Case studies

Orla Protein’s work with the UK Stem Cell Bank


World leading technology developed by Newcastle based Orla Protein Technologies is bringing exciting advances to life sciences research.

Teaming up with Newcastle University and The UK Stem Cell Bank the partners secured a £200,000 Government grant from the Government’s Technology Strategy Board to realise the project that could dramatically improve how stem cells are grown in laboratories.

Orla’s latest technology could overcome problems encountered in growing stem cells, which may be used in regenerative medical treatments for wasting diseases such as Parkinson’s.

Newcastle Science City has highlighted stem cell development as a major strategic focus, supporting the City to raise its profile in this area on a global stage.

“We’re proud to part of a city so connected to innovation in science and technology,” said Orla’s Chief Executive Dale Athey.

The company has developed technology for coating surfaces with micro-thin, uniform layers of proteins. These are highly effective, for example, in electronic sensors and medical diagnostic equipment used to analyse diseased body tissue.

Orla is based in the Bioscience Centre at Newcastle’s International Centre for Life. It was created in 2002 by Dale and his technical partner Professor Jeremy Lakey, a structural biochemist at Newcastle University.

Last year Orla formed a formed an important joint venture – OJ Bio – with Japan Radio, a major telecoms company.

The new company, also located at the Bioscience Centre, is developing a bio sensor to compete in the £10 billion global diagnostics market. The device could be used anywhere to test for and monitor infectious diseases and transmit the results to a health centre.