Congratulations to Dr Thomas Congdon, our first Deep Tech innovator of the year!

Tom is Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of CryoLogyx – The University of Warwick spin-out company has been awarded £300k from InnovateUK to build on research emerging from Professor Matthew Gibson’s laboratories, based in both the Department of Chemistry and Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick.

The research has developed new ways to protect precious biological materials during the freezing process, giving up to 4 times increase in the number of recovered cells. Transforming how cells and cell-based therapies are stored and transported will help to improve oncology, diagnostic, medicines discovery and the current challenges of distributing COVID-19 vaccines.

Tom was inspired to commercialise his research by taking part in one of the Deep Tech Innovation Centre programs for early career researchers delivered as part of Warwick’s new Warwick Innovation District. The team then went on to complete an intensive market research and customer discovery programme exercise under the Midlands ICURe programme, which highlighted a number of high value unmet needs which the technology is ideally positioned to address.

If like Tom you want to make a difference, and have an idea in need of support to achieve your goals, then join the Deep Tech Innovation Centre today.

We recently met with Dr Tom Congdon to talk about how nature inspired his work. Watch the interview below.

Read on

In order to store and transport cells for research, or as advanced medicines, it is essential to freeze them as they are not stable at room temperature for long periods. The traditional solution to this was to add organic solvent ‘antifreezes’, similar to what you might use in your car. Professor Gibson’s lab has learned from how organisms survive in the Earths coldest environments, and developed new macromolecular cryoprotectants which allow more cells to survive the freezing process and to replace the organic solvents.

The polymer cryoprotectants are easy to use, can give up to 4 times increase in the number of recovered cells, and have been shown to work in a range of cell types.

CryoLogyx will use this platform technology to transform emerging, advanced, cell based therapies, simplify the medicines development process, and aid supply chains.

Professor Matthew Gibson, Professor at the University of Warwick, and Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of CryoLogyx commented:
“This is a really exciting time to enter the cryopreservation market. New cell-based therapies are transforming oncology and recent news around the challenges of distributing COVID-19 vaccines highlights how protecting biologics at low temperature is essential in modern medicine. For the past decade we have studied how we can use polymers as innovative cryoprotectants and CryoLogyx will take these forward to develop new products.”

Dr Thomas Congdon, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of CryoLogyx said:
“We are delighted to have been awarded Innovate UK funding to commercialize our research and begin delivering real value and innovation to the cell research and therapy sector. Effective commercial cryopreservation solutions are imperative for the discovery and deployment of new medicines. We are excited about growing CryoLogyx and engaging with the users of our technology.”

Dr James Lapworth, Warwick Innovations, who is working with Professor Gibson to commercialise the technology, said:
“This award from Innovate UK recognises the potential for Warwick’s new cryopreservation technology to have a significant impact on the medicines discovery and cell therapy industries, both of which have been identified by the UK government as priority areas for economic growth.”

Professor Pamela Thomas, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research) at the University of Warwick said:
“This new spin-out from Professor Matt Gibson and colleagues, which is set to transform how cells are stored and transported, is another example of the innovative translational environment at Warwick, and shows the crucial role of our University in stimulating new industries.”

The research and development of this has been supported by the European Research Council (638661 and 789182), the Royal Society (191037) and MRC (MC_PC_17203).