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.

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 (Green Biologics)
  • 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 Institute/ Mylnefield Research)
  • Driving down the cost of waste derived sugar (Fiberight/CPI/Rebio Technologies/ University of Leeds/Aston/Knauf/novozymes)


UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, press release, 2015-02-17.


Acidophil LLC
Aston University
Avacta Group plc
Biome Technologies
Biosyntha Technology
Cobra Biologics
Fiberight LLC
FMC Biopolymer
FujiFilm Diosynth Biotechnologies
Green Biologics
Horizon Discovery
Ingenza Ltd
John Innes Centre
Mylnefield Research
Newcastle University
Northumbria University (UK)
The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI)
The James Hutton Institute
UCB Pharma
UCL - London's Global University
University of Bristol
University of Cambridge (UK)
University of Kent
University of Leeds (UK)
University of Manchester
University of Plymouth
University of Warwick, Centre for Biotechnology and Biorefining
University of York (UK)


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