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Academic develops method for synthesising more reliable drug alternative to antibodies

Professor Sergey Piletsky (pictured) from the Department of Chemistry has been instrumental in creating a new method to develop an alternative to traditional antibodies that is more reliable and can be made quicker.

The new method can synthesise MIPs (Molecularly Imprinted Polymers) and can help to solve the current challenges inherent in the use of antibodies and aptamers. 

Traditional antibodies are vital tools for drug discovery and point-of-care diagnostics, but they are frequently unreliable due to their fragility and propensity to biodegrade. Furthermore, in order to work successfully, antibodies need to bind to the target using a predetermined scaffold of fixed dimensions.

MIPs, on the other hand, are not biodegradable and are constructed by a process of self-assembly using the target molecule as a template. This also makes them more readily available, in many cases taking two weeks or less to make. 

MIP Diagnostics Ltd, a spinout from our University developing plastic antibodies for a variety of applications, has received follow-on investment from Mercia Fund Management (Mercia), a leading investment business in UK innovation and wholly-owned subsidiary of Mercia Technologies PLC.

The investment, totalling £300,000, follows the successful completion of key milestones, including the appointment of CEO Dr Adrian Kinkaid, and the development of an initial sales pipeline.  One year into operations, MIP Diagnostics has managed to secure customers and is in initial discussions with several blue chip organisations.

MIP Diagnostics will use Mercia’s latest funding to build momentum for its current fee-for-service business strategy. It will also continue to raise awareness of the advantages of MIPs, particularly in its initial target markets of pharmaceutical research & manufacturing, biotechnology, nutrition, security, environmental monitoring and academic research.

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