Category Archives: SPOTLIGHT

SPOTLIGHT ON INDUSTRY: Richard Hitchman, Operations Manager, Protein Production, Evotec

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Richard Hitchman, Operations Manager, Protein Production, Evotec

What is your background and current job role?
My background is in baculovirus molecular biology and recombinant protein production. I took my undergraduate degree at Coventry University where I graduated with a first class honours in Applied Ecology. I was then offered a Ph.D. with Professor Robert Possee at the NERC Institute of Virology and Environmental Microbiology (IVEM) and Professor Linda King at Oxford Brookes University (OBU), investigating genetic variability in baculovirus populations. Following this, I undertook postdoctoral research applying the knowledge gained during my PhD towards improvement of the baculovirus expression system, initially at OBU and then Oxford Expression Technologies Ltd, an OBU spin-out company. Four years ago I moved to Evotec to set up a baculovirus expression facility and I am currently Principal Scientist within the Structural Biology group. My current role is the operational management of the Protein Production team; we carry out novel construct design, protein expression in bacteria and eukaryotic cells, protein purification and analysis, high-throughput protein production and isotope labelling for NMR.

What Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (IBBE) related project is currently being undertaken by your organisation?
Within Evotec we are working on many IBBE related projects. As a drug discovery alliance and development partnership company most of them are within disease areas such as neuroscience, pain, metabolic diseases, oncology, inflammation and infectious diseases. Protein production is one of the first steps in the drug discovery process and as such we are responsible for ensuring a reliable supply of soluble, active protein of sufficient quantity to provide accurate functional and structural information of the disease-associated proteins. These may be cytosolic, secreted or membrane proteins and each target offer novel challenges in their construct design and production.

What do you think the challenges related to this project are in the next 1-5 years?
Difficult to express proteins are often a bottleneck in early phase drug discovery. Expression levels are generally low, proteins are often misfolded or insoluble and consequently inactive. One of the main challenges is identifying ways to improve the capture of these proteins, with native structure and biological function. Novel production systems and the development of high throughput technologies are areas which could be very beneficial in directing these efforts in the future.

How can other CBMNet members help you and your organisation with your research?
We are always interested in new technologies that can help solve protein production problems; for example, novel expression vectors, new cloning methods, improved expression systems and more efficient chromatography methods. CBMNet is a great way to connect with other researchers in this field and we welcome the opportunity to explore joint grant applications or similar collaborations.

You can contact Richard by emailing him at Richard.Hitchman@evotec.com

SPOTLIGHT ON INDUSTRY: Elspeth Bartlet, Head of Communications, BioVale

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Elspeth Bartlet, Head of Communications, BioVale

What is your background and current job role?
After receiving my PhD from Imperial College and working in agricultural research, I moved to a career in science communication. I managed communications for a diverse group of science-based organisations including Rothamsted Research, the University of York’s Artemisia Research Project and the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine before joining BioVale in 2014.

What Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (IBBE) related projects are currently of interest to your organisation?
BioVale is a relatively new initiative to promote and develop innovation for the bioeconomy in the Yorkshire and Humber region. By bioeconomy we mean the production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into food, feed, energy, chemicals and other materials. It encompasses both industrial biotechnology and agri-tech. The Yorkshire and Humber region has an outstanding complement of bio-based research, industry and agriculture. Our role is to both advance the sector and to establish the region’s reputation as an important hub for bioeconomy research and innovation.

We support and promote:
• networking and dialogue
• research, development and demonstration
• regional bio-based supply chains
• inward investment
• trade/export.
We are supported and steered by regional industry, research organisations, higher education and government.

What do you think the challenges related to IBBE in the next 1-5 years are?

We have identified the following barriers that threaten to prevent the region from successfully capitalising on the bioeconomy.
• Regional bioeconomy assets are not fully integrated and the collaborations needed to build new supply chains are not in place.
• The region lacks international recognition as an important centre for the bioeconomy.
• There are skill shortages in the bioeconomy workforce.
• Local companies are significantly underperforming in international trade and innovation.
We are working with regional, national and international partners to address these problems.

To get in touch with Elspeth please email biovale@york.ac.uk

SPOTLIGHT ON INDUSTRY: Matthew Hodges, Strategy & Business Development at Oxford Biotrans Ltd

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Dr Matthew Hodges, Strategy & Business Development at Oxford Biotrans Ltd

What is your background and current job role?

