Building Partnerships with Professor Guy Lloyd-Jones

Forbes Chair of Organic Chemistry, Professor Guy Lloyd-Jones, discusses his collaboration with TgK Scientific and how Edinburgh Innovations guided his project from the very beginning, helping him understand IP and patenting requirements.

Professor Guy Lloyd-Jones




Professor Guy Lloyd-Jones, School of Chemistry:

My name is Guy Lloyd-Jones. I'm an organic chemist here at the University of Edinburgh. My special area of interest is reaction mechanism.

The best technique for organic chemistry, for studying reactions and reactions medius, is Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, NMR. The initial aim was to generate an instrument, a new stopped-flow instrument, that we could use to look at reaction mechanisms.

I had no previous experience with stopped-flow. TgK Scientific had no previous experience with NMR. We began discussions. So, what we’ve developed is a probe and the reaction, instead of being assembled outside the instrument and placed in, all the reactants are held at a controlled temperature environment in this region and are mixed rapidly and then squirted into the tube here. So within about a tenth of a second, we can start measuring the reaction. For a fast reaction that’s pivotal in terms of watching things appear and disappear; information you'd never get with a conventional technique.

Through discussions with colleagues in other universities and Industry, it became obvious that this new technique – which we were just getting going at the time – would be very, very useful and there would be a demand for it as a product.  

EI [Edinburgh Innovations] were instrumental in guiding us down that first path of what IP we could protect, the technical drawings, and whether we should patent or not. It was the Technology Transfer team that were instrumental, and I have great admiration for them for that.

So, I think a very important part of the overall process was the fact that the Business Development Executive was based, embedded, within the Chemistry department and so we’d already built up a relationship informally, day-to-day. Through our discussions about what was going on in my lab, it became clear that the device we developed with TgK, for this rapid assembly of reactions, could be a really important commercial product for both TgK and the University.

And what the IAA funding allowed us to do was take a postdoc off an existing project, excise them for six months with funding for their time, and the consumables required for the project and that bootstrapped the whole process and got us to market.


Ted King, TgK Scientific Ltd:

Our collaboration involved introducing a rapid mixing system into an NMR spectrometer and the funding enabled us to be very focused in bringing forward the development and that was successful. We were able to produce a commercially viable product. This has positive results for us as a business selling the product and it has positive results for science because it’s going to enable in-situ monitoring of fast reactions in NMR.


Professor Guy Lloyd-Jones, School of Chemistry:

Working with Industry allows me to quite often see that there are fundamental problems that apply directly to the processes that Industry are using, that they don’t have the time or expertise to solve. I’ve been able to apply fundamental research in an academic setting to help solve some of those problems with Industry.




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