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Global food allergy study calls on Welsh business

Global food allergy study calls on Welsh business




A biotech company with UK operations in Cardiff has been appointed one of the key players in the world’s biggest ever study of food allergies.


US-headquartered Indoor Biotechnologies which operates out of Cardiff Medicentre was invited to work on the second leg of the study - a €9m European Union Framework Programme 7 funded project - by co-ordinators at the University of Manchester.


The focus of the study is on food allergens and allergy risk management; what it is that makes us susceptible to allergy and how to identify that allergy and avoid the serious consequences of allergic reactions.


Indoor is one of only six UK participants in the 38-partner research study which also involves leading experts from Europe, Australia and the US and includes the major food manufacturers Unilever and Nestle.


Dr James Hindley, Executive Director of Indoor, says, “This is a giant of a project and we’re thrilled to be involved. Expectations are that, once the study draws to an end in three years’ time, we will have helped remove many of the allergy-related difficulties for consumers and food producers.”


Over the last 30 years there has been a significant increase in incidences of food allergy, with five to seven per cent of children and one to two per cent of adults reported to be suffering from the condition. The absence of a cure means constant vigilance on the part of allergy sufferers and careful management of food production – particularly when it comes to the unintended presence of risk ingredients - and labelling by the food industry.


Dr Hindley says, “The study team is hoping to find out more about the causes of allergies so that we can try to prevent them. We’re also looking to develop a better system of food labelling than the one we currently have where ‘may contain’ is sometimes used as an uninformed get-out for manufacturers. We all need to know what’s in our food and for people with allergies this is currently a daily challenge.”


Dr Hindley and his team at Indoor have been brought in to develop a tool to detect food allergens.  This is a natural extension of the company’s work which is founded on the worldwide supply of allergen testing kits to consumers and the pharmaceutical industry.


“We will be developing a laboratory kit which will identify trigger allergens such as peanut, egg and milk in food and drink,” Dr Hindley says. “We’d like manufacturers to use this to test their products so that they can give an accurate description of allergens and cut down on their use of ‘may contain’ labelling.”


Indoor has committed a team of research scientists to the study and expects the benefits of involvement in this high-profile work to place a significant commercial spotlight on the company.


Dr Hindley says, “Being part of this study team places us at the forefront of developments in allergen testing. This will stand us in great stead to grow our research and development activities and develop our product and services portfolio. As a business in Wales, we’re proud to be reinforcing our position on a global scale, and to be creating jobs at our laboratory in Cardiff.”




About Indoor Biotechnologies



1.      Indoor Biotechnologies is an immunodiagnostics and biotechnology company specialising in manufacturing innovative products for investigating allergy and asthma.

2.      The company is recognised as the world leader in assessment of environmental exposure to allergens - in the home, workplace, schools and commercial buildings. The company is also at the forefront of research on allergen structure, molecular biology and immune response. Its mission is to improve the quality of life of patients with allergy and asthma.

3.      Indoor Biotechnologies is privately held and organised as two affiliated companies, Indoor Biotechnologies Inc. (IBI), located in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA, and Indoor Biotechnologies Limited (IBL) based in Cardiff, UK. Indoor Biotechnologies has a global presence, with distributors in Japan, China, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand and sales in 50 different countries.

4.      Indoor Biotechnologies is an entrepreneurial company that couples innovative science with a creative approach to business to add value through technology.


About the research study

1.  The €9m research study builds on an earlier 14.3m research study and brings together the world’s leading experts. Together, these projects are the biggest study of food allergy in the world, involving countries including Greece, Germany, the US, Spain, Switzerland, Denmark, France and Italy.

2.  Up to 20 million European citizens suffer from food allergy.

3.  The study is headed by Professor Clare Mills from the Allergy and Respiratory Centre of The University of Manchester Institute of Biotechnology.



Published on Fri, 26th Apr 2013

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