I received my undergraduate degree and DPhil in Molecular Biology and Genomics from the University of Oxford, focusing in part on understanding the evolution and protein composition of Eukaryotic cilia (the ‘antenna of cells’). I then worked for a number of years as a consultant with Mars & Co, enabling business and operational strategy across the Life Sciences, FMCG, Auto and Aerospace industries.

Oxford Biotrans was spun out of the Department of Chemistry, University of Oxford, and is built on a group of process technologies that utilise enzymatic technologies to yield high-value chemical compounds, in some cases providing novel routes to molecules that are not easily accessed by conventional means. I came on-board last year following a successful Series A round, to help formulate the business strategy and development, and with our new lab, and growing team, Oxford Biotrans is a really exciting place to be.

What Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (IBBE) related project is currently being undertaken by your organisation?

Oxford Biotrans exploits a novel approach to P450 enzyme design to develop commercially viable fermentation and biotransformation solutions producing high-value compounds. Our initial product, natural-grade Nootkatone, is the flavour and scent of grapefruit, and as such sits within the Flavour & Fragrance industry. We have additional IBBE projects at various stages, spanning a wide range of sectors, from Pharma to Agrochemical, where we intend to realise scalable, ‘green’, biocatalytic processes for these products.

What do you think the challenges related to this project are in the next 1-5 years?

One of the biggest challenges to the viability of many biotransformation processes is their ability to scale, and function at concentrations relevant to commercial exploitation. Coupled to this is the need to utilise and develop synthetic biology techniques to create chemical routes from low-value, common substrates, to the desired end-product – the ‘cell as a factory’ concept. This challenge involves integrating the deep knowledge base that exists right across the sciences to tackle the challenges we see today in multi-component cascade reactions.

As an industry, there is also a need to further communicate the importance of IBBE to the wider public, especially in Europe, to convey the vital role it can play in areas such as resource security and the environment.

How can other CBMNet members help you and your organisation with your research?

In the context of CBMNet, any member who is interested in understanding or optimising membrane transport for compounds, or maximising recombinant protein secretion, might be interested in talking to us, to develop joint grant applications or similar collaborations. We are always keen to explore novel approaches and techniques to improve our processes and research.

You can contact Matthew at matthew.hodges@oxfordbiotrans.com

SPOTLIGHT ON INDUSTRY: Reuben Carr, Head of Chemical Biology, INGENZA

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Dr Reuben Carr, Head of Chemical Biology at Ingenza

What is your background and current job role?

My undergraduate training was carried out at University of Southampton where I graduated with double first class honours in Chemistry and Biochemistry. Following this I completed a PhD with Professor Nick Turner at the University of Edinburgh, developing novel biocatalytic processes to develop efficient and novel manufacturing routes for the preparation of pharmaceutical (chiral amine) intermediates.

Ingenza was spun out of the School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh, initially based on commercially exploiting the technological bioprocesses I worked on during my PhD. On completing my PhD I joined Ingenza as senior scientist providing key technical expertise of biocatalytic processes learnt during my studies and applied this into an industrial setting. During this period I was instrumental as part of the team that successfully tech transferred cost effective enzymatic bioprocesses developed at Ingenza with manufacturing partners around the globe.

As with any growing company, Ingenza has grown and adapted from where it began, today Ingenza is a lead provider of synthetic biology services to the Industrial Biotechnology (IB) sector and my current job title is Head of Chemical Biology. I have responsibilities and oversight at the technological interface of biology and chemistry disciplines within the scientific services that Ingenza provides to its clients and customers. I project manage teams of scientists and I lead the delivery of workplan objectives to fulfil customer expectations for IB processes at Ingenza. I have played in a key part in forging long standing relationships and contracts with major end user clients wishing to develop tomorrow’s sustainable bioprocesses using the extensive knowledge base and scientific capabilities Ingenza provides to the IB sector.

What Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy related project is currently being undertaken by your organisation?

At Ingenza we have a number of IBBE projects under development. These projects encompass biofuels, wherein we engineer yeasts to maximise efficiencies and cost effectiveness for ethanol production. We also undertake several materials and chemicals related projects, where existing market facing customers are seeking either chemical identical or new functionality from their respective products. We are increasingly finding needs in the conventional chemical industries seeking innovative ways to improve their manufacturing routes particularly those that can lessen the reliance of petrochemical feedstocks as raw materials. Bioprocessing and fermentation routes offer a new perspective and opportunity to deliver this need, by way of example Ingenza is partnered with companies such as Lucite International and Invista to produce biobased methacrylate and nylon intermediates respectively.

