Oxagen Ltd - License Agreement on Asthma Genetics
Work emanating from Professor Bill Cookson's Asthma Genetics Group, supported principally by the Wellcome Trust and the National Asthma Campaign, and based at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, has resulted in a portfolio of patents in the areas of asthma and atopy. The intellectual property includes linkages, associations and single nucleotide polymorphisms.
Asthma affects approximately 10% of the population with the disease becoming increasingly prevalent. Many factors appear to play a role in the aetiology and exacerbation of asthma. Asthma is strongly familial and is due to the interaction between genetic and environmental factors. Allergen sources include house dust mites, domestic and farm animals and grass or tree pollens. Genetic factors include variants of normal genes - polymorphisms - that alter their function to predispose to asthma.
In August 1999 Isis Innovation, the University of Oxford and Catalyst BioMedica (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Wellcome Trust) signed a Collaboration Agreement on Asthma with Oxagen Limited. The Agreement gives Oxagen an exclusive worldwide license to develop products and services based on the patented intellectual property. Professor Cookson and his laboratory have amassed an extensive collection of DNA samples from asthma families for use in their studies. Oxagen will also have access to this material.
Oxagen, a genomics company based at Milton Park in Abingdon, was formed in 1997 and specialises in the understanding of the genetic basis of common human diseases. Oxagen's strategy builds an understanding of the target disease, encompassing mechanisms of susceptibility, triggering and progression thereby offering insights into the molecular basis of the disease and subsequent novel gene discoveries.