Equipment to facilitate COVID-19 research loaned to University of Oxford for free from local company IPSEN

IPSEN, a locally-based global specialty-driven pharmaceutical group, have very kindly agreed to lend researchers in Dr Craig Thompson’s lab, based in the Peter Medawar Building for Pathogen Research, a Category II bio-safety cabinet in an effort to speed up the processing and analysis of donor blood samples in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. This research aims to evaluate population immunity to COVID-19 by using a high-throughput serological assay, and the cooperative effort and generosity from companies like IPSEN will help facilitate that.

This came about after a joint collaborative effort from the MPLS Development Office, Dr Thompson’s lab, the Medical Science Business Development and Partnering team, Research Services, and IPSEN. The contract was drawn up in less than four working day, and the hood arrived at the lab on 31 March, allowing this essential research to continue as quickly as possible.

This notable joint effort is one of many examples of collaboration arising from a time of great need. Teamwork across sectors like this is already proving vital in contributing to the global knowledgebase about COVID-19. Dr Thompson said: ‘“IPSEN have been extremely kind to lend us a Cat II hood into which our robot can fit. This has allowed us to dramatically increase the number of sera samples we can to screen for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.”

Shilpa Palan, Senior Team Lead at Ipsen’s Milton Park site commented: “We are delighted to be able to support, in a small way, the work of this team at this time of need. I find it very inspirational to see the scientific community pull together to support where we can, prioritising the right projects as we confront this devastating virus. We are proud to help both the health services and research efforts wherever we can.”