class of inorganic vaccine adjuvants and immune modulators that have highly predictable attributes and can be designed to produce specific immunological responses.

New biomass to methanol catalyst

Research: Professor Edman Tsang
Focus: a new catalytic process to convert ethylene glycol directly into lower alcohols. Operating at relatively low pressure and low temperature, the process offers the exciting possibility of advancing the use of lower alcohols as green fuels.

New biomass to methanol process

Research: Professor Edman Tsang
Focus: a new catalytic process to convert glycerol, the main by-product of biodiesel production, into methanol.

Methanol to hydrogen

Research: Professor Edman Tsang
Focus: this technology would allow the use of methanol, which is relatively safe and simple to transport, as a fuel for hydrogen-powered equipment.

Alkenes as chiral building blocks

Research: Dr Stephen Fletcher
Focus: this technology offers a flexible new method for creating chiral centres from low-cost starting materials.

Creating new chiral carbon centres

Research: Dr Stephen Fletcher
Focus: a robust and simple process that allows highly enantioselective carbon-carbon bond formation, opening up entirely new syntheses not possible using existing methods.

Drug discovery software: ultrafast shape recognition (USR)

Research: Professor Graham Richards
Focus: USR software provides a non-superposition based method for comparing molecules. Using this method, molecular shape is characterised by a set of 1D distributions of inter-atom distances, which retain 3D shape information.

Single site polymerisation catalyst

Research: Professor Philip Mountford
Focus: a system for homopolymerisation of ethylene combining the catalyst with the activator in one compound – a single site catalyst.

Anti-cancer drug discovery

Research: Professor Dame Carol Robinson
Focus: provides new tools for identifying drugs against novel cancer targets.

MASSIGN: mass spectrometry method and software

Research: Professor Dame Carol Robinson
Focus: a methodology and software tool to assist in the understanding of complicated mass spectra from large complexes.

Drug candidate identification

Research: Professor Dame Carol Robinson
Focus: a native mass spectrometry method that detects binding of small molecule drug candidates to membrane proteins.

Improved mass resolution and ion throughput in ToF mass spectrometry

Research: Professors Claire Vallance and Mark Brouard
Focus: a simple to implement invention which couples fast detectors with time-of-flight (ToF) mass spectrometry in order to improve total ion throughput and time (and correspondingly mass) resolution.

Pixel imaging mass spectrometry

Research: Professors Claire Vallance and Mark Brouard
Focus: a new variation on (ToF) mass spectrometry, which uses a modified ion lens assembly and detector to obtain mass-selective images of the spatial or velocity distribution of the ions at their point of formation.

Faster, brighter scintillators

Research: Professors Claire Vallance and Mark Brouard
Focus: a new range of scintillators: shorter intensity decay lifetimes mean improved time resolution. For time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometry this relates directly to desired improvements in mass resolution.

Ion detector

Research: Professors Claire Vallance and Mark Brouard
Focus: a new type of ion detector which offers a number of advantages: fully-integrated position sensitive ion detector eliminates the need for MCPs and phosphors; improved time resolution performance over MCP/phosphor combination; superior ion detection efficiency without the loss of spatial resolution or added complexity of comparable MCP-based approaches; more robust detector solution which can operate at higher pressures (up to atmospheric) and without the need for a high voltage power supply.

Tuneable Optical Filter

Research: Professor Claire Vallance & Photonic Nanomaterials Group, Department of Materials
Focus: a compact tuneable optical filter for use in spectroscopy applications; offers a transmission bandwidth of approximately 0.01-1nm and can complete continuous tuning of a single transmission line over a range of up to 100nm.

On-chip optical sensor platform

Research: Professor Claire Vallance & Photonic Nanomaterials Group, Department of Materials
Focus: a flexible chip-based sensor based on optical cavities.

Miniature tuneable dye laser

Research: Professor Claire Vallance & Photonic Nanomaterials Group, Department of Materials
Focus: a dye laser based on optical micro-cavities.

Improving protein drugs with smart chemistry

Research: Professor Ben Davis
Focus: The Oxford toolkit - a group of enzymatic and chemical methods that enable proteins to be modified in a very specific and controllable manner.

Targeted image contrast agent

Research: Professor Ben Davis
Focus: imaging agent provides extremely sensitive imaging that is far superior to that obtained with existing imaging agents; the invention could potentially provide much advancement for the diagnosis and monitoring of multiple sclerosis and other inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system.

Improved inflammation imaging

Research: Professor Ben Davis
Focus: new imaging agents to diagnose diseases associated with endothelial activation, eg inflammatory diseases such as MS & atherosclerosis.

Biodegradable MRI imaging agents

Research: Professor Ben Davis
Focus: multimeric, biodegradable, imaging agents for MRI that can amongst other things, target lesions in the blood brain barrier.

Tuberculosis detection

Research: Professor Ben Davis
Focus: improved TB detection using trehalose probes to monitor mycobacterial growth and infection by many imaging modalities.

Improved hydrogen generation method

Research: Professor John Foord
Focus: a way to prepare silicon to make it suitably reactive for sustained local generation of hydrogen; this new invention significantly improves the hydrogen yield (>90 percent of theoretical) and rate of generation to commercially highly attractive levels.

Measuring hydrogen sulphide

Research: Professor Stephen Faulkner
Focus: a fluorescent proprietary molecule for the detection of hydrogen sulphide particularly suitable for analysis of liquid samples.

Breath-by-breath respiratory gas analyser

Research: Professors Gus Hancock and Grant Ritchie
Focus: an apparatus for ‘in-line’ analysis that uses laser spectroscopy to measure directly the concentration of oxygen, carbon dioxide and water vapour in a breathing tube.

Efficient cofactor regeneration

Research: Professor Kylie Vincent
Focus: facilitates the use of enzyme-catalysed steps in reactions such as stereoselective aldehyde reduction; potential to reduce the manufacturing cost for pharmaceutical and fine chemical industries.

Novel small molecule cannabinoid agonists

Research: Professor Angela Russell
Focus: small molecule agonists that target CB2 and have potential use in diseases with an inflammatory component.