What do you think the challenges related to this project are in the next 1-5 years?
Despite the significant advances in the fields of biotechnology (i.e. proteo-, gene-, transcript-metabol-‘omics, DNA synthesis, DNA assembly, microbial engineering, etc…) there are still barriers that prevent uptake and widespread deployment of biobased manufacturing solutions in UK industry and further afield. Gaps in knowledge of enzymatic specificities and ability to rapidly redesign function to meet an industrial requirement are lacking. This limits the synthetic biology tools to act and deploy catalytic cascades for assembly of novel fermentative pathways to output industrial chemicals. In addition to this the necessary export machinery to transfer the chemical from inside to outside the cell are needed to achieve high product titres in fermentations to meet commercially competitive efficiencies of space-time-yield production for biobased products. How do we identify cellular transporters for any given chemical pathway product? If transporting function is unknown should we engineer a progenitor wild type transporter or prospect for function using wildtype ‘omics datasets?

How can other CBMNet members help you and your organisation with your research?

CBMNet has an important role to play in identifying and locating effective transporters that can readily and easily transferred into heterologous microbial hosts to improve IB production efficiencies. Despite efforts to build efficient metabolic flux to industrial products within a microbial host, if the exporting machinery is absent or lacking the industrial process will not become realised and commercial exploitation will ultimately fail. Ingenza’s participation in CBMNet is to discover and learn the tools that allow us to rapidly identify suitable cellular transporters. How do we locate a suitable transporter for any given chemical target product? How do we benchmark and assay any given transporter in its efficiency as product exporter so we can be confident it fulfils competitive space-time-yield requirements for an economic IB process?

You can contact Reuben at r.carr@ingenza.com

SPOTLIGHT ON INDUSTRY: Pattanathu Rahman, Founding Director at Teegene Biotech Ltd

logo_06.06.2015 Dr Pattanathu Rahman has spun a company out of research at Teesside University and has been nominated for an award, pictured at Wilton Centre where his office is based. 4/2/15

 

Dr Pattanathu Rahman, Founding Director at Teegene Biotech Ltd

What is your background and current job role?
I obtained my BSc, MSc, and MPhil Distinctions in Biology followed by a PhD in Microbiology from Bharathiar University (Tamil Nadu, India) in 2000 – studying the role of microbial biosurfactants for oil spill remediation funded by CSIR Senior Research Fellowship. I have been offered a Postdoctoral Fellowship on the ‘Challenges in Biosurfactant fermentation’ at University of Ulster in 2000-2001. In 2001, I took up the US DOE sponsored Research Scientist position at Brookhaven National Laboratory; New York (USA) to work on the mineral-microbe association and their regulation of enzyme catalysed transformations. From 2003-2007, I worked at the ERDF/HEIF Bioremediation programme at Teesside University and took part in DEFRA funded Bio-recycling: Resource recovery and reduction of oily hazardous wastes via biosurfactant washing and bioremediation and EU LIFE 3 programme on Biomass, Remediation, Regeneration (BioReGen): Reusing Brownfield Sites for Renewable Energy Crops. I then took the academic position to lead MSc Biotechnology Course at Teesside University. I coordinated BfB KTN sponsored FROPTOP project (2008): ‘Exploring the biocatalytic pathways of the microbial biosurfactant production from biodiesel industry residual glycerine’ and this work led to the creation of the spin-out company TeeGene Biotech based at the Wilton Centre near Middlesbrough. As a founding director of the company, I am responsible for the business development and operations. Recently, we have secured funding from Commonwealth Scholarship Commission’s Scholarships and appointed researchers to optimise biosurfactant production using bacteria from environmental samples and biosynthesis of nanomaterials using medicinal plants.

What Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy related project is currently being undertaken by your organisation?

TeeGene has expertise in bioremediation as well as waste management and has commercialised biotechnology based on bioreactors and bio-product development. One of TeeGene’s aims is to supply biotech based solutions for large industries such as, waste management and biosustainable production of industrial platform chemicals and surfactants.

TeeGene Biotech, is part of a consortium of experts and industries that develop biobased technology to capture precious metals. The University of York, along with TeeGene Biotech Ltd and Johnson Matthey will be working on the project ‘Plants as Nanoparticle Producers’ funded through a CBMNet Proof of Concept Grant. Platinum group metals (PGMs) are used in many industrial applications, often as nanoparticles (NPs). PGMs are rare materials, making them highly valuable, but their increasing dispersal in the environment is of growing concern. The metal accumulating ability of plants can be used to capture metals from the environment. These high value products could help satisfy demand for precious metals in industry and medicine. This work will integrate TeeGene’s core technologies and business aspirations with the recovery of high value materials using biobased technologies to create a central enabling technology for metallic waste management. It will pump-prime one of TeeGene’s business models – the development of integrated biobased technology on waste streams. This project will be used to commercialise the technology after feasibility of the large scale precious metal recovery.

