Authentix Ltd in York is a small-to-medium-sized enterprise (SME) that has helped foster the group’s reputation for being a security solutions provider. Even where a product is edible, the company has a range of regulatory, approved ingestible markers which can authenticate the product. The company wanted to push boundaries in two key ways: to find a new set of molecular markers that could be patented and used as ‘in-product’ markers for spirits, pharmaceuticals and foods and the second aim was to develop a commercial instrument for detecting levels of security markers in fuels. It looked to the University of York
KTP has proved to be highly successful and lucrative; we have an unrivalled range of in-product markers and have become world experts in micro-fluidic technology.
Erwin Dorland, Authentix Ltd
This Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project brought about the constructive collaboration between Authentix Ltd and the University of York. The aim was to develop field tests based on novel tracers for the spirit industry and to develop a product for quantitative tests of levels of markers in fuels.
As a result of this successful KTP, Authentix has increased significantly its knowledge, analytical skills, range of products and its competitive position. Through the first Associate’s work, the company has identified new and patentable protein markers and developed high-volume production of proteins using bacterial hosts. State-of-the-art equipment and techniques have helped the company move to new protein-based programs, an innovation that removes it from the limitations of programs based on antibodies. With its new range of in-product markers, greater degree of autonomy over the application of the technology and capacity to reduce cost, the company can expand in markets where there are no other companies offering a similar product. With the help of the second Associate and the other parties within the collaboration, Authentix has designed an instrument to achieve its detection aims. In so doing, it has become a world expert in the field of micro-fluidic technology.
The company is now able to develop rapid prototypes for the quantitative analysis of marked fuels. It has also gained expertise in membrane technology, electronics and optics for ultra-sensitive detection. The new instrument will improve significantly the company’s competitive position, with existing and new customers already showing an interest. The full significance of these initiatives is still to be realised. However, the company is already anticipating a change in annual sales turnover which is expected to rise by more than £2 million to a total of over £6.5 million as a result of KTP.
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