Author: BioProNET Network

Medicines manufacturing round 1: challenge fund

Innovate UK is to invest up to £15 million in innovation projects in medicines manufacturing to be funded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Projects should focus on identified technical or commercial challenges. There are 2 parts to this competition:
1.Feasibility projects.
2.Industrial research and experimental development projects.

You must start your projects by 1 February 2018.
You must show how your project will improve the productivity, competitiveness and growth for at least one UK small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) involved in the project.

Feasibility: total project costs of £50,000 to £100,000. Industrial research and experimental development: total project costs of up to £2 million.

More information here


Industrial Biotechnology Seeding Catalyst Awards

New funding call open

We have six Industrial Biotechnology Seeding Catalyst Awards (IBSCA) available. Each award is up to £25,000, funded at full economic cost for projects of up to 3-months duration. There is no obligation to have an industry partner or industry funding. These awards will fund direct costs only, at 100% FEC. This includes travel and salaries, but not estate costs or overheads.

All projects must be completed, reported upon and invoiced for no later than February 28th 2018. This date is not negotiable, and if not met, monies cannot be transferred.

The closing date for applications is September 30th, but applications will be reviewed as soon as they are submitted. We will aim to give a decision within 3 weeks of application being received, and no later than October 31st for applications received on the deadline.

Please download the application form here.
Send completed forms and any questions to both Charlotte Harrison and Joanne Flannelly.

Eligible activities for funding include (but are not be limited to):
– Proof-of-concept studies
– Access to scale-up and facilities to demonstrate commercial potential of an idea/technology
– Development and surveillance of market intelligence including IP landscape analysis/freedom to operate, regulatory analysis, development of exploitation plans
– Development of market or product demonstrators.

The projects should align with the remit of BioProNET [the use of cells and their components (that is, bioprocessing) to produce biologics, which we define as products that are composed of proteins (such as antibodies), peptides, RNA, DNA or vaccines] as well as the aims and objectives of the IBSCA call, which are:

1. To develop and progress ideas and technology within the scope and remit of BioProNET and the call along the technology readiness level (TRL) pathway
2. To further develop previously funded BioProNET PoC and BIV projects
3. Increase business—academic engagement on innovation activities relating to challenge areas identified by the BioProNET community
4. Foster collaboration between SMEs, larger, more established companies up the value chain and academics within the remit of BioProNET
5. Accelerate translational development of innovations and technologies by supporting work that will forward the development of early TRL projects
6. To support multi- and inter- disciplinary research around BioProNET challenge areas
7. Encourage and secure/leverage increased UK business investment in R&D and improved R&D capability and capacity in bioprocessing
8. Generate data and information that supports applications for larger grant funding
9. Provide support for academics to apply and translate their ideas and science to industrially relevant challenges within any societal, environmental, economic, regulatory or political constraints or opportunities for their work

Please download the application form here.
Send completed forms and any questions to both Charlotte Harrison and Joanne Flannelly.

D.Phil position at Oxford / Pirbright / Horizon Discovery

An exciting D.Phil position is available at the Pirbright Institute in Guildford, with a placement at Horizon Discovery and support from the Oxford University Doctoral Training Partnership.

Transcriptional Analysis of chIFITM knockout technology for increased vaccine yields

Start date: October 2017; Remuneration/ pay rate: £17,003 studentship stipend
Dr Mark Fife, Dr Angela Steyn, The Pirbright Institute
Prof. Adrian Smith, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford
Dr Jon Moore, Horizon Discovery

Contact details: Tel: +44 (0)1483 232441

Avian viruses create major challenges to poultry health through loss of productivity and mortality & have concomitant effects on the global poultry industry through a reduction in the output of poultry meat & eggs. Developing effective and affordable vaccines against these viral diseases will help to increase food security worldwide & alleviate poverty in developing countries. This studentship will focus on the transcriptional analysis of CRISPR/Cas9 chIFITM gene knock-outs in commercially relevant and lab-adapted avian cell lines, and will aim to prove the hypothesis that reduced/ablation of chIFITM gene expression will result in a significant increase in viral replication and augment vaccine viral titre.

The position is open to biological science graduates with at least a 2.1 or equivalent, or a Masters degree (subject to university regulations). Other first degrees, e.g. veterinary science, will be considered. You should be looking for a challenging, interdisciplinary research training environment and have an active interest in the control of infectious diseases.

Several vacancies at F-star

F-star develops therapeutic bi-specific antibodies using its Modular Antibody Technology, directed at improving the treatment of serious diseases, with a focus on immune-oncology. We are entering an exciting period of the Company’s development and have several vacancies at the Babraham Research Campus in Cambridge, UK.

Research associate – protein sciences
You will be responsible for protein purification and subsequent routine characterisation, filtrations and sterility testing of antigens, antibody fragments and bi-specific mAb2 molecules.
• A relevant degree and/or a combination of education and experience
• Good track record of relevant hands-on, lab-based experience
• Protein purification using AKTA system (antibody purification, ion exchange, affinity chromatography; eg IMAC)
• Protein characterisation (HPLC, SDS-PAGE, endotoxin level testing etc.)
• Relevant industry experience

Research associate – molecular biology
You will be responsible for the design and execution of expression vector cloning to express antibodies and fusion proteins in mammalian systems
• Relevant experience ideally gained in an industrial environment
• Hands-on experience in molecular biology techniques and vector design for expression of antibodies in mammalian systems (DNA manipulation, cloning, sequence alignment and analysis)
• Knowledge in antibody engineering (eg isotype/subtype reformatting)

