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A biotechnology company that can etch a barcode on microparticles no longer than a hair’s width and then use them to tag molecules, with enormous implications for the development of new drugs and diagnostics, has won a national competition to begin operations in the US.

SmartBead Technologies from Cambridge believes the free space and management advice offered by the BioAccelerator Incubator in Fairfax County, Virginia, the technology gateway of the US east coast, will give its ground breaking technology a valuable foothold in a multibillion dollar market.

At the same time a company from Fairfax County, Enlightened Technologies, has won a reciprocal place in a UK incubator to continue the development of its devices to treat sleep disorders, depression and jet lag.

Enlightened Technologies chose the York Science Park as its preferred base from which to begin operations in the UK.

The unique “Touchdown” competition was organised by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) in conjunction with the UK Science Parks Association and UK Business Incubation.

Dr Gerald Gordon, President of the FCEDA commented: “This kick start for both companies is something that is hard to put a price on. But whatever the value to the companies themselves, we hope the competition will provide added impetus to the technology and bioscience sectors in American and Britain. In our view it has been a win-win situation.”

SmartBeads technology solution, UltraPlex™, which can in effect barcode molecules of potential drug compounds, has enormous productivity implications for the development of new drugs by enabling more experiments to be done simultaneously than has previously been possible. UltraPlex™ will also make for much speedier diagnosis of illnesses allowing doctors to test for several diseases in a patient simultaneously, replacing current methods of testing one at a time.

Says Chief Executive Robert Booth: “The US represents the largest pharmaceutical and diagnostics market for UltraPlex™ and naturally we were developing US market entry plans for the future. Now we have been given a chance to do so ahead of schedule and with the knowledge that we are going to receive extremely beneficial help and guidance right from the start. We chose Fairfax because it is conveniently located close to the key pharmaceutical company clusters on the east coast and for its proximity to the NIH and national diagnostics laboratories offering opportunities for SmartBead to collaborate with world-class organisations.”
Fairfax County, which has highest average income of any US county, is home to more than 4,000 technology companies including 38 from the UK.

“We chose York because of the quality of the university’s research facility and academic personnel. The people at York Inward Investment Board have been extremely accommodating in helping ETA to find source investment, and have made us feel personally welcome. There seemed to be an instant rapport between ETA and the people at York IIB,” said ETA spokesperson Sally Dobkin.

Its development uses eyeglass-based products with fibre-optic cables embedded in the lenses to deliver light, replacing the need for anti-depressants like Prozac. Its glasses can overcome the effects of Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome, which affects around half of the over 65s, jet lag and SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which many people suffer with the onset of winter.

The winners of the “Touchdown” competition will be announced at a dinner at the Savile Club in London as part of an evening to celebrate the success of British businesses overseas.

The principal speaker at the event will be a senior representative of BAE SYSTEMS who recently won, with Lockheed Martin, the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) contract. This is worth 8,500 jobs in the UK and income in excess of £8 billion.

Note to Editors:
For further information contact Ross Clarke/David Wallen on tel: 020 7630 1100 or e-mail:

For more information about SmartBead, please see or contact Robert Booth at

Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA):

The Fairfax County (Virginia) Economic Development Authority provides a wide array of services and information designed to promote Fairfax County, Virginia, as a leading technology hub and a world-class centre of commerce and trade.
Domestic and international marketing staffs work with U.S. and foreign companies interested in expanding or relocating operations. A market research and real estate division help clients learn more about office space opportunities. The FCEDA also runs a capital attraction program to link entrepreneurs and start-up firms with venture capitalists and angel investors. Another program assists small, minority- and women-owned businesses. The FCEDA has marketing offices in London, Frankfurt and Tokyo. For more information call 001-703-790-0600.


