Press release

Cable announces £20 million for UK industrial biotechnology

Business Secretary unveiles the winners of a multi-million-pound competition to bring innovative UK biotechnology projects to market.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Business Secretary Vince Cable has today (17 February 2015) 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 £20 million from the 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 £12 billion 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 £20 million 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 Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, 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.

Winning projects include:

A new generation of E. coli expression hosts and tools for recombinant protein production University of Kent
A Combinatorial Approach to Enhance Production of Monoclonal Antibodies University of York
Developing platforms for the production of diterpenoids University of York
Manufacture of complex protein polymers for industry and medicine Newcastle University
Improved downstream operation through formulation innovation Arecor/CPI/ FujiFilm Diosynth Biotechnologies
Bioplastic polymers based on aromatic dicarboxylic acids derived from lignin Biome Technologies/ CPI/ University of Warwick/University of Leeds
ALGIPRO - Alginates by Production Scale Fermentation and Epimerisation CPI/AlgiPharma/ FMC Biopolymer
Combinatorial genome editing to create enhanced biomanufacturing platforms Horizon Discovery/ CPI NBMC/ University of Manchester
Efficient production of first in class antimicrobial therapeutics from an integrated synthetic biology approach Ingenza/Plymouth University
A naturally inspired industrial biotechnology route to the manufacture of a novel biopolymer with unique properties Ingenza/ Synthomer
Industrial validation of nanofibre platform technology for biotherapeutics manufacture Puridify/UCL
Much-efficient and cost-effective manufacturing of antibody biotherapeutics employing integrated negative chromatography technology UCB/BioToolomics
Development of superior Clostridial strains for low cost renewable chemical production GreenBiologics
Biochemical production of succinic acid from biorefinery glycerol: De-risking, scale-up, and feasibility University of Manchester/ CPI/ Brocklesby
PeriTune - a clonal optimisation platform University of Manchester/Cobra Biologics
Development of new tools for de novo polyketide synthase design Isomerase/University of Cambridge
Generation of a library of recombineered novel polyketides and non-ribosomal peptides Isomerase/ Biosyntha/ John Innes Centre
Discovery and development of large/diverse user-friendly panels of novel biocatalysts Prozomix/ Northumbria University
Engineering a Nano-factory for Peptide Synthesis Generon/ University of Bristol
In vivo selection of bioprocessable biopharmaceuticals University of Leeds/MedImmune/Avacta Analytical
Novel production processes for L-glufosinate Acidophil
Novel platform biotechnology for the production of natural next generation 3D nanomaterials and nanodevices Cellucomp/James Hutton Insitute/ Mylnefield Research
Driving down the cost of waste derived sugar Fiberight/CPI/Rebio Technologies/ University of Leeds/Aston/Knauf/novozymes
Published 17 February 2015