Oxford University licenses pH sensor technology to Senova Systems

Sunnyvale, CA (August 28, 2008)  A novel solid-state pH sensor technology invented at the University of Oxford is to be further developed and commercialized by San Francisco Bay Area-based company Senova Systems Inc.

The University’s technology transfer company, Isis Innovation, has licensed the technology – originally developed for monitoring pH in oil wells – to Senova, who will adapt it for other industries. The first industrial segment will be pharmaceutical, but measurement and control of pH is also vital in other industries such as water, food & beverage and chemical manufacturing.

The technology was developed by Professor Richard Compton at Oxford’s Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory. Dr. Compton’s group is a world leader in developing electrochemical sensors for extremely precise detection. A previous invention, which is able to measure the amount of ‘drugs of impairment’ such as cannabis and amphetamines by rapidly analyzing a small sample of saliva, is being developed by Oxford spin-out Oxtox Ltd.

“This is an exciting project because this technology has the potential to disintermediate a market worth nearly a billion dollars annually, that is dominated by a 70-year old technology,” said Lee Leonard, CEO of Senova.

“Introduction of these sensors will be analogous to replacement of vacuum tubes with solid-state transistors. With that comes the opportunity not only to improve existing processes already using pH measurement and control, but to address new opportunities where the existing technology cannot be used due to calibration, drift and mechanical limitations.”

Senova has assembled a team of experienced scientists, executives and entrepreneurs, each of whom has started and grown highly successful multinational companies.

“Our pH sensor technology has several key advantages over the glass electrode technology still widely used in industry,” said Dr. Compton. “They are more accurate, enabling tighter control of pH-critical manufacturing processes. Co-inventor Dr. Greg Wildgoose added: “The sensors are also self-calibrating, eliminating the problem of reading drift over time experienced with glass pH electrodes.”

About Senova Systems, Inc.

Senova Systems exists to continue the development of this exciting technology and tailor it to specific markets and applications where there is opportunity due to unmet or under-met needs.

About Isis Innovation Ltd.

Isis Innovation is the University of Oxford’s technology transfer company. It provides researchers with commercial advice, funds patent applications and legal costs, negotiates exploitation and spin-out company agreements, and identifies and manages consultancy opportunities for University researchers. It is a subsidiary of the University of Oxford and has established itself as one of the best University technology transfer companies in the UK. www.isis-innovation.com

1) World pH Meter and ORP Measurement; Frost and Sullivan 2003

For more information

Dr. Jamie Ferguson
Project Manager
Isis Innovation, Oxford University
T: +44 (0)1865 280851

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