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Celebrating the change makers - World IP Day

Celebrating the change makers - World IP Day

News 26/04/2023

World IP Day 2023 celebrates the can-do attitude of women inventors, creators and entrepreneurs around the world. We count ourselves extremely fortunate to have worked with and alongside women who are at the forefront of leading-edge scientific developments, and we’re joining the World IP Day celebrations by recognising and celebrating their ground-breaking work.


Dr Marie Labus and Professor Penny Lovat, AMLo Biosciences

AMLo Biosciences was established in 2017 and is based in Newcastle upon Tyne. The company has developed a prognostic biomarker test for early AJCC Stage I and Stage II melanoma, and Secerna Partner Charlotte Watkins has worked with the team since 2017 to help build a robust intellectual property portfolio that enables future commercialisation and investment.

“AMLo Biosciences is a female-led biotech company that has achieved so much,” Charlotte says. “Their prognostic test helps to better identify patients’ true risk of disease progression, which means they can receive more tailored care. Patients at low risk of disease spread can be reassured and given better informed follow up care, while those identified as being at risk of metastasis can receive timely treatment.”

As well as managing a successful spin-out company, AMLo Biosciences CEO Dr Marie Labus has facilitated, developed and supported a large and diverse portfolio of enterprise-related activities including protecting intellectual assets, project management, knowledge transfer, consultancy, CPD, patents, licensing, commercial services and Research and Development activities that aim to commercialise research findings for patient benefit.

Chief Scientific Officer Professor Penny Lovat has worked in translational medical research for more than 30 years and is internationally renowned for her work in the melanoma field. She was on the Woman Entrepreneur of the Year shortlist at the 2022 Cancer Research Horizons Innovation and Entrepreneurship Awards, which recognise the UK’s most enterprising efforts to translate discoveries into benefit for cancer patients.

“Marie and Penny both have hugely impressive track records in their respective fields,” Charlotte says. “Together, they have established an incredibly successful biotech business that is playing an important part in improving the diagnosis of melanoma and genuinely changing peoples’ lives.

“They are doing a fantastic job and continuing to build the business through expansion into major global territories, moving them ever closer towards their vision of improving patient outcomes and reducing the financial burden of cancers on global healthcare economies. This is a truly inspirational business.”


Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert DBE, the Jenner Institute, University of Oxford

Prior to joining Secerna, Trainee Patent Attorney Holly Smith worked within the team at the University of Oxford that developed the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. The team is led by Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology at the university and one of the UK's foremost academic vaccinologists.

Professor Gilbert’s work specialises in vaccine development through a ‘viral vector’ platform that can be used to create vaccines against a range of pathogens. She leads work on influenza vaccine development as well as vaccines for many different emerging pathogens, including Nipah virus, MERS, and Lassa virus.

Professor Gilbert and her colleagues at The Jenner Institute – part of the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the university – were awarded a patent for the viral vector platform technology. This enabled them to create the spin out company Vaccitech, which works on technologies using the viral vector platform, developing vaccines and immunotherapies for infectious diseases and cancer.

A focus for Professor Gilbert and the Jenner institute was to create a vaccine for ‘Disease X,’ which can be modified and deployed quickly. When the COVID-19 virus first emerged in January 2020, Professor Gilbert and her team began work on a vaccine before much was known about the virus. A subsequent licencing agreement with AstraZeneca meant they were able to manufacture and distribute it worldwide with haste.

“The groundwork that Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert set out during her years working on vaccinations for infectious pathogens meant that the University of Oxford team could respond and develop a vaccine to help fight coronavirus in record time,” Holly says.

“The fact that this vital work was carried out by a predominantly female team is inspiring to me as a woman working in STEM, and I greatly admire Professor Gilbert’s innovative and forward thinking, and her dedication to vaccinology.”

To mark World IP Day, we’d love to hear about the women inventors, creators and entrepreneurs who inspire you in the world of intellectual property.