2nd Annual Conference 2016 – IBioIC

Thank you Glasgow for a fantastic few days….

We had a great time at the 2nd IBioIC Annual Conference last week in Glasgow, where we had the pleasure of sponsoring one of the sessions on bioprocessing. With over 400 delegates in attendance it was a great 2 days of innovation and insight into the issues and achievements throughout Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (IBBE).

After a long, but scenic train up the east coast we reached Glasgow early Wednesday evening and had a quick catch up with the Network Managers from BIOCATNET (thank you for the lovely dinner!) who were also sponsoring a session at the event. We also had a chance to discuss our joint event that is coming up in July 2016 “Overcoming Cellular Barriers: Implications for Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy”.

The conference started late morning on the Thursday with an introduction from IBioIC CEO Roger Kilburn to set the scene and a short film about the successes of IBioIC in 2015. It was impressive to see how much they have achieved from their Strategic Plan in such a short time.

Next was a session which provided a global view in the industrial biotechnology sphere highlighting what’s new, where the success is happening, and summarising and discussing the progress made and opportunities for Industrial Biotechnology (IB) in Scotland.

After a tasty lunch and time for networking we then heard from some of the current IBioIC members about their successes and the learnings and outcomes from IBioIC project funding to date. Douglas McKenzie from Xanthella, Charlie Bavington from GlycoMar, Ian Fotheringham from Ingenza Ltd. and Ted Chapman from GSK all agreed that IBioIC is integral to Scotland and the UK becoming successful in IB.

Next was the CBMNet sponsored session about the technical challenges and how IBioIC can help with bioprocessing and scale-up in IB. The session was chaired by Professor Gary Lye from University College London and we heard about the progress his lab is making.

Gary also highlighted the skills gaps that exist in IB and how we should address them. This is something that CBMNet is dedicated to helping solve, with our Early Career Research Grants. We are also in the process of developing our own IB Skills Training Programme.

This was followed by a talk from Lucy Foley from the Centre for Process Innovation talking about the new National Biologics Centre. From 2004-2010, biologics increased from 7% to 70% of the sales of the top 10 drugs. Astounding!

Day 1 then ended with a Civic Reception hosted by the Rt Hon The Lord Provost of Glasgow and plenty of wine. From here we headed on to the networking dinner being held at the incredible Drygate Brewery, where IBioIC had their very own branded beer for us to try. There was a great quiz put on throughout the night and the atmosphere was fantastic.

Day 2 started early with networking and breakfast, followed by a session to explore the challenges & barriers to IB with insights from a ministerial perspective and the progress made in achieving the National Plan for IB. The session featured considerations and discussions around the societal issues that biotechnology presents,  and questions how we manage and influence public opinion.

After a quick coffee it was straight in to the next session on the Future of Industrial Biotechnology discussing the complete range of UK open access facilities from lab to commercial demonstration scale and the opportunities and ranges of innovation funding options available in Scotland as well as providing an overview of the role of supporting agencies and the venture investment landscape for IB.

It was great to hear that CBMNet and the other NIBB play a pivotal roll in funding IB in the UK.

It was even greater to see that CBMNet led activities made up 2 of the 5 success stories to date. Congratulations to all of the CBMNet and IBioIC members involved in these – and especially to CBMNet Co-Director Dr Gavin Thomas, who has been the lead on both.

After another tasty lunch, the event was closed hearing from our global counterparts that have successfully commercialised IB. We found out about the lessons learned as well as current developments of each company.

Again, thanks for a great conference IBioIC, we look forward to seeing (and hopefully working with) you soon!

For details on future events with an IBBE focus please see our events page and the IBioIC events calender.