SynBICite - Innovation and Knowledge Centre in Synthetic Biology - 24 month review

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Bioengineering

Abstract

Synthetic biology is a new and exciting research field that brings together biological scientists and engineers with the aim of developing new ways to build and alter biological systems and cells. Biological cells can perform a vast array of activities driven by instructions, which are encoded by DNA. This DNA makes up the cells genome, which act as a blueprint for different types of cells and is composed of four complementary chemical building blocks called nucleotides (G, C, A and T) linked together in a sequence. The beauty of DNA is that these building blocks pair up specifically (G-C and A-T) thus the DNA template can be easily copied and replicated. The instructions encoded in DNA are translated specifically into an array of large molecules called proteins, which act as the engines of the cell performing all the necessary functions for cells to live divide and grow e.g. the conversion of food sources like sugar into energy. Over the last 20 years advances in our ability to 'read' DNA has resulted in the complete genome sequences of a variety of living organisms including humans. These sequences encode the basic instruction parts for that specific organism. More recent advances in the chemical synthesis of DNA, has resulted in our increasing ability to 'write' DNA. Synthetic biology therefore aims to provide an engineering framework that allows researchers to design and write DNA tailored to specific applications such that these new synthetic DNA sequences can be placed in cells to perform specific human defined functions. One overarching aim at present is to develop a series of foundational techniques in synthetic biology such as assembling complex DNA components, characterising the instruction parts in detail and computer modelling of more complex DNA designs such that these can be applied to different applications. One overarching concept for synthetic biology is the development of standard DNA components that can used in an engineering 'design, build and test' cycle to create new biological systems and cells that display defined and predictable functions.
Many researchers, policy makes and national governments anticipate that synthetic biology will provide a range of benefits to society in different industrial sectors including human health; agriculture and food production; environmental protection and remediation; bioenergy and chemical. To accelerate the translation of synthetic biology technology to new applications we propose to establish a national UK Innovation and Knowledge Centre in synthetic biology with three main objectives:
(1) To act as an industrial translation engine, which translates university and industry based research in synthetic biology into industrial process and products
(2) To be an effective vehicle for the support of small to medium sized UK companies including Startups in synthetic biology
(3) To actively engage in open dialogue with the public and other stakeholders focusing on the risks and benefits of synthetic biology technologies.
The SYNBICITE aims to place the UK as one of the World's leaders in translating academic synthetic biology research into new products and process but under the framework of 'Responsible Innovation' where the public worth and potential risks of specific applications are considered before such applications are implemented or even reach the market. Such an approach will establish new sustainable synthetic biology industries in the UK, allow other non-UK companies to invest in the UK and develop a skilled workforce in synthetic biology all of which will ultimately lead to new economic growth.

Planned Impact

A number of international bodies including the British Government, the United States Government, the EC and the OECD are predicting that synthetic biology will have a very significant impact on the economy, growth and jobs over the coming years. In a policy statement in 2012, Vince cable, the Business Secretary [Minister] stated that the "Government has identified synthetic biology as one of the three technologies important to growth over the next 20 years".
The aim of the proposed SynbiCITE is to perform the important function of academic and business integration by creating an Industrial Translation Engine. The objective is for the SynbiCITE to create an effective mechanism to bridge the gap between university-based research and industrial processes to create products and jobs, through industry, for the benefit of the UK economy. The UK has a strong academic science and engineering base. Our plan for the SynbiCITE is designed to support existing and new companies to grow the UK sector in line with the international economic predictions for synthetic biology.
Since the SynbiCITE is funded through public money, we will seek to demonstrate substantial, positive academic, economic, environmental and societal impact. We will also develop the skills base in synthetic biology by educating a significant number of highly qualified staff. In the first year of the SynbiCITE, the objective is that SynbiCITE will become a nationally recognised centre with global reach, building towards critical mass. From the first year, significant number of projects will be passing through the industrial translation engine - some, producing prototypes for test and pilot production. These and others will have a large number of patents and associated IP - with a number of companies benefitting. Over the initial 5 years we expect the SynbiCITE to have significant impact in the following areas:
(i) New synthetic biology processes and products in industry (in existing and new companies)
(ii) An improved understanding of the ethical, legal and regulatory impact of synthetic biology - and an accepted framework for Responsible Innovation for emerging technologies
(iii) A significant number of new UK jobs generated
(iv) An enhanced UK skills base - academic and industrial - in synthetic biology
(v) A larger portfolio of successful SMEs and start-ups - generating substantial turnover
(vi) The UK recognised as one of the international leaders in synthetic biology (academic and industrial)
(vii) New environmentally friendly processes to develop "green products"
(viii) A positively engaged public, and wider stakeholder engagement
(ix) Increased industrial funding for synthetic biology
Ultimately SYNBICITE will show its full impact through growing a significant income-generating industry for the benefit of the UK.
 
