UCL immunologists win first UCL Business Award

19 October 2006

Three scientists from UCL Immunology & Molecular Pathology have won the inaugural UCL Business Award for their research into therapeutic monoclonal antibodies.

UCL Business awards

Professor Arne Akbar, Dr Peter Amlot and Professor George Janossy were presented with their awards by Mr Cengiz Tarhan, Managing Director of UCL Business. Their collaborative work produced a compound called Simulect, which acts to prevent the rejection of organs following transplantation. The drug has been used to treat more than 100,000 transplant patients and has earned more than £7 million in royalties for the Royal Free and University College Medical School.

Professor Akbar said: “Biomedical Sciences might be seen as being costly to the university but a concerted effort at initiating translational research can also lead to rewards. It is good to have formal recognition that biomedicine is not only providing cutting-edge science, but also bringing important advances in scientific knowledge to medical practice.”

Professor Janossy added: “This progress has been achieved with foresight, since skills from five different areas came together at the then Royal Free Medical School at the right time. These were the financial advice, the monoclonal antibody preparation, the availability of molecular methods to humanise these antibodies, impeccable clinical studies in transplantation and the commercial strength for marketing. Our work was a collaborative achievement.”

The collaboration that has resulted in the production of Simulect was initiated in 1983 between the Royal Free Immunology Department and Sandoz/Novartis. UCL Business, which was set up as a specialist company to commercialise research carried out in UCL’s departments, was responsible for the acquisition and management of the necessary funds to steer this project to successful exploitation.

It is hoped that the UCL Business Award will become an annual event as other significant commercial achievements from UCL researchers are recognised.

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Image: The UCL Business awards