Bio-actives from microalgae: Algal biosurfactants still represents a major untapped and unexplored area of research. This area is gaining much attention in relation to potential bioemulsifier properties in food and bio-therapeutic sector. An innovative project by a TeeGene to extract high value chemicals from algae has been given financial backing by HVCfPNet. The BBSRC grant will enable TeeGene Biotech to undertake a project to explore the use of naturally occurring microorganisms, microalgae, in the treatment of industrial waste water as well as their potential as a high value chemical ingredient. The company is also developing links with the National Horizon Centre, which is under development adjacent to Teesside University’s campus in Darlington and Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) at York.

What do you think the challenges related to this project are in the next 1-5 years?
1. Commercial feasibility to manufacture biosurfactants in industrial scale could be a challenge
2. Foaming of Biosurfactants during fermentation is one of the key unavoidable challenges
3. Improving the yield rate of pure compounds and enhance functionalities to focus on biopharma and personal care applications

How can other CBMNet members help you and your organisation with your research?

CBMNet members can contact TeeGene to develop projects on bionanomaterials or biosurfactants. A group of biosurfactants with cytotoxic properties on cancer cell lines are good source to target anticancer treatment. Similarly group of nanomaterials with anticancer property also promising for cancer drug development. Biosurfactants can be used as a stabiliser and transported to target cancer cells using nanoparticles. The molecular and cellular interactions of this study needs to be explored. This will open-up a number of discoveries for cancer treatment. CBMNet members could help us to develop novel metabolic engineering route for biosurfactant production to enhance cell signalling pathways or to explore molecular mechanisms in biosurfactant mediated drug delivery routes.

You can contact Pattanathu at P.Rahman@tees.ac.uk

SPOTLIGHT ON INDUSTRY: Steve Taylor, Founder and CSO at Celbius Ltd

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Steve Taylor, Founder and Director at Celbius Ltd

What is your background and current job role?
I originally trained in biochemistry, studying at Imperial College in the mid-1980’s, where I stayed on to complete a PhD in microbial biotransformations. I joined a Cambridge-based biotech start up called Enzymatix in 1989, to start building a technology capability in biocatalysis. The company evolved into Chiroscience, encompassing both its own drug discovery and technology services for production of chiral intermediates in the pharmaceutical industry. The latter activity was separated as Chirotech, and by this time I was running a biocatalysis group comprising enzyme discovery, development and application. When Dow Chemical acquired Chirotech the group was also looking at the use of biocatalysis in drug discovery. Preferring a small company environment, I left Dow and began performing some independent consultancy work, for example, helping Almac Sciences to establish themselves in biocatalysis. Two years ago I formed Celbius to commercialise the application of ultrasound in bioprocessing, since biotransformations, fermentations and extraction processes can all benefit from this technology in terms of yields and reaction rates. Celbius is my main focus today, where I am developing the business both scientifically and commercially through the use of seed funding and grants.

What Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy related project is currently being undertaken by your organisation?
Celbius has an eclectic range of IBBE-related projects at various stages including biomass products for energy, novel agricultural applications of phytochemical extracts (including sonic-assisted extraction technology) and use of low power ultrasound in secondary metabolic processes and in other fermentation processes for enhanced protein production.
The common factor is the use of ultrasound- “sonobioprocessing”.

What do you think the challenges related to this project are in the next 1-5 years?
Most Celbius projects involve the use of low to medium power ultrasound, where acoustic energy is applied to liquids or slurries, for example fermentation cultures, bi-phasic biotransformations or solvent-extraction of comminuted plant materials. One of the main challenges is to achieve a much broader uptake of ultrasonic technology in the bioprocessing industries, and this will be achieved by deployment of much lower cost non-intrusive flow cells (no probes to corrode and contaminate products) than are currently available. The other challenge is to more comprehensively understand the effects that are observed. A benefit such as increased product yield may be a consequence of one or more factors such as high medium turbulence and shear forces, reduction of particle size, and in the case of living cells, improved membrane transport and modulation of gene expression caused by mechanical stresses. A “know-how to know-why” transition is desired.