Description Key findings
The scheme of creating and using the three hub model has proved to be highly successful in supporting the growth of start-ups and SMEs.


The impact of the three-hub model in relation to its use by companies is shown below. The companies listed are all used aspects of the model. They have uniformly commented that SynbiCITE and its programme has been highly beneficial in terms of the growth of the company.
Companies that have received major support are: Aborea; Bento Bio; Biotangents; BlueGene Tech; Cagen; Chain Biotech; Colorifix; Puraffinity; Enzbond; Genowe; LabGenius; Linear Diagnostics; Morph Bioinformatics; Nanotether Discovery; Nuclera Nucleics; Prokarium ; Quethera; Singer Instruments; SynbiStrain; Synthace and Videra Bio
Other companies we have supported are Agilent; BioMinOx; Causeway Sensors; Croda; CyBio; Entomics; Generon; GLT; GSK; Helixworks Technology; Hypha Discovery; Invista; Ionosolv/Chrysalix Tech; LabCyte and Waters
We have had 19 companies use our BioFoundry facilities. We had 21 companies attend the launchPad/Biostart accelerator. Funded 19 PoC/DoP projects and run 5 4-day MBA.
The impact of the three-hub model in relation to its use by universities is shown below. The universities listed have all used aspects of the model. They have uniformly commented that SynbiCITE and its programme has been highly beneficial in terms of their R&D programmes.
Aberystwyth; Anglia Ruskin; Aston; Bristol; Brunel; Cambridge; Cardiff; Edinburgh; Exeter; Glasgow; Imperial College; Kingston; London Met; Manchester; Newcastle; Nottingham; NU Singapore; Oslo; Oxford; Queens Belfast; Strathclyde; TU-Delft; Ulster; Worcester; York
3 of the Universities have used the BioFoundry facilities, 25 have attended our Lean LaunchPad/Biostart accelerator, with 6 PoC/DoP projects funded and 11 attended our 4-day MDA
Exploitation Route We had further funding see SynbiCITE 2.0 (EPS001859/1)
Sectors Environment,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

URL http://www.synbicite.com
 
Description The primary objective of SynbiCITE was and is to perform the important function of academic and business integration through an effective industrial translation engine. The overall aim was and is to bridge the gap between university-based research and industrial processes to create high quality products and jobs, through UK industry for the benefit of the UK economy. We have addressed this objective by creating a SynbiCITE infrastructure that comprises three hubs of activity: a science, engineering, BioDesign and Applications Hub; a Business Outreach Hub; and a Facilities Hub. • The work of the Science, Engineering, BioDesign and Applications Hub comprises the development of projects and companies through a project pipeline that consists of four stages: Proof of Concept, Development Project - phase 1, Development Project - Phase 2, and a full industrial translation phase. • The Facilities Hub comprises two aspects. The first of these is the provision of a range of equipment for the use of companies, as well as academics. During Tranche 2 we created a facility, which is now called the London Biofoundry. This fully automated biofoundry, available to both companies and academics, is highly automated and comprises three separate areas: a characterisation hub, an assembly hub and a liquid handling hub. This is coupled to the availability of a number of staff scientists whose job it is to support the work of academics and companies. In addition, there is a separate Mass Spec facility, which is funded separately, and resides in the Agilent Suite in the Chemistry Building, immediately adjacent to SynbiCITE. • The Business and Outreach Hub provides a series of courses. A 4-Day MBA. The course covers the basics of starting and running a company - including how to write a business plan, basic finance essentials (such as cash flow), how to present a pitch etc. The other main course is the Lean LaunchPad Course. This is a customer facing course that comprises 12 weeks of activity. The basic scenario is that a company attending the course is in an advanced stage of product development. The course enables the company to test the market by speaking to potential customers and modifying their product accordingly. There are weekly meetings with mentors.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Environment,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Other
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Scottish Industrial Biotechnology Development Group
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact The plan aims to increase turnover from £190M to £900M by 2025, through industrial growth and development, use of Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) and development of key skills. Dr John Collins - Commercial Director - is part of this group, which is part of Scottish Enterprise.
 