Research associate – mammalian cell culture
You will be responsible for transient and stable expression of recombinant proteins in mammalian cell lines at several lab scales.
• Relevant industry or academic experience in mammalian cell culture
• Hands-on experience in transient expression of recombinant proteins using mammalian cell systems (HEK293 and CHO)
• Knowledge in CHO cell line development including transfection, marker selection and generation of stable pools will be an advantage

Scientist – protein characterisation
you will proactively contribute to the development and delivery of analytical capabilities to support our technology platform and mAb2 bispecific pipeline.  Analytical capabilities are required to deliver protein engineering, research grade production and process development activities with a key focus on protein characterisation, developability assessments and formulation
– PhD or equivalent relevant experience, ideally gained in an industrial environment although consideration will be given to industrially relevant academic experience
– Experience and breadth of knowledge in analytical and biophysical characterisation of recombinant biotherapeutics for CMC development. (e.g. formulation, protein aggregation, protein stability and post-translational modifications including glycosylation)
– Experience in early stage developability assessment of therapeutic proteins and development lifecycle for recombinant protein therapeutics
– Demonstrated experience in establishing and applying the following techniques: dynamic and static light scattering, capillary electrophoresis, SVP, UHPLC (SEC, RP, IEX), mass spectrometry

Further details of these and other exciting roles along with instructions how to apply can be found at

BioProNET 4th annual science meeting

BioProNET’s flagship annual science meeting will be held at the Slate Conference Centre, Warwick on October 10th-11th 2017. Registration has now closed; please contact Charlotte to be placed on the wait list.  

Day 1 – 10th October
09:30      Registration

Designing more efficient cell-expression systems (chaired by Kelvin Lee)
10:15  Helene Faustrup Kildegaard – Technical University of Denmark: Improving CHO cell factories with CRISPR-mediated genome engineering
10:45  Short talk: Eva Pekle – University of Kent: Single cell characterisation of CHO cells
10:55  Imre Berger – University of Bristol: Baculovirus expression: old dog, new tricks
11:20  David Humphreys UCB: Protein expression demands and demanding protein expressions: protein sciences the biopharma way
11.45  Short talk: Stefanie Frank – University College London: Engineering spatial segregation within bacterial hosts for bio-therapeutic protein production
11:55  Karen CoopmanLoughborough University: Taking a holistic approach to mesenchymal stem cell culture process design
12:20  Short talk: Robyn Emmins – GlaxoSmithKline: Embedding the Berkeley Lights Beacon: a bright future for cell line development
12:30  Lunch

Building expression systems into optimised process (chaired by Helene Faustrup Kildegaard)
13:30  Paula AlvesiBET, Portugal: Insect cell platforms for production of VLPs and difficult to express proteins
14:00  Short talk: Eleanor Hanson, University of Sheffield: Changes in CHO cell epigenetics throughout cell culture
14:10  Ray OwensUniversity of Oxford: High throughput cloning and expression of recombinant proteins for structural biology
14:35  Kathryn Lilley – University of Cambridge: Quantitative mass spectrometry to determine the three dimensional relationship of the proteome
15:00  Short talk: Tania Selas Castiñeiras – Cobra Biologics: Periplasmic recombinant protein production: which signal peptide to use?
15.10  Refreshment break, networking, posters

The clinic and beyond (chaired by Paula Alves)
15:45  Leda Castilho – Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Production of flavivirus VLPs: zika, yellow fever and beyond
16:15  Jim Faulkner – Autolus: Process development for autologous cell products

16:45  Proof of concept funding awardees (chaired by Mark Smales)
Martin Michaelis – University of Kent: Expanding production time of mammalian cell cultures for biotechnological applications
Cleo Kontoravdi – Imperial College London: Bioreactor design space identification with product quality constraints
Gyorgy Szekely – University of Manchester: Molecular imprinting for sustainable downstream processing of biopharmaceuticals

17:15  Group check-in
18:00  Poster session and drinks reception
19:30  Conference dinner

Day 2 –11th October

Molecular characterization of process quality (chaired by Gary Lye)
09:00  Chris Roberts – University of Delaware, USA: Mechanistic approaches to stabilization of pharmaceutical proteins
09:30  Short talk: Paula Meleady – Dublin City University: Quantitative phosphoproteomic analysis of CHO cells in response to reduced culture temperature
09:40  Perdita Barran – University of Manchester: Hybrid mass spectrometry approaches to analyse biologics and distinguish biosimilars  
10:05 Chris Sellick – MedImmune: Application of custom analytics to support bioprocess development for novel biopharmaceuticals
10:30  Short talk: Stephen Perkins – University College London: CCP-SAS – its utility for the atomistic modelling of pharmaceutically-important antibody solution structures
10:40  Refreshment break, networking, posters

Upstream meets downstream: rapid process development (chaired by Chris Roberts)
11:20  Kelvin Lee – University of Delaware, USA: A host cell protein that may impact polysorbate degradation
11:50  Short talk: Mire Zloh – University of Hertfordshire: Effects of excipients on biomolecule structures during dehydration processes at low temperatures
12:00  Gary Lye – University College London: Scale-down approaches to mammalian cell culture process development and primary recovery
12:25  Short talk: Rochelle Aw – Imperial College London: Increasing ribosome content in Pichia pastoris for improved cell free protein synthesis
12.35  Simone Dimartino – University of Edinburgh: 3D printed porous media for packed bioreactors and downstream processing
13:00  Peter Levison Pall: Technology advances in continuous bioprocessing from process development into clinical manufacture
13:25  Poster prizes, lunch, meeting close