Early in 2014, the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) ran a competition on behalf of Innovate UK to provide ten UK SMEs and RTOs with an opportunity to win a delegate pass to the European Federation for Industrial Biotechnology (EFIB 2014) plus the opportunity to display a poster on a high impact UK-Norway exhibition stand. Innovation Norway ran a parallel competition and in Autumn 2014 twenty SMEs and RTOs were on their way to France.
Showcasing UK-Norway opportunities
EFIB, with over 700 attendees, took place during the first ever European Biotech Week, 30 September to 2 October 2014 in Reims, France. This prestigious conference provided an excellent platform for the 20 innovative biotech companies* from the UK and Norway to showcase their technologies.
The UK-Norway exhibition stand was the most prominent exhibit in the hall and attracted significant footfall resulting in many fruitful discussions and new strategic connections. Both the posters and the exhibit were deemed a success by the participating organisations:
"The event overall was very useful for network and collaboration building," said Narinder Bains of SERE-Tech Innovation Ltd. "The exposure to IB organisations was important to boost our profile and credentials whist seeking new collaborative opportunities."
In addition to making over 125 new contacts, the participants were also able to benefit from attending conference sessions.
"Through this event we gained valuable understanding of the activities and opportunities in the Biotechnology sector that will help shape our business growth and development plans," said Edgar Blanco of Anaero Technology Ltd.
UK-Norway: Driving business innovation through strategic bilateral agreements
The advantages of UK-Norway collaborations also featured in the session on "Achieving global scale-up of the bio-based economy - a world tour," where Michelle Carter (Knowledge Transfer Network) gave a presentation on the outputs of the UK-Norway Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
With 77% of its land given over to agriculture and forestry, Norway is particularly keen to explore the market opportunities for renewable feedstocks. The readily available supply of fish co-products from its aquaculture industries also provides plenty of scope for further exploitation of renewable resources. The UK can offer a strong research base in Industrial Biotechnology (IB) and has many businesses interested in generating new values chains from IB. Through the UK-Norway MoU, which was signed by Innovate UK and Innovation Norway in 2011, the two countries have been able to jointly identify opportunities and synergies. The formation of new strategic partnerships has resulted in the development of greener technologies and significant economic benefits for both countries.
Bilateral collaborations have been stimulated through 37 events and study tours and 11 co-funded feasibility projects. A total investment of £3.4M by the UK and Norway in collaborative projects is on course to deliver over £100M in return through the development of a variety of new or significantly improved products, services & processes, new patent applications, and the creation of new jobs.
Michelle said "Bilateral agreements offer enormous opportunities by combining national strengths & a common goal to address specific challenges at a manageable scale."
UK-Norway case studies
High value products from salmon co-products
A collaboration between Biomega (Norway) and CPI (UK) received funding to explore the commercial viability of a peptone isolated from Norwegian salmon co-products. The peptone proved to be a successful media by supporting the growth of industry relevant microbes such as E. coli and P. pastoris, and enzyme yields were
much higher when compared
with industry standard peptones. Fermentation was successfully transferred from laboratory to 750l scale, demonstrating the peptone's viability in supporting large-scale production of commercially important enzymes such as proteases. The partners anticipate launching this salmon derived peptone on the market in 2016/17, and predict a peak market potential of £20M. Click here to download the full case study.
Developing greener structurants for the home & personal care market
Borregaard (Norway), Croda (UK) and Unilever (UK) came together to develop greener structurants for the home and personal care markets, by replacing a bleach reaction with a green chemistry alternative. The new technology allowed Unilever to improve the quality of their existing products and services and has already been launched on the market. In addition to a predicted peak market potential of over £20M, this joint research has also resulted in 8 patents (2 pending), cost savings, and new jobs.
Producing high value cosmetic ingredients from microalagae
Cosmeceuticals are cosmetic products containing active ingredients that are thought to have beneficial effects such as anti-aging and antioxidant. GlycoMar Limited (UK) and MicroA AS (Norway) were funded to perform a feasibility study in which they tested a scaled down version of a full production line for producing bioactive poly-saccharides synthesized by microalgae, and explored opportunities for sustainable, high quality, and high volume production. Following encouraging results the partners are now moving towards commercialisation of a high value skincare ingredient derived from a marine microalga, with a predicted annual market potential of £5-20M. Click here to download the full case study.
Merlin Goldman (Innovate UK ): Merlin.Goldman@innovateuk.gov.uk
Michelle Carter (KTN): Michelle.Carter@ktn-uk.org
Ole Jorgen Marvik (Innovation Norway): Ole.Jorgen.Marvik@innovasjonnorge.no
Marit Somerfelt Valseth (Innovation Norway): Marit.Valseth@innovasjonnorge.no
Ernst Kloosterman (Industrial Biotechnology Network Norway): Ernst@indbiotech.no
Susanne Werner (Industrial Biotechnology Network Norway): Susanne@indbiotech.no
* The companies who took part in the UK-Norway Exhibition at EFIB 2014 were:
1. Anaero Technology Ltd (UK)
2. Barentzymes (Norway)
3. BioProtein (Norway)
4. Biorenewables Development Centre (UK)
5. CelluComp Ltd (UK)
6. Chain Biotechnology Ltd (UK)
7. DUE MILJØ (Norway)
8. Fiberight (UK)
9. GlycoMar Ltd (UK)
10. Ingenza Ltd (UK)
11. MicroA AS (Norway)
14. Norilia (Norway)
15. Nutrimar (Norway)
16. PFI (Norway)
17. SERE-Tech Innovation Ltd (UK)
18. Synthace Ltd (UK)
19. TerraVerdae Bioworks (UK)
20. TuniChor (Norway)