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 £1 million. 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.
The feasibility studies will be conducted by Biocatalysts Ltd, Biopharma Technology Ltd, Coressence Ltd, Demuris Ltd, Ensus Ltd, Ingenza Ltd, Novacta Biosystems Ltd, SERE-Tech Innovation Ltd, Plaxica Ltd and VHsquared Ltd.
Each company will receive between £40,000 and £120,000 to carry out the studies. The total cost of the ten studies, including contributions from the companies, will be in the region of £1.8 million.
The use of industrial biotechnology offers the potential to develop new, efficient and sustainable methods of obtaining a significant proportion of our 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 like lubricants and plastics or creating active pharmaceutical ingredients through novel bio- transformations.
In April the Technology Strategy Board will announce the results of the second part of its Manufacturing High Value Chemicals through Industrial Biotechnology funding competition, which will see up to £1.5 million invested in a number of collaborative research and development projects.
Source: Technology Strategy Board, press release, 2011-02-07.