BAE SYSTEMS is a systems company, innovating for a safer world. BAE SYSTEMS employs nearly 100,000 people including Joint Ventures, and has annual sales of around £13 billion. The company offers a global capability in air, sea, land and space with a world-class prime contracting ability supported by a range of key skills. BAE SYSTEMS designs, manufactures and supports military aircraft, surface ships, submarines, space systems, radar, avionics, communications, electronics, guided weapon systems and a range of other defence products. BAE SYSTEMS is dedicated to making the intelligent connections needed to deliver innovative solutions.
British-American Business Association (BABA):

The British-American Business Association is the premier UK-US business and cultural forum in the mid-Atlantic region. The British-American Business Association has worked since 1987 to foster transatlantic trade links and strengthen UK-US cultural ties. BABA's membership has grown to more than 200 member, and has become the premier forum for British and American business professionals in the mid-Atlantic area.
Through a variety of programs, BABA members exchange valuable information,
establish networks, and pursue mutual interests.

British Trade International (BTI):

British Trade International is the UK Government department responsible for trade development and promotion. It is the umbrella organisation for Trade Partners UK and Invest UK. BTI's role is to foster business competitiveness by helping UK firms secure overseas sales and investments, and by attracting high quality foreign direct investment to the UK. Trade Partners UK is responsible for assisting UK companies to export their products to the US or to establish a presence in the US market. Invest UK is the only economic development agency covering the whole of the UK, helping US companies to set up or expand business from a British base quickly and smoothly. and

Confederation of British Industry (CBI):

The Confederation of British Industry is the UK's leading employers' organisation. It represents companies from every sector of UK business: small and large, from manufacturing to retailing, agriculture to construction, hi-tech to finance, transport to consultancy. Membership of the CBI is corporate: organisations and companies are members, not the individuals nominated to represent them. With direct corporate membership employing over four million and a trade association membership representing over six million of the workforce, the CBI is the premier organisation speaking for companies in the UK.

BritishAmerican Business Inc (BABi):

BritishAmerican Business Inc of New York and London (BABi is the leading transatlantic business organisation, dedicated to helping its 1,000 member companies build and expand their international business.

BABi provides its members directly with a range of targeted business services focused on business development, business intelligence and networking, and with access to broader business networks in more than 60 other major cities throughout North America and Europe.

BABi incorporates the British-American Chamber of Commerce (New York/London) and the American Chamber of Commerce (UK), which merged in September 2000 to create a stronger transatlantic business organisation.

United Kingdom Science Park Association (UKSPA):

The mission of the United Kingdom Science Park Association is to be the authoritative body on the planning, development and creation of science parks that encourage and support the start up, incubation and development of innovation led, high growth, knowledge-based businesses in the U.K. science parks provide an environment where larger and international businesses can develop specific and close interactions with a particular centre of knowledge creation for their mutual benefit. The parks have formal and operational links with universities, higher education institutes and research organisations.

The association is based in Birmingham and has 46 full members and 13 associate members. For more information call +44 (0) 121 359 0981.

UK Business Incubator (UKBI):

UK Business Incubation is the leading source of information and expertise for the business incubation industry.

Our aim is to run the leading business incubation network; provide quality services, expertise and information to assist the business incubation industry and help to break down barriers and identify opportunities to develop the industry.

UKBI's membership network offers a range of services including an information resource centre, incubation research, educational programmes and access to good practice. UKBI also continues to educate both private and public sector leaders about the value of incubators as an economic development tool and source of wealth creating SMEs.

UKBI is a public/private sector initiative, launched by DTI and HM Treasury to act as a catalyst to extract the maximum benefit from incubation practices in the UK and to raise awareness and understanding of the role and benefits of business incubation.

South East England Development Agency (SEEDA):

SEEDA was established by the Government through the Regional Development Agency Act 1998, and came into operation on 1st April 1999 to take the strategic lead in promoting the sustainable economic development of the region.

