GE Healthcare

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UCL Biochemical Engineering and GE Healthcare have been working closely together in a number of ways thanks to the drive and enthusiasm of UCL EngD alumnus,  Dr Naveraj Gill, who is now a ReadyToProcess Product Specialist within GE Healthcare.

EPSRC Manufacturing Fellowship Award

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The Department of Biochemical Engineering has won one of only four pilot EPSRC Manufacturing Fellowships awarded to Dr Ajoy Velayudhan to work with Prof Nigel Titchener-Hooker. Over the five year appointment it is hoped to establish, in the UK, a new area of interdisciplinary research in the rational design of processes for the cost-effective manufacture of therapeutic proteins. Dr Velayudhan has an established academic as well as industrial track record in the USA and will be joining UCL in the Autumn. The success is particularly important to the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Emergent Macromolecular Therapies as it increases the breadth of the studies that can be explored and the range of industry partners who will join the consortium.


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 The British Regen Industry Tool Set (BRITS) is an industry driven project aimed at establishing reliable market data and creating both detailed bioprocess economics models and higher level business models for integration into a highly valuable and timely set of decisional tools. The individual components will themselves be highly novel, and the final integrated tool set will be a major step change for the cell therapy industry. BRITS will encompass the entire supply chain. This will including direct links through the main innovation routes available within the NHS. Via its wider business benefit activities BRITS will interact with all the UK stakeholders to facilitate the uptake of the outputs of the project and build and maintain the vital linkages between the diverse stakeholders in order to promote the joined-up approach that will be required if the UK is to be at the international forefront of cell therapy, not just scientifically but also commercially.

EPSRC Global Engagement Grant with India

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The potential and promise of India as a hub for low-cost manufacture of complex biological products such as vaccines is being realised. Today, one of every two children in the world is immunised with a vaccine manufactured in India. It is to this purpose that the Department has received funding from the EPSRC to engage with industry and academic groups in India working in the field of vaccine development and manufacture. The scope is to develop closer ties through joint research ventures and secondment opportunities. In January 2013 we are planning a three month research exchange of two of our researchers and will host two Indian researchers at UCL. Later in March/April 2013 we are planning to deliver a Vaccine Development training event in India. The Department has already delivered a very successful Vaccine Development MBI training course and seeks to deliver an abridged version of the course to Indian biotech and academic institutions. Attendance will be open to all and UK/EU/US companies can use this opportunity to network with a wider audience in India and raise their profile abroad.

New Directions for UCL Biocatalysis Research

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 The growing interest in sustainable production of chemicals and pharmaceuticals is a key strategic driver for UCL biocatalysis research. A new £1.1M grant from the BBSRC Integrated Biorefining Research and Technology Club (IBTI Club) provides added impetus for our work in this area. Distillers dried grain and solubles (DDGS) is a by-product from distilleries and breweries which currently has some value as a ruminant feed. However, with the dramatic increase in DDGS production expected as a result of “first generation” biofuel production facilities now under construction in the UK, there is a need to find new ways to upgrade and add value to the various components of DDGS. The new IBTI grant focusses on the selective fractionation of the carbohydrate and protein fractions of DDGS and their bioconversion into added value products. The UCL work will focus on the selective release of the protein fraction (Prof John Ward)and the creation of ultra scale-down methods to investigate DDGS fractionation (Prof Gary Lye). The grant links UCL with Prof David Leak (University of Bath) who will investigate utilisation of the carbohydrate fraction, Dr Regina Santos (University of Birmingham) who will investigate DDGS fractionation using Super Critical CO2 methods and Dr Caroline Rymer (University of Reading) who will examine the nutritional value of the DDGS remaining after fractionation and conversion.

SME Engagement: Immbio Case Study

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 ImmunoBiology Ltd (ImmBio) is a Cambridge-based SME company, working to develop novel anti-infective vaccines addressing areas of high unmet need. The company’s pipeline is based on two distinct technology platforms. The first, ImmBioVax™, replicates the innate stage of the immune response to safely create protection and contains antigens, heat shock proteins and antigenic proteins complexed to heat shock proteins. The second, ImmunoBodies™, consists of an antibody Fc-antigen fusion protein approach. Both technology platforms target antigen delivery to the dendritic cells of the immune system, which play a critical role in generating the immune responses necessary for successful protection against infectious agents. Rapid development of cost-effective, viable production processes is critical for the success of a biotechnology development organisation and particularly so for vaccine production. This need drove ImmBio’s initial collaboration with the ACBE, a joint Technology-Strategy-Board-funded project (Manufacture of low cost, high-efficacy vaccines) with Professor Mike Hoare. This project uses ACBE ultra scale-down (USD) approaches to predict process at scale for future ImmunoBody vaccines. The collaboration provided ImmBio with an introduction to the broad range of ACBE courses and collaborative opportunities open to Biotech Companies.

IChemE Award

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PRESS RELEASE 3 November 2011

UCL Biochemical Engineering has won a coveted prize at the prestigious IChemE Awards for Innovation and Excellence 2011. The Education and Training Award was for the development of the Modular training for the Bioprocess Industries (MBI®).

Initiated  in 1994 by a pump-priming BBSRC grant, the programme offers a unique blend of expert lectures supported by detailed case studies all run in the state-of-the-art facilities of the Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering. This combination of teaching in world class facilities by internationally recognised experts enables delegates to turn life science discoveries into new medicines, therapies or sustainable bioprocesses. To date over 1,200 modules have been delivered to over 750 delegates from over 250 companies world-wide.

"MBI® is a true flagship activity which involves the whole department and creates significant benefits for our full time students at all levels as well as providing crucial Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for the industrial delegates. This award is testament to the total commitment made to the creation and constant development of the programme and to the clear impact that it has made in the sector.  Coupled with the IChemE prize for Innovationa & Excellence in Bioprocessing awarded to the BiCE programme in 2010 it underlines the importance we place at UCL in understanding the big industry questions and in addressing them in a fundamental and strategic fashion," said Professor Nigel Titchener-Hooker, Head of Dept of Biochemical Engineering, UCL after the award.

The MBI® modules are delivered by departmental staff, as part of their normal teaching duties, and by a range of external experts who in particular provide industry case studies and perspectives. Undergraduates, MSc and PhD students and the large cohort of EngDs from the department’s IDTC all benefit from key training elements of the programme and very tangibly from the investments in infrastructure it has enabled. Most recently the MBI® programme has been supplemented by VISION, a programme focussed on the needs of senior executives in the life-science business sector. This is now providing a growing interface with MBI®, creating a continuum for post-experience education and development.

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