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

Biocats Logo RGB_large Mark Blight - Molecular Cloning & Protein Expression Scientist

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

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