UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


Biochemical Engineering researchers win EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account grant

17 May 2016

HEFCE Enterprise Fellows Dr Andrea Rayat and Dr Alex Chatel together with Prof. Gary J Lye, from the Department of Biochemical Engineering, won an EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account grant (IAA) for their project on “Establishing a market ready Ultra Scale-Down shear device (‘kompAs’) for accelerating biomanufacturing development”. 

The Ultra Scale-Down (USD) approach is pioneered in the UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering within the EPSRC Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre (IMRC) in bioprocessing. It is a novel method to gain biomanufacturing insights from laboratory experiments, and helps speed up the development of robust production process for new biological therapeutics. USD technologies have the ability to mimic larger scale bioprocess performance in experimental devices using only millilitre quantities of process material. The USD shear device, known as ‘kompAs’, is the enabler of the USD approach and is key in the application of the USD technologies.

The enterprise fellows established the value of the USD technologies and the steps required for commercialisation as part of their work on the bioprocess element of a HEFCE Catalyst Fund award (Critical Interventions in the UK Life Sciences Value Chain, PI Gary Lye).  The EPSRC IAA award they won will now address the next crucial step identified by end-users: the design and supply of industry-standard devices for full technical and commercial evaluation. To ensure product regulatory conformance they will work to achieve the CE Mark (European Conformity) for the EU market, and the FCC Mark (Federal Communications Commission) and CB certification (Certified Body) for the US market.

Commenting on this award, Prof. Lye said:

“Andrea and Alex have really moved this technology towards commercialisation over the last couple of years. It’s great to now see that they have achieved grant funding success to get them over the final hurdle and trial the devices with leading end user companies”

Dr Alex Chatel, Enterprise Fellow in Bioprocessing, added:

“This award will be to help us bridge the gap between the final stages of product development and reaching the market. Specifically, the funds will help to complete improvements in the design with user-interaction and regulatory compliance in mind, as well as to gain CE-marked status, thus allowing the technology to be launched commercially.”

Dr Andrea Rayat, Senior Enterprise Fellow in Bioprocessing:

I am very pleased we got this award. The market-ready devices we will produce through this project will help facilitate our knowledge and technology transfer activities to bring the benefits of the ultra scale-down devices to industry. We look forward to working with our partner end-users.

For more information on USD tech transfer activities: