The process of method transfer often involves staff from the University of Brighton spending the latter part of the project at the company premises, or Allergy Therapeutics staff working alongside the Brighton team. After the method transfer has taken place, the knowledge becomes embedded within the company.
The ongoing collaboration with the university has included numerous projects dedicated to product characterisation and assay (test) development, utilising specific skills available within the school's research base. Much of this collaboration has been funded directly by the company, although a programme to develop a completely novel range of allergy vaccines was funded through a successful Knowledge Transfer Partnership.
The extent of these collaborations was recognised in 2006 with the company receiving the University Enterprise Award at the Sussex Business Awards for the best interaction between a business and Sussex-based university. The ongoing relationship is manifested in a business critical project dedicated to ensuring Allergy Therapeutics' products comply with new European regulations.
The company believes that one of the most significant, but unexpected outcomes of the collaboration is that the culture of the in-house development team has changed as a result of the interaction with the university. The team has been exposed to more blue sky research, in addition to applied thinking, a recent example being a Knowledge Transfer Partnership which focused on intellectual property and patents for early-stage concepts, prior to clinical trial.
"The scope of method development has dramatically increased" says Dr Skinner, "the University of Brighton link gives the development team more opportunity to be involved in new-platform technology and new ways of thinking, which is vital for an R&D team.
There is more freedom to investigate different tangents in a university environment, and the opportunity to publish novel findings and most importantly progress the treatment of the allergic condition."
"This is an on-going relationship involving six figure sums, and addressing business-critical problems for the company."
Dr Murray Skinner, Development Manager at Allergy Therapeutics.