Primer Design acquired by Novacyt for £12m
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.
Poster prize for Arun Shivalingam
Arun Shivalingam has won the ChemGenes-sponsored Poster Prize at the 14th RSC Nucleic Acids Forum held in London on the 6th of July (www.rsc.org/events/detail/31569/the-14th-nucleic-acids-forum). The forum aims to bring together researchers at interface of chemistry and biology with a particular focus on nucleic acids. Arun’s work describes the design and refinement of artificial nucleic acid backbones that can be formed by chemical ligation and allow faithful replication of the information encoded.