New Industrial Biotechnology Strategy launched to secure UK leadership in clean growth

Today the Industrial Biotechnology Leadership Forum (IBLF) launches the new ‘National Industrial Biotechnology Strategy to 2030’, promoted in partnership with the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA). The Strategy has been developed by the IBLF and two collaborative networks in industrial biotech, CBMNet and BIOCATNET.

The ‘National Industrial Biotechnology Strategy to 2030’ aims to ensure that the UK becomes a leader in the global shift towards clean growth by fostering the development of industrial biotech SMEs. It will be launched at an event in Parliament on Wednesday 6 June organised by the BIA and hosted by Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge. The event brings together industry, academia and policymakers to discuss how the UK industrial biotech sector can solve many environmental problems by promoting clean growth and reducing waste, such as oil-based plastics by creating biodegradable alternatives.

The Strategy will be implemented in three phases with actions across seven themes:

  1.        External environment – to achieve consensus on a consistent long-term policy landscape that supports industrial biotech
  2.        Funding and access to finance – leading to a supportive financial environment that recognises the potential of IB for driving growth and innovation
  3.         Infrastructure and regional footprint – ensuring that industrial biotech is a major contributor to clean economic growth across all of the UK
  4.        Trade, investment and commercialisation – positioning the UK as an international industrial biotech innovation and commercialisation hub
  5.        Regulations and standards – making certain that UK frameworks are recognised as robust and support risk aware innovation
  6.        Skills – fostering the skills required by industry to make sure that the industrial biotech sector is recognised as an attractive career option
  7.        Communication –  promoting one IB community voice, with consistent clear messages, where wider society is well informed and supportive of Responsible Research and Innovation in industrial biotech

These actions aim to place industrial biotech at the core of the UK Industrial Strategy and the Bioeconomy Strategy, embedding industrial biotech products and processes at the heart of a future high technology economy, driving clean growth and national prosperity.

Steve Bagshaw, CEO of Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies and Chair of the IBLF, said: “The Strategy describes the vision of the UK industrial biotech community, driven by the IBLF; in harnessing the world-class science we have in the UK in order to enable industrial biotech to become a mainstream part of UK industry. Through industrial biotech we can find sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels for the production of everyday chemicals, materials and energy, as well as delivering new functionalities and benefits. Industrial biotech is the only way to manufacture unique biopharmaceuticals. These help tackle serious illness such as cancer and infectious diseases. Industrial biotech can mitigate climate change through the development of greener, cleaner manufacturing processes, as well as offering opportunities for waste utilisation and new products that benefit society that cannot be made any other way.”

Dr Tim Fell, CEO of Synthace and Chair of BIA’s Engineering Biology Advisory Committee, said: “It is fantastic to see the publication of the Strategy, which will act as a catalyst for the growth of UK’s industrial biotech sector. Synthetic biology is a key enabler of industrial biotech and the two share many of the same opportunities and challenges. The BIA’s Engineering Biology Advisory Committee is at the heart of the UK’s thriving sector, bringing together companies working at the interface of synthetic biology and industrial biotech to develop innovative technologies for a healthier and environmentally sustainable society. The Strategy highlights the importance of industry and government working together to achieve this common goal.”

Steve Bates OBE, CEO of BIA, said: “Industrial biotech plays a key role in societal goals like helping eliminate avoidable plastic waste which David Attenborough’s TV programme Blue Planet 2 has brought to recent public attention. The BIA is delighted that today’s strategy showcases UK entrepreneurs unleashing the innovation that will provide not only a cleaner, greener Britain but also prosperity for the next generation. This sector is key to developing the technologically and economically practical innovation needed to deliver the environmental objectives of the UK government.”

Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, said: “It is crucial that as we plan for the future, we make sure that clean growth is at the heart of our development strategies. Clean growth is central to making an industry or business sustainable, so it is excellent that industrial biotech has focused on this. My constituency, Cambridge, is an international innovation hub for this sector and has fantastic clean tech; local bioindustry recognises the importance of reducing waste. I look forward to seeing how we can become cleaner and greener in the future.”

Paul Mines, CEO of Biome Bioplastics, said: “The current scale of oil-based plastic waste is no longer acceptable to UK consumers. Bioplastics offer a viable and responsible alternative, however, they only account for a fraction of today’s plastic production. Industrial biotechnology provides the underpinning science that will unlock improved material performance and use of bio-based inputs leading to widespread use of the next generation of bio-based and biodegradable plastics. The Strategy announced today provides a framework for industrial biotechnology in the UK that will allow SME’s, like Biome Bioplastics, to play their part in the clean growth agenda by growing fast whilst reducing waste.”

ENDS

Note to editors 

The full “National Industrial Biotechnology Strategy to 2030” is available on the BIA website

Contact:

Ed Sexton, Communications and Media Relations Manager, BIA esexton@bioindustry.org 0207 630 2196

About industrial biotechnology

Industrial biotech is the use of biological resources for producing and processing materials, chemicals and energy. Through these new methods, it can address major societal and environmental challenges, such as our reliance on non-degradable plastics.

The sector currently employs 14,000 people in the UK and generates £3.7bn in revenue, with the potential to disrupt international markets worth over $34bn.

About the BIA

Established over 25 years ago at the infancy of biotechnology, the BioIndustry Association (BIA) is the trade association for innovative enterprises involved in UK bioscience. Members include emerging and more established bioscience companies; pharmaceutical companies; academic, research and philanthropic organisations; and service providers to the bioscience sector. The BIA represents the interests of its members to a broad section of stakeholders, from government and regulators to patient groups and the media. Our goal is to secure the UK's position as a global hub and as the best location for innovative research and commercialisation, enabling our world-leading research base to deliver healthcare solutions that can truly make a difference to people's lives.   

For further information, please go to www.bioindustry.org and twitter.com/BIA_UK

About the IBLF

The IBLF brings industry together with other critical stakeholders from funding bodies & government, to help the UK realise industrial biotech’s £12bn market potential.

About CBMNet and BIOCATNET

The ‘Crossing biological membranes’ network at Sheffield is designed to foster collaborations between academia, industry, policy makers and NGOs in order to find new approaches to tackle research challenges, translate research and deliver key benefits in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy. The multi-disciplinary network drives new ideas to harness the potential of biological resources for producing and processing materials, biopharmaceuticals, chemicals and energy. They are working to understand the mechanisms by which substances are transported into, within, and out of cell factories, which will lead to the development of enabling technologies that are crucial for the future of almost all cell-based IBBE applications.

BIOCATNET is the network in Biocatalyst Discovery, Development, and Scale up, driving development of biocatalytic technologies for the manufacturing industries. By fostering a collaborative community drawing in expertise from academia, industry, research organisations, and policy makers, the network aims to drive translation of world class research science into sustainable, low-carbon products and processes.  

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