Deep Biotech companies using engineering biology for good: Epoch Biodesign case study

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Featured in BIA's Deep Biotech report, Epoch Biodesign aims to revolutionize plastic waste management by creating tailor-made enzymes that efficiently depolymerize a wide range of plastics into recyclable materials, offering a circular solution to tackle plastic pollution and promote sustainability.


What does the company do? 

Epoch Biodesign is emerging as a pioneer in the field of engineered biology, aiming to transform the way they manage and utilise plastic waste. Through innovative enzyme engineering, the company is developing a game-changing solution that tackles the root causes of plastic pollution by building an economical, scalable recycling route for complex waste that currently has no end-of-life solution, other than landfill or incineration, paving the way for a more sustainable future.

Epoch Biodesign’s core biorecycling technology revolves around the creation of tailor-made enzymes, meticulously engineered using AI and a unique knowledge of biochemistry to transform different types of plastic waste. These nanoscale biomachines possess remarkable specificity and efficiency and are capable of depolymerising a wide range of polymers into recycled plastics and circular chemicals with applications across a range of industries.

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What is the impact?

Epoch Biodesign’s approach offers a truly circular solution. Unlike conventional methods of plastic processing or advanced recycling technologies, enzymatic recycling can be run at low temperatures and pressures, and without the use of toxic catalysts, significantly reducing processing energy and environmental impact. By unlocking the value of plastic waste, the company aims to divert it from disposal and convert it into valuable feedstock for the production of new plastics, textiles, and other hydrocarbon-derived circular chemicals and products.

How do we drive forward the biorevolution in the UK?

Biology is a strength of the UK. Epoch Biodesign is an example of an engineering biology firm scaling up, using UK talent and UK knowledge. Epoch Biodesign are driving investment and development within the engineering biology space in the UK. They are currently a growing team of 25, and their next big development is plans to build a pilot facility. They are also looking overseas for opportunities to sell their products and develop capacity.

What are the opportunities and challenges?

While the company faces the usual technical and R&D challenges associated with scaling up new technologies, Epoch Biodesign is particularly focused on securing sustained funding. The upfront costs required for enzyme engineering research and manufacturing facility construction pose a unique barrier to scale-up.

Despite these challenges, Epoch Biodesign remains optimistic about the future. The company is actively progressing partnerships with investors, industry players, and regulatory bodies to accelerate the commercialisation of its technology. With the growing global momentum for sustainable solutions, Epoch Biodesign is well-positioned to make a substantial impact on the fight against plastic pollution and contribute to the transition towards a circular economy.


 

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