Description UK Synthetic Biology Strategic Plan 2016 - Biodesign for the Bioeconomy.
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact Minister for Life Sciences George Freeman MP visited SynbiCITE at Imperial College London, the UK innovation and knowledge centre for synthetic biology, on 24th February 2016 to announce the release of the UK Synthetic Biology Strategic Plan 2016 - Biodesign for the Bioeconomy. This strategic plan, published by the Synthetic Biology Leadership Council (SBLC), aims to accelerate the commercialisation of synthetic biology products and services with clear public benefit, building upon the strength of the UK research base. It focuses on five key areas of strategic importance: Accelerating industrialisation and commercialisation Maximising the capability of the innovation pipeline Building an expert workforce Developing a supportive business environment, and Building value from national and international partnerships. It builds on the recommendations made in the Synthetic Biology Roadmap for the UK, which was first published by Innovate UK in 2012. The roadmap led directly to major funding and policy activities, including the establishment of new synthetic biology research centres, the Innovation and Knowledge Centre at SynbiCITE, DNA synthesis facilities, training centres and a seed fund for innovative companies. In addition, the Synthetic Biology Leadership Council (SBLC) was founded to manage the continued growth of this field. During 2015, the Synthetic Biology Leadership Council (SBLC) consulted a broad cross-section of businesses and the research community to develop this new strategic plan, building upon the successes of the 2012 roadmap.
URL https://connect.innovateuk.org/documents/2826135/31405930/BioDesign+for+the+Bioeconomy+2016+DIGITAL+...
 
Company Name Chain Biotech: The Clostridia Technology Company 
Description CHAIN Biotechnology was founded in 2014, by serial entrepreneur Dr Edward Green, to exploit the therapeutic potential of Clostridia bacteria found in the human gut microbiome. CHAIN has built an impressive technical team of molecular biology, microbiology, microbiome and fermentation specialists focused on the biotechnology development of Clostridia. In addition, CHAIN leverages synthetic biology expertise from the Synthetic Biology Research Centre at the University of Nottingham. CHAIN has developed a proprietary microbial platform for drug delivery. The platform builds on core engineering skills and involves the development and use of engineered Clostridia to deliver specific therapeutics to the gut. CHAIN's Clostridium Assisted Drug Delivery (CADD™) delivery platform is highly differentiated and supports a therapeutic product pipeline for a wide range of clinical indications including localised infection, inflammation and CNS signalling. Our lead asset is an engineered strain that secretes a novel and potent anti-inflammatory molecule targeting Inflammatory Bowel Disease, a chronic gut disease affecting millions worldwide. 
Year Established 2014 
Impact SynbiCITE provided the critical logistical and financial support in the early stages of the company's development. CHAIN Biotech was able to participate in SynbiCITE's Lean LaunchPad for Synthetic Biology, a 10-week programme which teaches the participants how to develop a reproducible and scalable business model through customer discovery. The programme exposes those taking part to the realities of a start-up, allowing them to fail repeatedly and quickly until a working business model is established. Experienced entrepreneurs and investors provide the faculty that run the programme. Mentors and advisors support the would-be entrepreneurs taking part in the programme, with weekly meetings and workshops. In addition CHAIN Biotech's Business Development manager was able to take part in the SynbiCITE organised 4 day MBA programme, part of the many ongoing programmes to provide business training and personnel development to our partners CHAIN Biotech was also the recipient of two SynbiCITE PoC grants for the Novel Biological Production Routes for High Value Chemicals and Model Driven Engineering of Clostridium. CHAIN Biotech has been located at SynbiCITE for over 12 months and has been able to benefit with access to laboratory/office space and supported by state of the art analytical equipment. The location at Imperial College and the Synthetic Biology Research Hub also provides useful academic interactions and networking opportunities. Outcomes: During the Industrial Biotechnology Showcase in London in February 2015 CHAIN Biotech was awarded IBLF's 'Most Promising SME' prize. The IBLF is an industry led and Government sponsored initiative to drive a bio-economy in the UK. In late 2015 CHAIN closed an initial seed funding round and appointed an experienced Chairman and made further board appointments. The Company continues to rapidly expand with new hires and expanding its research with new laboratory space at Nottingham University's Synthetic Biology Research Centre.
Website https://chainbiotech.com/
 
