Prof. Tom Brown is the overall winner in the BBSRC Innovator of the Year 2016, for his work on Extending the Boundaries of Nucleic Acid Chemistry. The award was announced today at the BBSRC Fostering Innovation event in London.
In 2005, Dr Rob Powell and Dr Jim Wicks, two experts in PCR and diagnostics at the School of Medicine, Southampton University, had the idea of starting up a diagnostics company, Primer Design. The University declined to invest, so Prof. Tom Brown came on board as the only investor (investing £50k), as well as providing guidance and expertise in nucleic acid chemistry. Over the next ten years, Rob and Jim built the company up, developing the innovative and hugely successful genesig® platform, with qPCR kits for swine flu, Ebola and Zika virus; and establishing a worldwide reputation (with customers in over 100 countries).
Today, Novacyt, an international specialist in cancer and infectious disease diagnostics, has announced the acquisition of Primer Design, for a purchase price of £12m subject to the achievement of sales targets over the next three years.
Prof. Tom Brown has been named as one of the finalists in the 2016 BBSRC Innovator of the Year competition. The winner will be announced at the Fostering Innovation event in London on 18th May.