We seek to ensure that knowledge developed by the Crick is invested in and taken forward to give products or services that can be commercialised. In licensing our intellectual property, we want to be sure there is a clear route to its application and use.
A long-term view
We will have achieved our aim when a project is successful in delivering a product that benefits people’s health.
That’s why we want to recognise success with late-stage clinical milestones and royalties, rather than look for short-term value creation. We think license fees or early development milestones can stifle innovation and get in the way of progress on a project.
A microscope within a microscope
No single microscope can image all aspects of a sample at the same time. So the use of two or more imaging methods to study a sample - correlative imaging - is common-place.
Lucy Collinson’s electron microscopy team at the Crick are experts in correlative imaging. Collaborating with equipment manufacturers, they have developed a way to introduce a fluorescent light microscope within an electron microscope. Imaging a sample in this way reveals the dynamic function of proteins (using the light microscope) within the context of the cell and tissue structure (shown in great detail by the electron microscope).
They are making the development available to the community as open-source technology. There are also plans to license the technology to commercial manufacturers.
Electrodes for neuroscience
A patent has been filed on electrode technology arising from neuroscience research carried out in Andreas Schaefer’s lab, a technology which could have a wide range of applications. Researcher Romeo Racz developed very fine electrodes to record electric signals from nerve cells for neurophysiology studies.
The ability to map neural circuits in the brain with such precision is of great interest, and the Crick is working with a UK company to make the electrodes available for research laboratories.
There are also potential applications in medicine. Having consulted clinicians, the group has identified unmet medical needs for fine-scale bioelectronic needles and devices. Several projects are underway to develop and test such products with the possibility of working with others to take them further.