Company Name LabGenius 
Description LabGenius has developed EVA - an autonomous AI-driven evolution engine for the discovery of high-value protein components. The company uses its platform technology to develop new products in partnership with world-leading multinationals. LabGenius is based in Central London and run by a passionate team of synthetic biologists, data scientists and engineers. They engineer proteins with both enhanced and entirely novel functionality. The technology underpinning this capability integrates machine learning, gene synthesis and robotic automation. 
Year Established 2012 
Impact LabGenius was an early-stage biotech company with limited resources: SynbiCITE provided the critical logistical and financial support in the early stages of the company's development. LabGenius was given access to SynbiCITE's 2015 Lean Launchpad for synthetic biology, a 10-week programme which teaches participants how to develop a reproducible and scalable business model through customer discovery, run by experienced entrepreneurs and investors. The programme exposes those taking part to the realities of a start-up, allowing them to fail repeatedly and quickly until a working business model is established. Dr Field was also a recipient of a Synthetic Biology Leadership Excellence Accelerator Programme (SynBio LEAP) Fellowship awarded by SynbiCITE. The programme provides early career scientists with networking and mentoring opportunities across academic, industry, government, and public-benefit organizations. To further support the development of LabGenius' technology, SynbiCITE awarded a proof of concept grant and provided laboratory and office space, supported by state of the art analytical equipment. The location at Imperial College and the Synthetic Biology Research Hub also provides useful academic interactions and networking opportunities. SynbiCITE also provided networking support, securing LabGenius a place on a UK Technology Showcase to San Francisco, in partnership with UK Trade & Investment and the UK BioIndustry Association, giving LabGenius the opportunity to promote its technologies. LabGenius was also provided with introductions to find private (Angel) funding from investors. LabGenius has developed technology which, unlike traditional gene synthesis methods, bypasses the need for PCR and long-sequence hybridisation. Because of this, it is able to construct synthetic DNA libraries of greater complexity and size than any other commercial provider. LabGenius is able to synthesise 20x as many library designs as its nearest competitor for 1/4 of the price. In late 2015 LabGenius launched its first product: LabGene combinatorial libraries. In the time since, its product range has expanded to include more advanced combinatorial libraries, as well as scanning libraries. LabGenius' customers come from across the protein engineering spectrum, with prominent interest from antibody engineers and enzyme engineers. LabGenius will soon initiate a Series A funding round in order to expand its library synthesis capabilities and consolidate their position in the market
Website https://www.labgeni.us/
 
Description 4 Day MBA - Business Training - London 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Approx 32 post-graduate and post-doctoral students participate in the 4-day workshop to develop their business skills and consider how to form a biotech-based start-up business; using their newly-learned skills they had the opportunity to develop a business idea and pitch it to live investors. The course has generated considerable interest and runs off-site at other institutions, such as Bristol, Glasgow and Manchester. SynbiCITE has run a number of courses in London, and thus far there have been 176 participants and 7 spin-outs as a result.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016,2017
URL http://www.synbicite.com/knowledge/biotechnology-mba/
 
Description BioStart Competition 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Bio-start was launched in Sept 2016. Bio-start seeks applications that will enable the bioeconomy to grow and thrive, application areas can be in healthcare, agritech, clean tech, industrial biotech or any sector where engineering DNA is an essential component and makes use of synthetic biology. Applicants did not need to be a company to enter, although to receive the prize the must become solely incorporated in the UK. This has generated over 50 registrations of interest which resulted in 30 applications. 15 companies have now moved onto the second stage of the competition.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.bio-start.uk/
 
