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Business Secretary announces £20M for UK industrial biotechnology

Copyright: iStock
News from: Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

Business Secretary Vince Cable has today (17 February) unveiled the winners of a multi-million-pound competition to bring innovative UK biotechnology projects to market.

A total of 23 projects, ranging from making biofuel from household waste to using bacteria to make the building blocks for new medicines, will share almost £20M from the BBSRC-supported Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst – introduced in January 2014 to support collaboration between UK researchers and the emergent industrial biotechnology sector.

Industrial biotechnology is a rapidly emerging sector in the UK and is predicted to be worth up to £12Bn by 2025.

Speaking on a visit to winning industrial biotechnology company Ingenza in Edinburgh this morning, Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "Whether it's developing new antibiotics or producing plastics from plants, this funding will help our talented researchers across the UK continue to bring their innovative ideas to market.

"The Government is committed to supporting this emerging sector as part of our science and innovation strategy and this additional £20M through the Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst will help cement the UK's position as a world leader in this sector."

Ingenza has been awarded a total of almost £680,000 to carry out research including developing new biopharmaceuticals that could be used to make a new class of antibiotics.

Vince Cable saw first-hand how scientists onsite are using biological processes to manufacture chemicals, biofuels and biopharmaceuticals from sustainable sources. He also took the opportunity to meet apprentices who have been working at the company to kick-start their scientific careers.

Ian Fotheringham, Managing Director at Ingenza said: "At Ingenza we use innovative synthetic biology tools to increase the speed, scale, and predictability with which we can build or redesign biological systems for commercial applications. Dr Cable's visit is a much appreciated boost to our efforts to contribute to job growth in the UK's burgeoning industrial biotechnology sector."

With the support of the Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst, British researchers have already helped develop new technologies in everything from plastics produced from plant residues to chemicals from yeast to be used in sunscreens and cancer treatments.

The multi-million pound fund has been pledged by BBSRC, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Innovate UK to support UK researchers and companies to work together to bring their biotechnology innovations to market and to help cement the UK's position as a world leader in this sector.

Notes to editors

Winning projects include:

  1. A new generation of E. coli expression hosts and tools for recombinant protein production
    University of Kent
  2. A Combinatorial Approach to Enhance Production of Monoclonal Antibodies
    University of York
  3. Developing platforms for the production of diterpenoids
    University of York
  4. Manufacture of complex protein polymers for industry and medicine
    Newcastle University
  5. Improved downstream operation through formulation innovation
    Arecor/CPI/ FujiFilm Diosynth Biotechnologies
  6. Bioplastic polymers based on aromatic dicarboxylic acids derived from lignin
    Biome Technologies/ CPI/ The University of Warwick/University of Leeds
  7. ALGIPRO - Alginates by Production Scale Fermentation and Epimerisation
    CPI/AlgiPharma/ FMC Biopolymer
  8. Combinatorial genome editing to create enhanced biomanufacturing platforms
    Horizon Discovery/ CPI NBMC/ The University of Manchester
  9. Efficient production of first in class antimicrobial therapeutics from an integrated synthetic biology approach
    Ingenza/Plymouth University
  10. A naturally inspired industrial biotechnology route to the manufacture of a novel biopolymer with unique properties
    Ingenza/ Synthomer
  11. Industrial validation of nanofibre platform technology for biotherapeutics manufacture
  12. Much-efficient and cost-effective manufacturing of antibody biotherapeutics employing integrated negative chromatography technology
  13. Development of superior Clostridial strains for low cost renewable chemical production
  14. Biochemical production of succinic acid from biorefinery glycerol: De-risking, scale-up, and feasibility
    The University of Manchester/ CPI/ Brocklesby
  15. PeriTune - a clonal optimisation platform
    The University of Manchester/Cobra Biologics
  16. Development of new tools for de novo polyketide synthase design
    Isomerase/University of Cambridge
  17. Generation of a library of recombineered novel polyketides and non-ribosomal peptides
    Isomerase/ Biosyntha/ John Innes Centre
  18. Discovery and development of large/diverse user-friendly panels of novel biocatalysts
    Prozomix/ Northumbria University
  19. Engineering a Nano-factory for Peptide Synthesis
    Generon/ University of Bristol
  20. In vivo selection of bioprocessable biopharmaceuticals
    University of Leeds/MedImmune/Avacta Analytical
  21. Novel production processes for L-glufosinate
  22. Novel platform biotechnology for the production of natural next generation 3D nanomaterials and nanodevices
    Cellucomp/James Hutton Insitute/ Mylnefield Research
  23. Driving down the cost of waste derived sugar
    Fiberight/CPI/Rebio Technologies/ University of Leeds/Aston/Knauf/novozymes

Tags: funding industrial biotechnology industry innovation RCUK partnerships press release