German healthcare giant Merck has signed a licensing deal with Edinburgh University’s commercialisation arm for a pioneering technology developed by academics.
The invention, which is the subject of a patent application, involves the use of a fluorescent compound that can be used to help to understand how disease progresses in early stages.
A research team from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Clinical Sciences, led by principal investigator Marc Vendrell, worked in collaboration with academic partners at the University of Barcelona and the University of Manchester to co-invent the technology. The initial stages of the work were funded by the European Union Commission via a Marie Curie grant.
Angus Stewart-Liddon, licensing executive of Edinburgh Research & Innovation, which signed the agreement with Merck, desrcibed it as an “exciting breakthrough”.
He said: “Working with the life science business of Merck means the technology will be made readily accessible to researchers worldwide, both in industry and in academia. It is another great example of the university working in collaboration with trusted industry partners.”
Udit Batra, chief executive of life science for Merck, said: “At Merck, we are always looking for innovative ideas to enhance our customers’ research efforts.”
He said the compound developed will complement the company’s existing portfolio of chemical biology tools.
Founded in 1668, Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed group.
Earlier this year, Glasgow-based life sciences firm Collagen Solutions agreed a deal to supply Merck with products developed for use in regenerative medicine, medical devices and in-vitro diagnostics.