Description BioStart Competition Website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Bio-start is a not-for-profit competition open to all industries run by SynbiCITE. For companies looking to solve significant global problems through synthetic biology, For teams building early-stage companies on a firm commercial foundation with strong business acumen. For people looking to challenge themselves, working outside their comfort zone, and coming together with others in the fast paced startup environment to make a difference. The website advertised the competition with a 'register your interest' page. This resulted in over 50 registerations and 30+ applications for the competition.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.bio-start.uk/
 
Description DSTL Project Demonstration day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact SynbiCITE organise DSTL funded projects from Manchester, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Loughborough Universities. Each project is overseen by a DSTL theme expert in a programme led by Prof Petra Oyston and managed by Alison Gale, both from DSTL Porton Down. These projects, along with others funded, were presented at the DSTL Demo day.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description DSTL Technology showcase 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is committing up to £18 million over the next 4 years exploring the potential impact of synthetic biology on the UK's defence and security capabilities.

The government has identified synthetic biology as a key high-growth emerging technology. Synthetic biology has been described as the design and engineering of biologically based components, novel devices and systems as well as the redesign of existing, natural biological systems. It has the potential to deliver important new applications and improve existing industrial processes - resulting in economic growth and job creation.

Dstl's Prof Neil Stansfield says:

It is important that Dstl keeps abreast of such emerging technologies, ensuring that our armed forces can benefit from cutting-edge capability. Our programme champions innovation; and works with partners to explore and deliver exciting new technology opportunities for the security and prosperity of the UK.

Dstl is particularly interested in using synthetic biology to produce novel materials which might provide benefits such as enhanced ballistic protection and lightweight armour, or transparent screens and lenses which don't mist up. It is anticipated that within four years a new material for armour, or a new approach to existing materials at reduced cost, will be identified.

Dstl has been showcasing some of its work within the field of synthetic biology to suppliers at an event in Chicheley Hall in Buckinghamshire, including improved boron carbide armour and catalysts for fuel cells.

Attending the conference, Prof Lionel Clarke, Co-Chair of the UK's Synthetic Biology Leadership Council (SBLC) said:

Synthetic biology has the potential to generate innovative solutions to significant technological challenges, and in recent years the UK has invested effectively to support operations at its rapidly advancing leading edge. Events like this allow us to better understand the possibilities that are starting to present themselves, to identify opportunities for collaboration and to benefit more fully from its recent and future development.

Prof Tim Dafforn, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said:

This conference is a wonderful example of how government departments are working together with industry and academia, to take full advantage of synthetic biology technologies for the benefit of the UK. I look forward to seeing how work in this rapidly developing field progresses in the coming years.

The next phase of funding will be administered through Dstl's Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE). A themed competition looking for synthetic biology approaches to produce novel materials to address defence challenges will be briefed at a CDE Innovation Network event on 10 February 2016, and the projects selected will build upon Dstl's existing programme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017
URL https://www.gov.uk/government/news/developing-novel-materials-with-synthetic-biology
 
Description Francis Crick/Imperial College Translational Visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Crick's Translational Unit were shown how a national accelerator programme works, and focusses on a single area. They were also given a tour and a presentation on our Lean Canvas Model and Programme. This was part of a wider Imperial College visit.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Global Biofoundry meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A meeting was held at Imperial College London on June 21st/22nd 2018, which gathered fifteen[1]of the leading synthetic biology biofoundries from around the world to discuss current activities and exchange information on key capabilities and projects being developed by these groups.
The meeting explored opportunities for collaboration and coordination in areas for global development including standards, software, metrology, automation, and industrial translation. Delegates unanimously indicated a commitment to sharing pre-competitive knowledge and expertise that would collectively benefit the synthetic biology and broader biotechnology communities worldwide.
Interest in developing common protocols and standards, as well as standardised legal tools, to reduce the transaction costs of sharing were among the highlights of the two-day interactive meeting. Other areas of discussion included collective engagement with industry, governments, and other relevant organisations to achieve joint objectives, break down barriers to sharing and leverage interactive opportunities for growth. There was a general commitment to continue to explore the possibility of establishing a global alliance of synthetic biology biofoundries and to work together to define and agree on an operating model. As a starting point, an annual meeting was proposed as was the establishment of small working groups to develop specific areas for global development.
[1]1DOE Agile Biofoundry (US); DAMP, Boston University (US); SIAT Shenzhen (China) Foundry; Concordia University (Canada); Earlham Institute (UK); London DNA Foundry Imperial College (UK); Kobe University (Japan); Macquarie University (Australia); SynCTI NUS (Singapore); Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability DTU (Denmark); Tianjin University (China)l Edinburgh Genome Foundry (UK); BioFAB University of Illinois (US); GeneMill, University of Liverpool; SYNBIOCHEM University of Manchester (UK)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.synbicite.com/news-events/2018/jun/25/global-biofoundry-meeting-london-june-2018/
 