Our mission is to work with our partners to make the South East of England a world class region, achieving sustainable development and enhanced quality of life as measured by: Economic Prosperity Environmental Quality Social Inclusion – ensuring meaningful employment for all

Taylor Wessing:

Taylor Wessing is a premier, full service law firm based in London with offices in Cambridge and Brussels. Recognised as a market leader in many of its practice areas such as technology, intellectual property, and inward investment from the US. Constructive, commercial advice offered through a partner-led service with a total, long term commitment to our clients around the world - these are our hallmarks.

Blick Rothenberg:

Blick Rothenberg Chartered Accountants is a specialist firm with strong international connections and is dedicated to providing a first class professional service to private sector businesses, professional firms, overseas businesses trading in the UK, high net worth individuals and charities.

Cyril Leonard:

With an unbroken tradition of Partnership involvement at all levels of business and proven property expertise in depth, Cyril Leonard & Co, Real Estate Leasing & Broking, is ideally placed to address the challenges of the 21st Century. Drawing on strengths developed over 60 years of successful business practice, the firm continues to offer the very best contemporary advice to private, commercial, industrial and financial clients.


Within HSBC Bank plc, the Innovation & Technology Unit co-ordinates the bank's support for early stage technology-based firms.

Such support includes the HSBC Chairs of Innovation at Brunel University and University of York, providing us with an initial appraisal of technology proposals, and Technology Banking Managers in major technology clusters throughout the UK.

For further details visit or email


Penningtons is a commercial law firm which provides legal services tailored to individual requirements. We offer a partner-led service with the emphasis on team working. Our aim is to exceed our clients’ expectations in the quality of advice we offer, our speed of delivery, and always to add value to their business.

Our principal office is in the City of London. There are further offices throughout the UK. Penningtons also has close links with law firms worldwide. In this way, we are able to offer flexibility in the scope of specialist commercial and private client services we deliver to a wide range of clients.

Taylor Joynson Garrett:

Taylor Joynson Garrett is a premier, full service law firm based in London with offices in Cambridge and Brussels. It has strength and depth across the full range of legal disciplines.

The firm is the leading UK law firm advising US emerging growth companies coming to the UK. It is
also the top ranked UK firm in intellectual property law (patents, copyright and trademarks) and is recognised as a market leader in related fields such as biotechnology and e-commerce.
Constructive, commercial advice offered through a partner-led service and with a total, long-term commitment to our clients in the US and elsewhere around the world - these are our hallmarks. For further information please contact


OFEX is a market providing a share-trading platform for unlisted and unquoted securities, off-exchange. The OFEX market is operated in the United Kingdom by OFEX plc which is part of a group of companies consisting of three wholly-owned subsidiaries - J P Jenkins Limited, OFEX plc and Enriched Events Limited. The parent company is S J & S plc. All OFEX and Newstrack trademarks are owned by OFEX plc. The Newstrack news and information service is provided by OFEX plc as part of the facilities of the OFEX market. OFEX is a registered trademark of S J & S plc.

About SmartBead Technologies Ltd:

SmartBead has developed a microparticle array technology, UltraPlex™, based on barcoded microparticles, which, in effect barcodes molecules. SmartBead will be a preferred solution provider of these multiplexing technologies for the drug development and diagnostics industries and will lead the way in new approaches to analysing multiple parameters through barcoded bioassays. SmartBead was founded to exploit technology originally developed by Sentec Ltd, a Cambridge, UK company, and the Cavendish Laboratories, University of Cambridge.

About Enlightened Technologies Associates Inc:

Founded in 1995 and based in Fairfax, Virginia, Enlightened Technologies Associates Inc. develops medical devices and technology that enable physicians to alter patients’ human circadian (body clock) cycles. The Somnavue™ technology will allow physicians to treat sleep disorders, seasonal depression, jet lag and other depressive disorders without the use of drugs. ETA has patented its technologies, developed prototypes, run NIH sponsored clinical trials, put a team in place and is in the process of preparations for FDA clearance.

York Inward Investment Board – a public-private partnership since 1997 bringing business investment into the city of York:

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