Innovate UK, the innovation agency which provides funding and support to organisations to make new products and services, has rated a University of Bath partnership with Wiltshire-based UK pharmaceuticals supplier BathASU as ‘outstanding’.

Bath ASU, a supplier of aseptically prepared pharmaceutical products to the UK hospital sector is one of a number of spin-out companies from the University of Bath, which under its Enterprise and Entrepreneurship programme, offers a range of development and collaboration opportunities including support for start-ups, consultancy, and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.

Innovate UK recognised the longstanding Knowledge Transfer Partnership between the University of Bath and BathASU, which embeds a graduate scientist from the university into the company.

This partnership allows the embedded university associate to understand the commercial needs of the company while providing BathASU with access to the university’s academic expertise, ideas, knowledge and technology. The most recent KTP focused on extending the shelf-life of pharmaceutical products.

“We are very pleased, especially for our KTP Associate Terry Chapman who is now employed with us at BathASU, that this KTP with the University of Bath has been graded outstanding. It builds on our previous track record of outstanding KTPs through our collaborations with the university,” said Chris Watt, Executive Chair of Pharmaxo, parent company to BathASU.

“The knowledge gained and embedded has contributed to our market leading capability in characterising the methods required for the assessment of stability for monoclonal antibodies. Extending medicinal product shelf lives is critical for enhancing flexibility in healthcare and deliver expanded healthcare system capacity. Terry will continue this work within our in-house dedicated R&D team,” Watt said.

Lead academic on the KTP, Dr Andrew Watts from the Department of Life Sciences at the University of Bath, said,” It is hugely encouraging for our partnership with BathASU to be awarded ‘Outstanding’ by Innovate UK which is very importantly working with antibody-based drugs that engage T cells for an exciting new class of cancer therapy. This KTP will develop, validate and implement novel methods for the characterisation of drugs in this class under extended storage. As a result, new BathASU products will be produced that have extended shelf lives.”

KTPs are funded by Innovate UK. The programme aims to stimulate innovation, by providing industry-based training and development of talented university graduates, including postgraduates. Around 70% of associates are offered a post with the company on a permanent basis, following project completion. Companies are eligible for a grant of up to 67% as an SME or up to 50% for a larger organisation

Typically, the university graduate associate works on a strategic project at a company, varying in length from 2 to 3 years. An academic supervisor at the University, with relevant expertise to the programme, maintains close involvement with the graduate and organisation throughout.

Dr Terry Chapman, KTP associate, said the programme offered a valuable opportunity to gain new skills and put others into practice.

“I was well supported by staff from across the University of Bath, BathASU and from Innovate UK. The strong focus on personal development has equipped me to take on much larger projects and roles than I otherwise would have with only my previous academic experience. I wholeheartedly recommend the KTP programme and am exceptionally pleased that our work has been awarded as “Outstanding” by Innovate UK,” Chapman said.

The KTP with BathASU was developed and managed with the support of the KTP team in Research and Innovation Services (RIS) at the University of Bath.