Innovation and Commercialisation
The School of Biology and Evironmental Science recognises the need to foster and promote the transfer of knowledge generated through its research to benefit the wider community and to contribute to the development of Ireland as a knowledge-driven economy.
Examples of the sucess of the School in translating its research into industrial seetings include:
The development of diagnostic tests for BSE
This test was developed following the formation of a joint venture company, Pharmapro Ltd, between a UK firm Proteus Molecular Design Ltd, now called Protherics plc, and UCD in 1993. Pharmapro was established to develop commercial diagnostic tests and vaccines for animal diseases including bovine TB and the then emerging disease, BSE.
The research related to BSE was carried out in UCD by Professor Rogers. His research led to the development of the TSE (Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy) diagnostic technology, which was licensed to a small Irish company Enfer Scientific Ltd in 1996. Enfer subsequently developed a rapid test for BSE using this technology.
The developed BSE test, which reduced the time for a BSE diagnosis from 14 days to 3.5 hours, was validated by the Irish Department of Agriculture in 1997. The test became commercially viable in 1999 when the European Commission validated it as one of three tests acceptable for use in the diagnosis of BSE in Europe. Enfer, which has generated significant jobs and profits from selling diagnostic BSE test-kits, now sells almost one million BSE test-kits annually, one-third of them in Ireland, and UCD earns a significant royalty income from these sales.
New technologies for the generation of transgenic plants.
In collaboration with Teagasc, Dr Fiona Doohan has developed Ensifer-Mediated Transformation (EMT) as an alternative to Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation for the generation of transgenic plants. This technology has been successfully used to introgress genes into Arabidopsis and potato and its potential for use in other crops, including cereals and soya, is currently being evaluated.