2020: 10 moments to celebrate
Top 10 moments of 2020
2021; a new year that we hope will bring with it new challenges, new opportunities and new horizons (or even just our old horizons back again!). There’s so much to look forward to from the rest of 2021, but let’s not forget that – even against the odds – 2020 had its bright spots too. In this article, we’ve pulled together some moments from 2020 that we’re pleased to remember. These are moments worth celebrating; examples of extraordinary resilience, instances of teams coming together to deliver incredible results in the most difficult of circumstances and lessons we’ve learned that we’ll proudly carry with us into the new year. These are our 2020 highlights.
01 / We launched our new TESSA technology
Despite working remotely and coming into the labs in shifts through the height of the pandemic, our scientific and commercial teams pulled together in what Solutions Manager, Joan Gannon describes as an example of “epic cross-functional working” to develop, launch and ship the first batches of our brand new TESSA™ technology for scalable, transfection free AAV production out to customers.
02 / We published our SLIM display platform
Our Antibody Discovery team put in huge efforts to submit their paper describing OXGENE’s new SLIM display platform for the discovery of antibodies against membrane proteins in their native configuration in The Journal of Biological Chemistry.
03 / We expanded into a brand new office space
One advantage of not all being in the office so much was that it was a perfect opportunity to get our shiny new ground floor office and lab spaces up and running. We moved in at the end of August, and it’s impossible not to feel proud and excited when you walk into such a beautiful new space.
04 / We partnered with global CDMOs
We were really pleased to continue our strategic licensing agreements with global CDMOs, including Fujifilm Diosynth Technologies, in the US and WuXi Advanced Therapies Inc., whose China subsidiary who have licensed with us to manufacture and sell our Lentiviral and AAV plasmids from their new facility in Jiangsu, China.
05 / We filed seven new patents
Adversity is the mother of invention. Further proof – if it was needed – that our scientists thrive on a challenge and continue to make new discoveries even when circumstances are less than ideal, we’ve filed a total of seven new patents this year covering everything from AAV capsid discovery to new forms of Cas enzymes that cut DNA more accurately.
06 / We helped scale up covid-19 antigen production
We are proud to have partnered with The Native Antigen Company to help scale up manufacture of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein to support the development of diagnostic tests, contributing to positive action against COVID-19.
07 / We welcomed 38 new team members
“I love that I have the opportunity to work with talented, welcoming and inspiring people every day.” Sorcha Bangham, our new Head of HR, is one of 38 new starters we welcomed to the team in 2020. We may not have met them all in person yet, but we’re delighted they decided to join us!
08 / We found new ways to keep in touch
“You’re on mute!” “Can you hear me ok?” “Can everyone see my screen?”
Maybe it’s odd to include 2020’s most popular meme (or game of video call bingo) in the top 10 list, but I think we’ve all been surprised about, pleased with and proud of ourselves and each other, for how much we were able to achieve over the last year even when we couldn’t all be in the same room. We moved our annual away day and our monthly science meetings online, and even hosted our first ever OXGENE Christmas lecture over video call. Mind you, I don’t think anyone will be sorry to have an in-person Christmas party again in 2021!
09 / We kept on growing
At the end of our financial year in April, we reported our third consecutive year of 100% revenue growth, fuelled by a combination of strategic licensing agreements and service delivery projects. Chief Operating Officer, Jocelyne Bath, said “2019/20 was a year of continued growth and transition for OXGENE, as we established ourselves as a leading life sciences solutions provider. We’re extremely proud of everything we’ve accomplished.”
10 / We won some awards
It was the icing on the cake to be recognised in a series of awards this year, including the Sunday Times Sage Tech Track 100, The Deloitte Fast 50 and The Scientist Top 10 innovation awards. These awards are recognition of our fantastic team and the strength we have together – both in our science, our people and management structure., We know that our team can continue to pull together to deliver outstanding results for our customers, whatever the circumstances.
“It’s been a tough year. Nothing could have prepared us for the extent of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had around the globe” says Chief Executive, Ryan Cawood, “But we’ve always been an agile and responsive organisation and that stood us in good stead to respond quickly, adapt and refocus when we needed to last year. Our team at OXGENE are fantastic, and they have absolutely demonstrated that they can and will continue to deliver excellence for our customers, even under the most challenging of circumstances. I’m excited to see what more we might be able to achieve for them this year.”