University of Cambridge and Frontier IP collaboration to tackle gum disease wins grant funding


A collaborative project between Frontier IP and the University of Cambridge (the “University”) to tackle gum disease has been awarded a £52,891 grant by the National Biofilms Innovation Centre (“NBIC”).

The collaboration builds on the work of Dr Ioanna Mela, a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University, into DNA nanostructures and their potential as drug delivery vehicles that can penetrate and disrupt biofilms.  Biofilms are films of microorganisms that grow on surfaces, such as animal and plant tissue, minerals and metals. They include dental plaque, pond scum and many others.

The NBIC Proof of Concept grant is supporting an eight-month project to explore the potential of origami-like DNA nanostructures to disrupt the dental plaque biofilms formed by P.gingivalis, the bacterium responsible for gum disease. The project will also seek to identify at least one DNA nanostructure to take forward into commercial development in partnership with industry. It is one of 14 projects awarded funding by the NBIC.

Frontier IP identified the potential of Dr Mela’s work for use against P.gingivalis and will work on the commercialisation of the technology as part of the project.  

The NBIC is an Innovation Knowledge Centre funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Innovate UK and the Hartree Centre, and is led by four universities – Edinburgh, Liverpool, Southampton and Nottingham – with a consortium of 52 academic partner institutions.

Dr Mela’s research has already attracted strong interest, such as the story here:

Ioanna Mela Cropped 1
Dr Ioanna Mela, University of Cambridge

I am grateful for the funding and very excited to explore the potential of DNA nanostructures against biofilms. It is a question I was keen to answer since I started working with DNA nanostructures that target bacteria and this short project will let me take the first steps towards this goal.

Dr Ioanna Mela, Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Cambridge

We strongly believe in the benefits of identifying innovative technology at a very early stage to better understand and shape its commercial potential through engagement with the industry partners. The funding from the NBIC for this project is a clear validation of Dr Mela’s work on DNA nanostructures and its potential to combat the scourge of gum disease.

Neil Crabb, Chief Executive Officer, Frontier IP Group