Tocris History

Working with Scientists for More Than 35 Years

Tocris Bioscience is the trading name of Tocris Cookson Ltd., which is headquartered in Bristol, UK. There are approximately 50 employees in the company. In May 2011 Tocris Bioscience was acquired by R&D Systems, headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, USA.

Key Dates

1982 Tocris Neuramin founded by Professor Jeff Watkins
1985 Cookson Chemicals founded by Professor Richard Cookson
1994 Merger of the two creates Tocris Cookson
1995 US subsidiary Tocris Cookson Inc., opens
2002 Tocris receives Queen's Award for Enterprise
2005 Tocris Bioscience brand launched
2006 Founders retire – MBO
2008 Target Detective Launched
2011 Tocris Bioscience joins R&D Systems
2014 Techne Corporation operates under new name, Bio-Techne
2016 Tocris Bioscience move into the Watkins Building
Queen's Award for Enterprise

Tocris Neuramin was founded in 1982 by Professor Jeff Watkins of the Pharmacology Department at the University of Bristol, UK. Watkins' research interests focused on glutamate receptors and their involvement in the synaptic transmission processes of the mammalian central nervous system. Tocris Neuramin was founded to make standard research tools and novel probes in this field easily available to researchers, at least partly in response to the number of requests for samples Watkins was receiving at the time.[1]

Cookson Chemicals was formed in 1985 by Richard Cookson, Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Southampton, UK. Cookson Chemicals provided custom synthesis services as well as a range of neurochemicals to the pharmaceutical and allied industries.

Tocris Cookson Ltd was incorporated in the UK in July 1994 as the result of a merger between Tocris Neuramin Ltd of Bristol, UK and Cookson Chemicals Ltd of Southampton, UK.

In 2002 Tocris Cookson was awarded The Queen's Awards for Enterprise in the International Trade category and later in 2006 received nominations in five categories of the prestigious Life Science Industry Awards.

In October 2005 Tocris announced the opening of new laboratories at the IO Centre, Bristol, UK. At this time, to reflect the increasingly biological nature of the products and customer base the trading name was changed to Tocris Bioscience.

In January 2007 Tocris Bioscience announced the successful completion of a $40 million management buy-out (MBO) deal, providing Tocris with the ability and freedom to further develop its existing business areas and to offer additional products and services to its international client base.

In May 2011 Tocris Bioscience announced that it was combining with R&D Systems. R&D Systems' products include a wide selection of biotechnology-based tools for cell biology research including proteins, antibodies, assays and kits. To learn more about the company and their products visit the R&D Systems website.

In January 2014 Techne Corporation (NASDAQ: TECH) announced that it will operate under a new trade name, Bio-Techne. Over time the new name will be used to unite the company's resources and portfolio to deliver its best-in-class brands and service solutions under a new unified website. The company's major brand names, including Tocris Bioscience, will be maintained.

In January 2016 Tocris Bioscience relocated to a brand new facility at the Avonbridge Trading Estate, Bristol, UK. The facility was named the Watkins Building, after Jeff Watkins, who founded Tocris Neuramin in 1982. At this time the Tocris catalog also surpassed 4000 products.

[1] Watkins JC, Jane DE (2006). "The Glutamate Story". British Journal of Pharmacology 147: S100-S108. PMID 16402093.