STAG will act as an internal funding body for promising research, develop new assays and technologies with customers
Envigo has launched a Science and Technology Advisory Group (STAG) to drive forward emerging areas of research and to collaborate with customers to develop new technologies.
STAG will operate across all of Envigo's service offerings – including Pharmaceutical Development, Research Models and Services, as well as Crop Protection and Chemicals Testing.
Its key aim is to advance Envigo’s development of next generation research services, technology and science.
As such, it will sponsor internal programmes to develop new or improve existing capabilities.
Selected external partnerships will also be explored – including collaborations with academia through postdoctoral sponsorship, placement and combined research – along with offering science and technology development services to customers.
Brian Burlinson, Deputy Chair of the STAG, said: 'We are encouraging our scientists to put forward new projects for funding, acting as an internal innovation incubator, but also, we are going out to market and asking our customers if they have research problems they would like us to develop into commercial solutions.
'However, it’s not just about today’s problems, as we are also partnering with universities, both on developing new science and offering work placements to graduates.
'Our ethos is to instill a culture of new science that permeates all areas of the business.'
Our ethos is to instill a culture of new science that permeates all areas of the business
STAG has already reviewed 16 internal applications and spoken to several external partners.
One area with a number of promising projects is non animal testing (NAT) for toxicology – in vitro or in silico – as these solutions de-risk drug development and meet the desire for reduced animal use.
'The aim is to generate a balanced portfolio of projects into an annualised programme,' added Burlinson.
'Five projects have already been preliminarily approved for development.'
STAG will also work with Envigo’s customers to develop new screening assays.
In addition, it is planning to independently develop new assays and technologies that Envigo can potentially sell in the future.
STAG will also form close collaborations with academic institutions and arrange for five or six selected students each year to take up work placements at the company.
Envigo has already entered into such an arrangement with King's College London for students with cardiovascular and pharmacology expertise.
STAG will have a core membership of 6–8 representatives for the first three years from a range of technical disciplines across the company.
After this period, the STAG committee membership will rotate on two-year cycles to ensure a regular impetus of new ideas and thinking.