Entrepreneurial chemists develop company out of PhD research

The University of Liverpool has licensed new chemistry technology to a start-up company led by two PhD graduates from Liverpool’s School of Physical Sciences.

Liverpool Chirochem (LCC) was founded in 2014 by Professor Jianliang Xiao at the University’s Department of Chemistry in conjunction with two of his former PhD students, Dr Jianjun Wu and Dr Paul Colbon. Dr Wu and Dr Colbon are now leading the international enterprise.

LCC supplies specialist building blocks for pharmaceutical research and biotechnology and draws upon synthetic methods in asymmetric catalysis, first developed and patented by the University.

Drug discovery

The company is focussing upon the production and supply of chiral piperidines, compounds which greatly enhance drug discovery and development.

The technology licenced by the University has allowed the company to develop a unique line of products using a simple, low cost and environmentally friendly process.

Piperidine and its derivatives are well known and ubiquitous building blocks utilised in the synthesis of many naturally occurring products, pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals. Piperidine-derived drugs feature prominently in the Top 200 Selling Drugs with sales of $11.2 billion (USD).

Entrepreneurial team

The Liverpool IP team, part of the University Business Gateway office, have secured a patent application on the technology and have negotiated an exclusive license agreement with the entrepreneurial team at LCC to enable them to make their business a reality.

Paul Colbon explained: “The University greatly facilitated the company formation and made the process exciting. Liverpool IP has provided excellent support through their highly experienced commercial team.”

Professor Xiao said “I am grateful to the Department of Chemistry for the constant support which made possible the original research on which LCC is built and facilitated greatly the transfer of a laboratory discovery into a commercial reality. And I am proud of my students for their enthusiasm, determination and persistence in setting up LCC and confident of a bright future in LCC. ”

Dr Wu added: “It’s so exciting to have Prof. Xiao’s team united again to explore the potential commerciality of this research discovery. I was very impressed by the level of support that the Liverpool have shown to its graduates.”

For more information about LCC, please visit: http://www.liverpoolchirochem.com/

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