Case Study

University of Nottingham: Collaboration established to test new method of detecting low-frequency cancer mutations


The University of Nottingham has entered the initial stages of a collaboration with a UK-based life sciences company to test a new technology developed by scientists at the university that could revolutionise the treatment of cancer by detecting extremely low-frequency DNA mutations in tissue samples.

After being introduced through IN-PART’s matchmaking platform earlier this year, the lead scientists and commercialisation team from the university met with the research and development (R&D) team at their UK headquarters to demonstrate how the new cancer detection technology works. A materials transfer agreement (MTA) has now been signed that will allow the R&D team to conduct in-house testing and due diligence to assess the technology’s suitability for further development and commercialisation.

Toby Gould, Innovation & Commercialisation Officer at the University of Nottingham, summarised the current state of the collaboration:

An NDA and MTA have been signed and the R&D team are conducting their own trials of the new technology. Without the introduction via IN-PART, our technology wouldn’t have reached the right person and these discussions wouldn’t have happened.”

Described as ‘exquisitely sensitive’ by the University of Nottingham scientists, the technology works by identifying low-frequency-mutant alleles from poor quality DNA samples in easily-accessible bodily fluids such as blood and urine. It’s hoped that through further development, the technology will one day assist doctors in providing improved cancer surveillance, predictive testing, treatment-monitoring and tumour genotyping for personalised cancer treatments.

The materials transfer agreement between the life sciences firm and the University of Nottingham has formed the basis for wider discussions about knowledge exchange that could lead to a long-term strategic partnership resulting in further collaboration across their shared research interests. Toby explained:

During our visit, we discussed collaboration opportunities across the university. We have identified significant overlap in research interests and hope that this partnership will result in a larger collaboration including knowledge exchange and sharing of research funds and projects,”


See other case studies of collaborations initiated by IN-PART.

Browse the University of Nottingham’s innovation portfolio on IN-PART’s matchmaking platform.


About IN-PART

IN-PART is an online matchmaking platform that simplifies the initial connection between academia and industry to breakthroughs out of the lab and onto the market.

Launched in 2014, we now work with 230 universities and research institutes worldwide, proactively matching academic research to the most relevant R&D professionals from a network of 5,500+ innovation-driven companies.

Request a demo of our service for universities, or if you’re in a company register for free access.


Written by Leah Nolan, University Liaison Officer at IN-PART.

Edited by Alex Stockham, IN-PART’s Communications Manager

Copyrights reserved unless otherwise agreed – IN-PART Publishing Ltd., 2019 – ‘University of Nottingham: Entering collaboration to test a new method to detect low-frequency cancer mutations’

Header image background: Daniel Olah / Unsplash (CC0)

University of Nottingham - IN-PART Case Study - Blog Footer - 1