Category: Success Stories – Page 2

Case studies of BioProNET-funded projects

Here are some highlights of completed BioProNET-funded projects – proof of concept funding, business interaction vouchers, workshop funding and scientific exchange awards.

Clicking on each title will open a pdf version of that case study. To see all the case studies in full on this website, click on the purple bar below the titles.

Collaborative development of glycolipid separation technology to reduce costs
BioProNET funding drives the use of motor proteins for nanopore DNA sequencing
BIV funding grows algae bioprocessing collaboration
BIV funding lights up collaboration on fluorescent protein expression in microalgae
PoC study shows protein synthesis errors can cause activity losses in recombinant protein
Warwick and JEOL Strike Gold in Electron Microscopy Collaboration
Dynamic partnership aims to reduce cell harvest time
Cobra and Lancaster partnership helps unravel new analytical tool for DNA topology
Collaboration creates a recipe for success in cell-free protein synthesis
Edinburgh and Recyclatech Join Forces to Recover Microbial By-Products
Sandpit Meeting Builds Collaboration Workshop
Exchange visit funding seeds early career researcher collaborations
Scissor technology cuts out a collaboration between Bath and Arecor

BioProNET Supports Synthetic Portabolomics Project

BioProNet is delighted to have supported Professor Natalio Krasnogor from the University of Newcastle in his successful grant application entitled ‘Synthetic Portabolomics: Leading the Way at the Crossroads of the Digital and the Bio Economies’. Natalio and his co-investigators were awarded a total of £8.1m of which £5.3M was from EPSRC, £2.5M was from the University of Newcastle and £0.4M was from industry collaborators.

Natalio’s work will be focused on a novel area of synthetic biology, called portabolomics. Currently, novel genetic circuits are designed for a single organism (such as E.coli); the circuit needs to be re-engineered for each new organism that is studied – a process which is time consuming and costly. Natalio and his multidisciplinary team aim to standardise the connection between a given genetic circuit and the chassis organism, by understanding the networks of molecular processes that occur in a cell. They will develop a set of academically and industrially useful organisms where the ‘plug-in’ points for the genetic circuit will be the same for each of the organisms, allowing the genetic circuit to be moved from one organism to another.

Natalio also received support from the Centre for Process Innovation,CERN, Croda, Ingenza, Kajeka, Labgenius, Microsoft, Prozomix, SilicoLife, TerraVerdae Bioworks, The Genome Analysis Centre, University of Edinburgh and University of Liverpool.

More information about the grant
Natalio Krasnogor’s home page

BioProNET at Big Bang @ Discovery Park

BioProNET recently took part in a science fair at Discovery Park in Kent, which aimed to inspire students to study STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects.

Around 900 school children, aged 11-14 attended the event, and many learned the difficultities in making antibody-based medicines by trying to make replica biologics out of modelling balloons.

The event was covered in a local newspaper and by Kent and Medway STEM, including some pictures of the students’ models. Although the event was called ‘Big Bang’ we’re happy to report that not too many of our balloons burst!

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Six new BIVs awarded

BioProNET has recently awarded six business interaction vouchers:

Industry biotechnology for the production of hyaluronic acid from Streptococcus equi: understanding hyaluronic acid expression
Garry Blakely, University of Edinburgh working with Hyaltech
We wish to understand how the production of hyaluronic acid in Streptococcus equi changes during large-scale fermentation. To acheive this, we will study the genetic mechanisms that regulate expression in order to to yield quantitative improvements in production.

Exploring the feasibility of nonlinear acoustic detection technique for online bioprocess monitoring
Sourav Ghosh, Loughborough University and the Centre for process innovation
This project proposes to evaluate whether a nonlinear acoustic detection technique could offer a sensitive yet fast and reliable alternative to current industrial standard analytical methods (such as immunoassay, HPLC/UPLC).

Supercritical fluid processing to improve the stability and delivery of low dose biopharmaceuticals
Helen Philippou, University of Leeds in collaboration with Crystec
Crystec has innovative supercritical fluid technology that can be used can process larger molecules to form room-temperature stable particles. This project will be used to evaluate whether supercritical fluid technology can be used on a micro-scale to successfully process low-dose biomolecules..

A collaboration to engineer a novel protein nanopore for single molecule DNA sequencing applications
Michael Plevin, University of York working with Oxford Nanopore Technologies
Oxford Nanopore Technologies produce phone-sized DNA sequencer, in which DNA is sequenced as it passes through a motor protein-controlled nonopaore. We will determine whether recmoninant proteins native to heat-loving microbes can be engineered to improve the DNA reading capabilities of the sequencer.

