CBMNet funded member TeeGene selected for R&D delegation to NZ
TeeGene Biotech to take part in research and development mission in New Zealand to help establish links in agriculture and biotechnology
CBMNet member Teegene Biotech, which is based at the Wilton Centre, has been selected to take part in a week-long international visit sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and based around a schedule put together by the British High Commission in Wellington.
It is hoped the move will help create agriculture, plant and food research connections with New Zealand’s Crown Research Institutes, leading universities and specialist biotech firms.
Following a visit in March 2014, Professor Robin Grimes, the Foreign Office Chief Science Adviser, confirmed the value of both countries as scientific partners for each other and subsequently strengthened UK-NZ links in commercially-orientated R&D.
Dr Steve Thompson, science officer at the High Commission, said: “Over 70 hard collaborations have resulted over the eight years of the programme to date, with commercial benefits accruing for both countries.”
The news follows a strong year for Teegene, in which it announced a number of pioneering projects.
Having developed methods for extracting high-value chemicals from algae, plants and microorganisms, for example, the company can now produce biosurfactants, which act like soap and help emulsify different liquids, from strains of bacteria.
It also launched a research project, funded by CBMNet, to investigate whether plants and greenery on roadside verges that have been subjected to air pollution from exhaust fumes could provide crucial chemicals that could be recycled for use in medical applications.
The business already has a good track record of successful collaboration projects, having used the Belgium-based Biobase Europe Pilot Plant facilities (BBEPP) for the biomanufacturing of biosurfactants last year.
It likewise used Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) innovation funding for algal technology to manufacture value added soil conditioners and fuel substitutes from farming wastewater.
Company director Dr Pattanathu Rahman said: “We are hoping to meet naturally organic and biobased product manufacturers and associated institutions to establish UK-NZ collaborative projects, particularly R&D collaboration in our area of expertise in biological surfactants and emulsifiers using industrial biotechnology.
“Some of the TeeGene’s manufacturing platform needs surplus sunlight to activate the production pathways of bio-vehicles.
“New Zealand’s tropical climatic conditions are suitable to achieve a high yield with low energy consumptions for economic advantage and complementary to TeeGene’s existing R&D platform.”
“It is a prestigious international networking event and will lead to a number of new collaborative opportunities as both countries have common interests to develop their agriculture and biotech sectors.”