Description House of Lords Investor Breakfast 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Investor education for future business growth developing a synthetic biology industry in the UK
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://synbiobeta.com/conferences/synbiobeta-london-2016/
 
Description House of Lords Investor Breakfast 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The SynbiCITE House of Lords Investor Breakfast was kindly hosted by The Lord Willetts - who instigated the Government's '8 Great Technologies' programme to capitalise on backing the right technologies and helping to take them through to market, one of which is Synthetic Biology/Engineering Biology.
The aim of this international Investor Breakfast is part of our continued investor introductions to synthetic biology and fast growing synthetic biology/engineering biology companies looking for investment. SynbiCITE, the National Industrial Translation Centre for Synthetic Biology, continues to play an important role in growing the UK's BioEconomy and the wider economy.
The five companies who pitched were: Colorifix; LabGenius; Prokarium; Zentraxa and Customem.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.synbicite.com/news-events/2018/apr/25/synbicite-house-lords-investor-breakfast/
 
Description ICURe business accelerator programme 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The ICURe Innovation-to-Commercialisation programme, piloted by the SETsquared Partnership and funded by InnovateUK and HEFCE, offers university researchers with commercially-promising ideas up to £50k to 'get out of the lab' and validate their ideas in the marketplace.

"I thought I knew my target market for my technology. But this programme is helping our team gain real feedback from potential customers and is dramatically changing the way we view our approach to research commercialisation." - SETsquared ICURe Pilot Programme Participant

ICURe is a collaboration of the SETsquared Partnership, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), and Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board), designed to move ideas and innovation out of universities and into the marketplace, where they will have the greatest impact.

In 2016-17, the ICURe pilot (phase 2) focusses on commercially-promising research projects undertaken at SETsquared and invited universities. ICURe will fund teams to determine whether there is a market for products or services that utilise their research, and then, where there is evidence of market demand, licence or spin-out the research into a company.

Guidance for Applicants

ICURe will fund proposals to prove market demand for research with funding of up to £35k for the 3 month Market Validation stage, with an additional up to £15k available post initial 3 months, where applicable. Applications for the funding should be made by a team of 3 consisting of:

Junior Researcher (ECR)

Senior Researcher (Principal Investigator)

Business Adviser.

ICURe will support three months of full-time, intense market assessment where Junior Researchers take on the role of the Entrepreneurial Lead, engaging with prospective customers, partners and competitors, taking steps to validate the commercial potential of their research.

At the end of the 3 months, participating teams will present their opportunity to an options panel that will offer the team expert guidance on recommended development pathways. The options proposed can include carrying out further research, exploring licensing opportunities, seeking private funding for spin-out or, for those projects that have demonstrated strong market potential by the end of the market validation, the panel may recommend a commercial oppoirtunity exists. If this is the case, commercialisation staff from the universities, ICURe programme team members and university incubators, will work with each team so that they can be fast-tracked into creating a start-up company.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.setsquared.co.uk/research-commercialisation/applications-cohort-8-are-open
 
Description IP Masterclass with FieldFisher 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact SynbiCITE in association with leading European technology and life sciences focussed law firm FieldFisher ran an IP Masterclass for technology transfer offices (TTOs) at Universities working in synthetic biology and related fields, with academics, spin outs and start-ups. The aim of the masterclass was to encourage academics, potential university spin-outs and TTOs around the UK to better and more quickly exploit IP around synthetic biology so we can create more value in the UK from exploiting our worldclass R&D in synthetic biology from universities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Imperial College London IB and SB Technology Showcase 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The event showcased work going on at Imperial in the area of Engineering Biology. The event was hosted by the Synthetic Biology Hub and the Industrial Biotechnology Hub. Keynote talk on UK Government Strategy for Engineering Biology was Professor Janet Bainbridge OBE, and were further presentations from leaders in the field from industry and Imperial.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsandeventspggrp/imperialcollege/eventssummary/event_9-5-2017-11-29-54
 
