New biocatalysis centre
Wilton – The UK has established a test bed for developing cleaner and more sustainable biotech-based processes, the National Industry Biotechnology Facility (NIBF) in Wilton. The a17 million facility is sited at the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), which is set up in former ICI labs. The NIBF is a not-for-profit facility that aims to allow academics and companies to assess whether their new ideas will work as well on a commercial scale as they do on the bench. “What we do here is very much the early stage research and discovery of novel biocatalysts”, said Nick Turner, Director of the Centre of Excellence for Biocatalysis, Biotransformation and Biocatalytic Manufacture (CoEBio3), which is integrally linked with the NIBF. Both institutes bring together a core group of about 200 researchers at UK universities. “The idea was to link in with a facility that had scale-up capability. We work with the NIBF on projects to bring in industrial customers, based on what we call the genes to kilos concept”, Turner continued. NIBF is the only open-access biotech center to test the feasibility of ideas in the UK. Current clients include London-based GlaxoSmithKline, Ingenza of Midlothian and Scottish Aquapharm. The center is also open for international cooperations on an open-access level.