£700k lift for industrial biotech

Funding will be spread across five projects. Picture: Contributed

Funding will be spread across five projects. Picture: Contributed

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A string of Scottish businesses and universities and are set for a boost after the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) earmarked more than £700,000 of investment for micro-enterprises specialising in industrial biotech.

Spread across five projects, the funding will aid research in areas such as new and environmentally-friendly protein production, new tools for vaccines and therapies, processes to increase the value of seaweed crops, bioprocessing and natural pigment production.

It is hoped that the investment will add significant impact to the growth of the industrial biotechnology industry, which has a target to be worth some £400 million by 2020.

The announcement was due to be made today at the third annual IBioIC Conference in Glasgow to an audience of about 400 industry executives and academics.

Roger Kilburn, chief executive of IBioIC, said: “Ultimately, industrial biotechnology will become the size of the chemical industry ($5.2 trillion globally in 2015) as it uses bio-resources to replace fossil fuel feedstocks.

“With the Scottish market growing by 10 per cent a year, we’re proud to be enabling smaller businesses to accelerate growth in the sector and support their access to the excellent academic capabilities of our Scottish higher education institutions. This transition needs academia and industry partners of all sizes to work together and catalyse growth.”

Recipients of the funding include Alfacyte and Edinburgh University, to enable better vaccine and disease therapies; and Marine Biopolymers, James Hutton Institute and Glasgow University, to innovate seaweed extraction.

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