Description Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact In January 2016 and 2017 the KTN ran a series of workshops for innovators and researchers to engage with Innovate UK and the Research Councils and share thoughts on what the challenges addressed by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund might be. Professor Richard Kitney and Dr Steve Chambers attended.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017
URL https://www.ktn-uk.co.uk/articles/ktn-to-run-series-of-industrial-strategy-challenge-fund-workshops
 
Description Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Engagement Workshop: London 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Innovate UK held an Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Engagement Workshop. The aim of this workshop was to:
1. develop the evidence base for each of a number of already identified challenge areas,
2. identify some of the specific challenges within these areas which would particularly benefit from government intervention,
3. and to gather suggestions for further broad challenges, and the evidence for them.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://ktn-uk.co.uk/events/industrial-strategy-challenge-fund-engagement-workshop-london
 
Description Innovation in Synthetic Biology 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact TO BE COMPLETE - RIK AND SC ATTENDED - AT UCL
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Interview with Beth Baker - American Institute of Biological Sciences 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Dr Stephen Chambers, SynbiCITE's CEO was interviewed for an article on the new bioeconomy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/bix101
 
Description Kenyan Workshop to Establish UK/East African Collaborations in Practical Synthetic Biology, Nairobi 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Meeting objectives included: Develop programmes on synthetic biology research and training; identify practical applications for synthetic biology solutions and biotechnologies; establish networks and solutions on synthetic biology between Eastern African and UK researchers; facilitate communication, information exchange and education on synthetic biology. This meeting was financially supported by UKRI and specifically by BBSRC, as part of ongoing efforts to interact and inform upcoming RI funding Calls.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Leadership Excellence Accelerator Programme (LEAP) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Each year about twenty Fellows - emerging leaders working in diverse areas of biotechnology - are selected to participate.

LEAP envisions catalysing a next generation of leaders in synthetic biology by providing the environment to learn skills for engaging a broad range of stakeholders in the development of the field with a strong ethical foundation for the future.
LEAP does this by:
Investing in the individuals who will ultimately shape and govern this diverse, growing and globally distributed technology.
Providing them with new tools and networks essential to achieving their visions for promoting innovation responsibly in practice.
Acting as a sustaining nexus of resources and support as leaders assume their roles.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016,2017
URL http://www.synbicite.com/knowledge/leap/
 
Description Lean Launchpad 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The Lean Launchpad for Synthetic Biology course is a 10-week long programme for those looking to commercialise their research. The programme is an ideal pre-accelerator environment for helping students, academic and industrial researchers, and pre-seed companies identify their customers, interview them to get insights about the opportunity, and help them build the right product for these customers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016
URL http://www.synbicite.com/knowledge/lean-launchpad/
 
Description OBN Awards 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The OBN Awards 2017 celebrate innovation and outstanding achievements across the UK life sciences industry. Categories are broad ranging and include biotech, medtech, synthetic biology, digital healthcare and investment. SynbiCITE sponsored Best Emerging UK Synthetic Biology Company. Professor Richard Kitney and Dr John Collins attended, and presented the award to Synpromics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.obn-awards.com/the-finalists-2017/
 