How can other CBMNet members help you and your organisation with your research?
In the context of this NIBB, any member, academic or industrial, who is developing a bioprocess that involves transport of substrates or products across membranes might be interested in talking to us, since low power ultrasound can be of benefit to transport processes. This could also include the formation of artificial membranes such as liposomes and other particles. We are interested in collaboration via joint grant applications but also available to provide technical support and guidance to process development and equipment for all aspects of sonobioprocessing.

You can contact Steve at steve.taylor@celbius.com

SPOTLIGHT ON INDUSTRY: Mark Blight, Senior New Product Development Scientist – Technical Capabilities, Biocatalysts Ltd

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Mark Blight, Senior New Product Development Scientist – Technical Capabilities, Biocatalysts Ltd

What is your background and current job role?

I obtained my B.Sc. (Hons) from Nottingham University in 1986 and then went on to study for a Ph.D. at Leicester University, Department of Genetics, on ABC Transporters. Following a brief MRC Post-Doc I took on a CNRS Poste-Rouge, followed by a short Research Associate position at the Rockefeller University, New York prior to obtaining a permanent position with the CNRS back in France and working on the molecular mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions. In 2010 I joined Biocatalysts Ltd in Cardiff as a Senior Scientist and now am responsible for Technical Capabilities. This role involves identifying the key scientific capabilities required for Biocatalysts business development and growth.

What Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (IBBE) related project is currently being undertaken by your organisation?

In the last 6 years Biocatalysts Ltd. has expanded into the IBBE market with the production of recombinant enzymes for the food, fine chemical, flavour, fragrance and pharmaceutical sectors. We have developed IBBE platforms and the associated technology to provide streamlined, effective and efficient production of recombinant enzymes in a variety of prokaryotic and eukaryotic hosts through fermentation and downstream processing to product conditioning and shipment. All aspects of IBBE relevant to commercial recombinant enzyme production are relevant to our business interests.

What do you think the challenges related to this project are in the next 1-5 years?
One of the biggest challenges to Biocatalysts Ltd for the production of a wide variety of recombinant enzymes for an equally diverse range of applications is achieving the cost-effective product yield, quality and application specification required by our customers. With a diverse range of recombinant expression platforms, developing technologies that translate across these platforms as homogeneously as possible for lean manufacturing is also a significant challenge.

How can other CBMNet members help you and your organisation with your research?
Biocatalysts Ltd. is involved in a number of BBSRC NIBB projects from Business Innovation Vouchers to Proof-of-Concept projects. We currently have one project with Newcastle University through CBMNet with Prof. Jeff Errington investigating developing Bacillus subtilis recombinant enzyme expression for broader applications in IB. Since several of Biocatalysts Ltd. expression platforms involve protein secretion, we are particularly interested in contacts with CBMNet members with innovative approaches to maximising recombinant protein secretion that translates to IBBE platforms.

You can contact Mark at markb@biocats.com

SPOTLIGHT ON INDUSTRY: Doug Cossar, Research Manager of Biotechnology, Croda

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Doug Cossar, Research Manager of Biotechnology, Croda

What is your background and current job role?
I obtained my BSc in Microbiology from the University of Dundee in 1978, followed by a PhD from Herriot-Watt – studying the physiology of a 4 member microbial community growing on benzoate. I returned to Dundee Department of Biological Sciences to do a post-doctoral fellowship on enzyme control in cyanobacteria. In 1985 I took up a post at the Universite de Fribourg in Switzerland to work on expression of elements of the cellulase complex in a thermophilic fungus. From 1985 to 1991 I worked at the Centre for Applied Microbiology Research at Porton Down on aspects of microbial physiology, from behaviour of GMM’s to extreme thermophiles, with an occasional foray into biosensor development. I then took a position in process development for a biopharmaceutical start-up in Toronto, Canada (Cangene Corp) where I remained for 15 years – working through all aspects of process development (seed bank to finished product) including validation for cGMP manufacturing. Following 4 years at the Structural Genomics Consortium in Toronto (high throughput cloning and protein structural biology) I took up my present position at Croda Europe Ltd, to manage the Biotechnology Research Group in Widnes. My role is to develop route to manufacture for biotechnology-derived speciality chemicals for delivery across an array of market sectors, from Health Care (eg excipients for drug formulation or speciality lipids) to the Oil Field (surface-active materials). In this position, I am developing a network of collaborators to bring academic research into Industrial Biotechnology.

What Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (IBBE) related project is currently being undertaken by your organisation?
Croda is a relative newcomer to IB – essentially developing a product pipeline and commissioning a manufacturing capability over the past 6 years. Some of the projects being developed include biosurfactants, speciality natural products, and biopolymers. This work is largely underpinned by significant screening collaborations to identify products of potential interest.