Developing a novel fluorescence-based biopharmaceutical quality control technology
Christopher Pudney, University of Bath in collaboration with Bath ASU
We will develop a novel technology to accurately perform quality control on biopharmaceuticals. The technology is based on the quantification of the fluorescence edge shift phenomenon giving a library of spectroscopic fingerprints for different biopharmaceuticals, which accurately quantifies subtle changes to protein structure.

Predictive tools for folding-supportive sequence design spaces
Tobias von der Haar, University of Kent working with UCB Celltech
This project aims to test if it is possible to combine high yield and high activity during the production of cell-derived, protein-based pharmaceuticals. We will test whether tools to boost yield can be adapted to improve production of novel-format antibodies.

See below for BIVs that we have awarded in previous calls:

Five new proof of concept grants awarded

Congratulations to the awardees of the five proof of concept grants funded in our 2015 call:

Analysis of host cell protein impurities using in silico approaches
Lead applicant: Mark Wass, University of Kent; Industrial partner: Centre for Process Innovation
The presence of host cell proteins reduces the efficiency of the production of biologics, so it is essential that host cell proteins are eradicated from mAbs and that measures are taken to reduce the number and/or impact of host cell proteins. Yet there is no current resource that catalogues and records the occurrence and identification of host cell proteins and their interactions with process target proteins. Our work intends to develop a database of host cell protein data from several sources and investigate the use of bioinformatics methods to investigate the interactions of host cell proteins with biologics with the aim to understand these impurities and how to reduce them.

Molecular Imprinting for Sustainable Downstream Processing of Biopharmaceuticals
Applicants: Gyorgy Szekely, University of Manchester; Industrial partner: FujiFilm Diosynth Biotechnologies
The aim of this project is to make important paradigm shifts in the purification of
biopharmaceuticals by replacing the tedious chromatographic steps currently employed with a
single downstream operation unit. Molecularly imprinted membranes will be
prepared with specific recognition sites for biopharmaceuticals. These sites will bind and
protect certain parts of the crude biopharmaceutical whilst other parts are being transformed
or removed. Such simplification will result in sustainable industrial processes that offer high product purity and yield.

Hijacking intracellular storage bodies to create a novel mammalian cell-based expression system for the production of hard-to-express proteins.
Lead applicant: Marek Brzozowski, University of York
This project intends to develop a novel production system for difficult to express proteins that
will help to lower production costs and increase the range of proteins that can be exploited for industrial and academic uses. The key to our approach is to use an existing system of intracellular storage bodies, known as Weibel-Palade bodies that have a crucial role in the storage and controlled secretion of haemostatic proteins. Our intention is to show that we can hijack this already nature-tested packaging system and use it to form part of a novel protein expression system.

Expanding production time of mammalian cell cultures for biotechnological applications
Lead applicant: Martin Michaelis, University of Kent
Industrial partner: MedImmune
The aim of this proposal is to develop improved manufacturing processes for the production of biologics in mammalian cells. The concept is based on a compelling observation that cells infected with the human parasite Cryptosporidium survive about five times longer in the presence of the same amount of nutrients than non-infected cell cultures. Within this proposal, we will investigate the mechanisms underlying this enhanced longevity of Cryptosporidium-infected cell cultures. A reduction in the amount of nutrients and labour needed to produce biologics will in turn decrease the costs of biologics production.

Bioreactor design space identification with product quality constraints
Lead applicant: Cleo Kontoravdi, Imperial College London
Industrial partner: MedImmune
One of the biggest problems associated with the production of protein-based drugs is how to control which sugars — which greatly affect drug function — are attached to them. Current production methods yield drugs that exist in a non-homogeneous mix of glycoforms, and different glycoforms interact with the immune system in different ways. Our goal is to develop a cost-effective technology to determine the manufacturing conditions under which the desired glycoform profile can be produced. To do this we will use mathematical modelling to describe the interactions between the manufacturing conditions and the product glycoform.

“The BioProNET proof of concept scheme is very valuable for young scientists, especially to build their research confidence. Moreover, the quick turnover of the application is without any precedent, and makes doing science much more realistic.” Marek Brzozowski, University of York, who was awarded a grant with early career researcher Tim Ganderton.