tenant profile: OXITEC ltd

Oxitec Ltd is building a healthy, sustainable and equitable future for humans on this planet by forging a new category of safe, sustainable, highly effective biological pest control solutions. 

Oxitec logo - a Roslin Innovation Centre tenant company

In pursuit of its mission to build a healthy, sustainable and equitable future for people by forging a new category of safe, sustainable, chemical-free, highly effective biological pest control solutions, Oxitec has become the world leader in applying insect biotechnology to the management of pests that threaten human health, livestock and crops.



Since spinning out of Oxford University two decades ago, Oxitec has broken new ground at every step: the world’s first releases of a genetically modified arthropod; the first (and only) demonstrations of self-limiting insects controlling disease vector mosquitoes in urban communities; >1 billion self-limiting mosquitoes released; and the world’s first biotech insect product.

Headquartered in Milton Park, Oxfordshire, the company is now in the process of establishing its first R&D branch in Scotland. Some staff members are temporarily based at Roslin Innovation Centre from September 2023. In 2024, the company is set to expand to occupy 125 sq m (~1,350 sq ft) of customised office and lab space at the new Agri Field Station.

Grey Frandsen, CEO, Oxitec  - a Roslin Innovation Centre tenant company

The company thrives thanks to a passionate and multicultural team of more than 200 experts and professionals, with innovation and commercial hubs in the UK, the US, Brazil, Djibouti and Panama. 

More than 1,000 people and dozens of scientific institutions, governments, non-profits, universities, companies and communities have been part of developing Oxitec’s Friendly™ biotechnology platform, making it an excellent representation of the benefits that come with such deep collaboration, partnership and public engagement across sectors, geographies and areas of need.

After more than a decade of successful field pilots with self-limiting insects, and following commercial launch of its lead product, Oxitec is uniquely placed to develop, validate, and implement new biological solutions for vector control and other applications.

Oxitec’s self-limiting technology platform, as currently applied and demonstrated for the dengue vector mosquito Aedes aegypti, acts through release of self-limiting male arthropods which find and mate with wild female counterparts: the self-limiting gene is passed to the next generation, preventing the survival of female offspring, and with sustained releases the population of biting vectors is suppressed in a highly targeted manner.

"Oxitec is committed to deliver solutions that enable sustainable food production for a growing population on this changing planet, which is needed now more than ever to protect global food security. More chemical pesticides aren’t the answer. We’re focused on stopping arthropod pests on their tracks by translating Oxitec’s proven, biological technology platform into Friendly™ solutions that offer a new level of impact, without harming the environment."

Grey Frandsen, CEO, Oxitec

In a project fully funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Oxitec is working to expand the Friendly™ platform beyond insects, to other arthropods, including ticks. 

In a world first, Oxitec is developing a Friendly™ self-limiting solution for the Asian blue tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus. Like all Oxitec Friendly™ solutions, the self-limiting R. microplus will be designed to be safe, non-toxic, target-specific, and non-persistent (self-limiting) in the field. 

In this endeavour, Oxitec is working in partnership with Dr Tim Connelley at the Roslin Institute and is expanding its team of in-house specialists to lay the foundations to a product development program that will generate the first self-limiting tick worldwide. Oxitec’s Friendly™ biotechnology platform exemplifies the positive outcomes resulting from collaboration and engagement across sectors and locations. Dr Tim Connelley and the Roslin Institute offer world-class cattle research facilities and decades of experience with tick rearing. 

Locating close to the Roslin Institute and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies will facilitate interactions with tick and livestock experts, both in the academic and the private sector.


"We’re excited to be part of this collaborative effort to develop the world’s most sustainable tick management solution. I’m delighted that the results of our early scientific feasibility program have demonstrated the promise of our Friendly™ platform, to deliver impact against the world’s most devastating tick pest of cattle. We’re grateful for the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which will enable us to – in collaboration with the globally respected Roslin Institute – start to build an urgently needed Friendly™ tick solution to support livestock farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond."

Kelly Matzen, Chief Technology Officer, Oxitec

The Asian blue tick (R. microplus) is widely regarded as the most important, economically damaging ectoparasite problem for cattle production in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. It is a widespread and invasive tick now found across tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, South and Central America, and southern and eastern Africa. 

Since the second wave of cattle importation into Africa following the 1896 rinderpest pandemic, when R. microplus-infested animals were transported from southern Asia via Madagascar, R. microplus has been documented in East and South Africa and, over the past decade, has spread at an alarming rate through West African countries. 

Owing to its highly invasive nature and competency for parasites such as Babesia bovis and Anaplasma marginale, R. microplus is a significant economically important tick. Incidence of pathogens transmitted by R. microplus has also recently increased in throughout the African continent. Furthermore, the impact associated with R. microplus infestations is not only limited to zoonosis, as the tick causes direct economic losses to productivity through blood loss and damage to animal hides.

The range expansion of R. microplus throughout sub-Saharan Africa is of particular concern, as this poses a significant threat to the livestock industry and to rural communities, which are frequently reliant on cattle for survival. R. microplus economic relevance is heightened by its ability to displace native tick species, as well as its tendency to accumulate acaricide resistance.

Oxitec’s self-limiting technology represents a promising solution for sustainable management of R. microplus.


Oxitec Ltd

Roslin Innovation Centre
University of Edinburgh
Easter Bush Campus
Midlothian, EH25 9RG


71 Innovation Drive
Milton Park 
Abingdon, OX14 4RQ

E: info@oxitec.com  T: +44 1235 832393

For media enquiries, call +1 202 792 3080 or email press@oxitec.com