The journey of Industrial Biotechnology: The opportunity for growth

Posted on: 11/12/2015

The 2015 “Journey of Industrial Biotechnology” report shows that IB is well on the way to achieving £12Bn in value to the UK economy by 2025.


In 2010 the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation and Growth Team (IB-IGT) published IB2025 – a horizon-scanning and road-mapping report on ‘Maximising UK Opportunities from Industrial Biotechnology in a Low Carbon Economy’. As a follow up to this report, in 2015 the IBLF published a report called “Journey of Industrial Biotechnology” to provide an update on what has been achieved in the UK in subsequent 5 years.

This report reviews the rapid growth of the uptake of industrial biotechnology (IB) across the chemistry-using industries since the publication of IB2025, whilst highlighting the challenges that remain. The IB-IGT made over 20 key recommendations in the 2009 document, which were broadly split into five themes. The ‘Journey of Industrial Biotechnology: the opportunity for growth’ demonstrates how the UK is measuring up against these recommendations.

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The report includes numerous case studies, exemplifying the impact of IB in the UK economy.

One such example is Biocatalysts Ltd, whose customised enzymes are used by big companies across the food and pharmaceuticals sectors. Year upon year of steady growth, founded on the introduction of new skills and capability, has seen the Cardiff based company achieve a market leading position globally.

Biocatalysts Managing Director Stuart West said:

“In a relatively specialist area like IB – being able to access new expertise, and incorporate and develop it internally has been vital in building our knowledge base and expanding our capabilities.”

As well as an extensive recruitment and personal development programme, Biocatalysts has been able to access unique expertise and equipment within the academic sector – collaborations supported by both Innovate UK and Research Council funded projects.

A history of successful work with the Universities of Bath and Nottingham, taking on PhDs through the Government backed Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), was expanded to incorporate close to 10 institutions via BBSRC NIBB and CASE awards. The introduction of unique academic expertise is revolutionising Biocatalysts’ production techniques, making them faster and more effective.

Stuart added:

“What we can do now, creating a new enzyme from scratch in just a few weeks, would have seemed like science fiction only a few years ago.”


You can download a copy of the Journey of IB report here.


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