Integrated Magnetic Systems Ltd awarded a SMART R&D grant for “Magnetic Antibodies”

Released: Wednesday 29th February 2012

Integrated Magnetic Systems Ltd (IMSL), a bio-nanotechnology company based in Dundee Scotland, announces that it has won a Scottish Enterprise SMART:Scotland R&D award to further develop their proprietary magnetic protein technology.

“Our products are fusion-proteins.”, explained Dr Prabs Dehal, Chief Scientific Officer of IMSL and co-inventor of the technology. “Using recombinant technology, we fuse two genes to generate a fusion protein. One of the genes codes for a protein, or portion of a protein that specifically binds a target molecule. Antibodies are a perfect example. The other gene codes for a protein that naturally retains metal atoms such as iron. We replace the iron with a magnetic material therefore generating a magnetic binding molecule.
Magnetic separation, using metal beads, has been around for decades but that old technology is limited by the relatively large size of the beads and the variability caused by inefficient chemistry. Our magnetic proteins are a smaller, more consistent alternative and produced in a more environmentally-friendly manner.

“This three year grant helps IMSL as we expand our technology into the lucrative markets of antibody-based separations”, said Dr Jamie Love, IMSL’s Chief Operations Officer. “Magnetic antibodies have been a cornerstone to our business plan but, until this grant, we lacked the money to move them quickly and aggressively through the product pipeline.” Dr Love continued, “We estimate the cost of this ‘Magnetic Antibodies Project”, at nearly £712 thousand. This grant will reimburse us for 35% of those costs, which works out to a ‘rebate’ totaling nearly £250K.”

Dr Eddie Blair, IMSL’s CEO, said “A SMART:Scotland Feasibility award, “Magnetic Proteins to Prepare (Isolate and Purify) Labelled Nucleic Acid Probes”, helped us produce our first commercial product and attracted our investors. In addition, we now have the attention of several big-name biotech companies who are willing to trial streptavidin-ferritin in their labs.

“Three years from now, when this grant ends, we’ll have at least four new magnetic antibodies and also two magnetic proteins that can act as ‘universal adapters’ to make almost any antibody, indirectly, magnetic.”, explained Dr Blair. “Those six magnetic proteins are the ‘deliverables’ of this SMART:Scotland R&D grant, but it doesn’t end there. The experience gained and the patent applications filed during the next three years will position IMSL to be a global leader using a highly innovative technology - developed here in Scotland. And, several of the magnetic antibodies developed in this project have potential in biomedical applications. Separation of molecules and cells using our magnetic proteins is the lower hanging fruitbut IMSL’s business in the longer-term is in medical applications - diagnostics and therapeutics.”

Integrated Magnetic Systems Ltd (IMSL) offers magnetic proteins to the life science community (research and bio-processing) while further developing its magnetic proteins technologies for licensing and partnering opportunities in medicine (diagnostics and therapeutics). In 2011, the company grew from 2 employees to its current staff of 10. To support its business, IMSL generates valuable intellectual property (IP) around magnetic proteins and in-licensed IP from Scottish Enterprise and New Century Pharmaceuticals (USA).

SMART:SCOTLAND is an award scheme administered by Scottish Enterprise.

For further information see or contact Dr Jamie Love, or

Telephone +44(0) 1382 561 087.

View all News