Description OBN BioTuesday - Oxford 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The topic of the evening was Engineering Biology for a Better World. Speakers at this event shared an insight into Engineering Biology and explored the current applications of concepts and methods of biology, that are being used to solve real world problems. They also addressed the associated opportunities and challenges of these new applications for the wider life science industry. Professor Richard Kitney Chaired this evening, and the event was sponsored by SynbiCITE.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description OBN BioTuesday: Engineering Biology of a Better World 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact SynbiCITE sponsored an OBN BioTuesday. The topic of 'Engineering Biology for a Better World' was addressed via a series of key note presentations. Speakers shared insights into Engineering Biology, and explore current applications of concepts and methods of biology that are being used to solve real-world problems. They also addressed the associated opportunities and challenges of these new applications for the wider life science industry.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description OBN Senior Executive Breakfast 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Senior Executive Breakfast Clubs are a unique peer to peer networking platform for life sciences senior executives with all discussions held under Chatham House Rules which ensures full, frank and useful disclosure. The topic was "how to navigate the US investment landscape", and included types of investment available in the US and pros, cons and regulatory considerations of each type. Keynote presentations from Professor Paul Freemont, Co-Director of SynbiCITE.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description OBN Senior Executive Breakfast 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact SynbiCITE sponsored an OBN Senior Executive breakfast. These breakfasts are a unique peer-to-peer networking platform for life sciences senior execs with all discussions held under Chatham House Rules which ensures full, frank and useful disclosure.
Discussions at this edition will address the topic of: 'How to Navigate the US Investment Landscape' and will include the types of investment available in the US and the pros, cons and regulatory considerations of each type.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Parliamentary Links Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact TO BE COMPLETED - SC ATTENDED
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Programme Expert Group member - Chemical and Biological Metrology and Advanced Manufacturing Metrology 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Determination of international projects relating to new metrology and development of standards for chemical and biological industries and advance manufacturing industry.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016,2017
URL http://www.tuvnel.com/national_measurement_institutes
 
Description Royal Academy of Engineering/SynbiCITE visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Visit of Chief Executive of The Royal Academy of Engineering and colleagues. The Chief Exec and 4 of her colleagues were given a tour and overview of SynbiCITE.....
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Singapore Trade and Investment Missions organised in conjunction with NUS and British High Commission 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The basic objectives of the meeting were to provide an overview of the field of synthetic biology and how it is developing, particularly from the point of view of industrialisation and commercialization. A purpose of the meeting was to stimulate these areas by providing a forum for a discussion about industrialisation, commercialisation and investment in the field, with particular emphasis on collaborative industrial projects and investment. Those attending the meeting comprised industrialists, investors and people working on the science and engineering of industrial translation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017
 
Description Synapse Connect Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Synapse is a student driven non-profit organisation in a the Copenhagen area that creates events, workshops and networking opportunities for students and young professionals with an interest in perusing careers in a life science environment. SynbiCITE, together with the Synthetic Biology Imperial College (SynBIC) organised talks with regard to synthetic biology in the UK. Professor Kitney spoke to the group and they were given a tour of the SynbiCITE labs. The Imperial College iGEM team gave a talk on their 2016 iGEM competition win.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description SynbiCITE/IET Synthetic Biology Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The IET and leading innovation and knowledge centre, SynbiCITE teamed up to bring the 1st IET /SynbiCITE Conference on Engineering Biology 2016.
Synthetic biology is a young and interdisciplinary field of research in the life sciences. It is already revolutionising a number of fields using tools and concepts from physics, engineering and computer science to build new biological systems. The Conference on Engineering Biology 2016 provided a focal point for the international synthetic biology community to congregate and share cutting edge research in synthetic biology and how these findings are being commercialised and adopted by industry.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://conferences.theiet.org/synthetic-conference/about/index.cfm
 
Description Synthetic Biology Industrial Translation Showcase 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact This event imarked a significant milestone in SynbiCITE's history. Over the last four years SynbiCITE has played a leading role in successfully putting UK synthetic biology/engineering biology on the agenda for industry, investors and policy makers - as a technology that can make a significant economic impact and a positive difference to the world.
World-leading speakers from industry, academia, investors and government participated in the meeting. They delivered fresh insights on the future of engineering biology, its relevance to the UK economy, and the impact our leading businesses are making on the future of health, agriculture, manufacturing, biofuels, water purification and pharmaceutical & medical technologies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.synbicite.com/news-events/events/synbio-industrial-translation-showcase/
 
Description Synthetic Biology: Does industry get it? Conference at The Royal Society 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professor Paul Freemont was part of the organising committee for this event. The conference provided an honest and open appraisal of how industry is using synthetic biology, acknowledging successes and strengths and also looked at where there are weaknesses or potential risks. Speakers included senior scientists from big industry and academia, who described what challenges they believed synthetic biology can solve.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://royalsociety.org/~/media/events/2017/02/tof-synbio/synthetic-biology-post-conference-report....
 
Description Workshop to establish UK East African collaborations in practical synthetic biology - Nairobi 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact To establish UK East African collaborations in practical synthetic biology
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017