What do you think the challenges related to this project are in the next 1-5 years?
Product yield is the most significant challenge. Microbes typically produce only the minimum product required for their needs. In one sense, this is to our advantage since it tends to have evolved highly efficient materials and to foster multi-functionality – both of which are identified key trends in the speciality chemicals industry.

How can other CBMNet members help you and your organisation with your research?
The biological membrane presents multiple challenges for a company such as Croda. In some cases, we would prefer that the product is exported to the medium where it can accumulate at much higher levels (total, rather than actual concentration) and thus give enhanced yield. In this scenario, we would be looking for exporters with a particular, or an enhanced, activity. We should also not neglect substrate uptake – both for product-related precursors (which may be non-natural) and nutrient (especially to add capacity to utilise waste stream materials or to bias metabolic flux to desirable pathways). In a third situation, IB products often present biologically relevant activity – such as anti-microbial, or anti-oxidant. Here, the concerns are about understanding how these products interact with biological membranes – whether in a positive (ie traversing the membrane to be functional inside the cell) or a negative (disrupting membranes with adverse effect on cell function) mode. To date, I have found CBMNet to be a highly attractive community with broad expertise in membrane biology and we have developed several interesting and useful collaborations through Business Interaction Vouchers and Proof of Concept applications.

You can contact Doug at Douglas.Cossar@croda.com

SPOTLIGHT ON INDUSTRY: Richard Alldread, Head of Innovation, CPI Biologics

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Richard Alldread, Head of Innovation, CPI Biologics

What is your background and current job role?

My background is in protein engineering and recombinant protein expression. Initially with a view to understanding the nature of thermostability in enzymes from thermophilic bacteria. From there I developed prokaryotic and eukaryotic recombinant expression systems for a variety of uses (drug discovery, diagnostics, biotherapeutics). For the last 10 years or so my focus has been predominantly on the development and manufacture of biotherapeutics.

My current role at CPI is Head of Innovation, this role focuses on scouting for and developing new technologies that can be applied to biotherapeutic product development and manufacture, a key part of this is the formation of strong links with the rest of the biotherapeutic research community.

What Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (IBBE) related project is currently being undertaken by your organisation?

CPI Biologics currently have a number of ongoing projects that are relevant, these include:

  • Manufacturing methods for a nanoparticle drug delivery system
  • In process formulation of biotherapeutics
  • Engineering CHO cells for improved process performance
  • Improved and streamlined biotherapeutic development pathways

There are numerous other projects currently in the planning stages.

What do you think the challenges related to this project are in the next 1-5 years?

The biotherapeutic industry will face many varied challenges in the next few years, particularly it will need to adapt to the needs of stratified medicine and adopt more efficient and cost effective ways of selecting, developing and manufacturing therapeutic products. There is likely to be an increase in the diversity of therapeutic products (new protein formats, viral vectors for gene therapy, cell therapy) and these will all challenge our current manufacturing operations.

How can other CBMNet members help you and your organisation with your research?

We now have a wide range of technologies available that together have the potential to revolutionise the development and manufacture of biopharmaceuticals (genomics, synthetic biology, microfluidics, 3D printing, cell free expression), some of these are beyond the traditional remit of biotechnologists. Networks such as CBMNet can help by developing a cross disciplinary approach to solving biological problems and ensuring that biotechnologists have access to and an ongoing dialogue with experts from other fields.

You can contact Richard by emailing him at Richard.Alldread@uk-cpi.com

SPOTLIGHT ON INDUSTRY: Ian Hodgson, Head of Molecular Biology, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies

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Ian Hodgson, Head of Molecular Biology, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies

What is your background and current job role?

I did a degree in Biochemistry, a PhD in Molecular Biology, and after the obligatory post-doc, started work for ICI (as it was) then as a Molecular Biologist in 1989. I’ve now worked for five different companies without moving buildings, after moving to Billingham in 1992 which was developing a business in what would be now called white biotechnology (speciality enzymes, biodegradable polymers etc).

With changes in strategy and company name/ ownership (Zeneca, Avecia, Merck, Fujifilm) the business at Billingham moved from a focus on industrial biotechnology into biotherapeutic proteins and has operated as a contract development and manufacturing organisation for ca 15 years now. My current area of responsibility is Head Of Molecular Biology, which covers a range of activities in both Microbial and Mammalian Expression Systems.

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