Biotechnology studies set to receive £1m in funding

Ten feasibility studies looking at how industrial biotechnology can be competitively applied to the production of high-value chemicals and polymers are set to benefit from government investment totalling £1m.

The funding follows the conclusion of the first part of a funding competition — Manufacturing High Value Chemicals through Industrial Biotechnology — run by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB).

The feasibility studies will be conducted by Biocatalysts, Biopharma Technology, Coressence, Demuris, Ensus, Ingenza, Novacta Biosystems, SERE-Tech Innovation, Plaxica and VHsquared.

Each company will receive between £40,000 and £120,000 to carry out the studies. The total cost of the 10 studies, including contributions from the companies, will be in the region of £1.8m.

According to the TSB, the use of industrial biotechnology offers the potential to develop new, efficient and sustainable methods of obtaining a significant proportion of energy, chemical and material needs.

Agricultural feedstocks, novel biocatalysts and bioreactor technologies have the potential to meet a number of challenges, such as replacing existing petrochemical-derived products such as lubricants and plastics or creating active pharmaceutical ingredients through novel bio-transformations.

In April, the TSB will announce the results of the second part of its Manufacturing High Value Chemicals through Industrial Biotechnology funding competition, which will see up to £1.5m invested in a number of collaborative research and development projects.