The Biopharmaceutical Bioprocessing Technology Centre has an active and expanding portfolio of Bioprocessing R&D activities that span biomass transformation, renewable chemicals, regenerative medicine and fast-moving consumer goods:

Biomass Transformation and Renewable Chemicals

In April 2009 the Government's New Industry, New Jobs report highlighted a range of new industrial technologies in manufacturing, including industrial biotechnology, in which strong UK capabilities should be a priority for government attention and support. Industrial biotechnology and biorefining can contribute significantly to the shift from a chemical industry based on oil, to one based on renewable and biological substances. The challenge is to develop bioscience-inspired technologies which are cost-competitive, have improved performance and can be exploited through new supply chains.

The Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) formed an Industrial Biotechnology Innovation and Growth Team which in its' May 2009 report recommended developing an open access demonstration facility and establishing an Industrial Biotechnology Fund. In 2010 these recommendations are being implemented with significant investment by BIS and One North East: a £12M demonstration plant is being established at the National Industrial Biotechnology Facility (NIBF) in the North East of England and the Technology Strategy Board is running a competition to fund the development and commercialisation of innovative processes that will generate high value chemicals from biomass. The research councils are making similar complementary investments in R&D.

The BBTC is engaged in these strategic initiatives through partnerships with NIBF, other UK SMEs and universities. New project enquiries welcome.


Regenerative Medicine

Regenerative medicine has already provided significant medical advances in areas such as skin regeneration for burns patients, and it has the potential to go much further, with next-generation products offering cures or treatments with long-term benefits. The number of UK companies working in regenerative medicine has been growing since 2003, and the UK is a leader in this area. If the UK is to fulfil its potential in this field, a number of development challenges need to be overcome so that businesses can successfully exploit promising discoveries.

The Government has recognised these opportunities in regenerative medicine and is making a series of strategic investments in this area through the research councils and the TSB. In 2009/10 these investments include an EPSRC investment of £5.3M in a new Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Regenerative Medicine and a TSB investment of £21.5M in R&D through competitions.

The BBTC is engaged in these strategic initiatives through partnerships with UK SMEs, the medical school at Newcastle University, other universities and Regener8. In particular the BBTC is playing a role in addressing the challenge of developing reproducible and robust manufacturing processes, an area of clear unmet need.


Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) and pharmaceutical sectors

The FMCG and pharmaceutical industries share the same underpinning manufacturing capability to produce multiphase formulated products such as foods, pharmaceuticals, paints, cosmetics and detergents. FMCG and pharmaceutical manufacturing processes operate in an environment in which product innovation, speed to market and consumer focus are critical. Process innovation and development must be continuously advanced if these sectors are to remain competitive.

With a track record of success supporting FMCG industry, the BBTC is addressing these challenges by acting as an inter-disciplinary hub to bring together the skills required to catalyse a step change in the manufacturing routes of the future.

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