The company's collaboration with the University of Brighton began in 1992 when the eye-care division was specifically looking for academic support in developing its technology for use in ocular applications such as intraocular lenses and contact lenses. Professor Andrew Lloyd, dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, and colleagues in the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences initially developed the partnership through a major DTI LINK Programme to develop novel materials for the fabrication of intraocular lenses for the treatment of cataract. This subsequently led to a series of collaborative research projects including the development of a Glaucoma Filtration Implant and the evaluation of various contact lens materials.
As part of the Teaching Company Scheme (now called a Knowledge Transfer Partnership), the University of Brighton recruited a graduate to work within the company for two years. Her task was to develop novel assays (unique tests), which looked at the biological performance of polymer coatings - specifically how cells do or do not attach to various different surfaces.
This technology was transferred from the university to the client company's laboratories in 1999 - 2000, and the project provided further validated scientific data which led to a number of peer-reviewed publications. The graduate was subsequently supported by the company to complete a PhD and undertake postdoctoral research at the university on the company's technology.