This UK based SME specialises in the development of super-resolution optical microscopes (70-100 nanometers resolution). Their technology has huge applications in the life science sector so they are interested in working with industrial/research organisations involved in oncology, virology, drug discovery, tissue engineering etc. to develop their prototype via research cooperation or technical cooperation agreements.
The UK SME was established in 2014 and has strong ties with academia and industry. They have integrated microsphere technology into a widefield microscope. The effect of this technology is to amplify invisible light waves resulting in significantly higher resolutions and magnification than what is typically achievable on a normal optical setup.
Optical microscopy is an important imaging technique that is used throughout scientific research. However, due to the far-field diffraction limit, within the visible light spectrum, existing optical microscopes are restricted to the theoretical resolution of 200 nanometers (nm). In order to see beyond this limit, researchers have to sacrifice colour or depth of field. Furthermore, equipment with these capabilities is prohibitively expensive, few in number and has extensive sample preparation and atmospheric requirements.
These barriers limit what research can currently be carried out with widefield optical microscopy with regard to the study of nanoscale features across materials. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and confocal techniques all have drawbacks regarding cost, accessibility and time within R&D workflows.
To address the above issues this UK based SME has developed and patented the world’s first commercially available widefield microscope at 70-100nm resolution, which will enable the study of nanoscale structures such as cells, tissues or viruses. This allows researchers to take nanoscale images in full colour and in super-resolution without the use of complex detection equipment, which has previously been impossible. Multiple layered circuits with 90nm structures can now be imaged simultaneously with image depth and viruses of 75nm can be imaged optically with this technique. These cannot be easily detected with existing methods.
The UK company is looking for different applications and is interested in receiving biological samples from companies or research labs involved in oncology, immunology, virology, or tissue engineering. The company will use the biological samples along with analysis criteria provided by partners to test and produce their prototype. All the interested partners will be provided with the test results.
In case partners are further interested, the UK company would like to engage with them to develop microscopes tailored to their needs and they would be allowed to use it for free for 2 months in their research facilities. The main partnership agreements envisaged are research cooperation or technology cooperation agreements.
- Type of partner sought: The interested partners should have expertise in one or more of the following:
• prevention, diagnosis or treatment of cancer
• molecular biology research or viral therapy
• drug discovery
They are expected to provide and discuss the specification of biological samples to carry out imaging studies in particular application areas utilising this technology. This would begin through the sending of samples on a free basis to the SME to compile initial results and lead to the SME providing a partner with a demo unit in order to generate test results and case studies as to its usage in advanced bio imaging work. This imaging data and feedback would play a vital role in the planned launch of this technology in March 2018.
This technology grants the potential to investigate both in vitro and in vivo samples and resolve details of around 70nm but potentially as far as 50nm all from a widefield optical setup.
- Specific area of activity of the partner: The company is looking to engage with universities, research centres and industry partners around the world who are
involved in life science.
The initial primary focus of the company will be in North America, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and South-East Asian markets. However, they are open to receive interest from other regions as well. The main partnership agreements envisaged are research and technology cooperation agreements. The role of the partners would be to provide the samples, analysis criteria and any other specification.
The UK company will use the samples to test the features of their prototype and the data generated will be supplied to the sample provider. If there are any partners interested in niche applications then the UK company would like to co-develop microscopes tailored to partners need.
The UK company is happy to provide the developed microscope to the partners for 2 months in case they would like to use it in their own facilities. In return, the partners need to send back the analysed data (non confidential) so the UK company can use it to generate case studies.
Under development/lab tested
Design Rights,Patent(s) applied for but not yet granted