Cold Adapted Digestive Enzymes

Lead Research Organisation: NERC British Antarctic Survey
Department Name: Science Programmes


The work to be undertaken:
The independent consultant will be required to:
1) Conduct primary and secondary research to determine the commercial potential value to industry for cold-adapted digestive enzymes, which includes a high level, first look, summary of any existing IP.
2) Identify families of enzymes as primary targets.
3) Identify any competing enzyme products in the wholesale market, with an indication of their use in any consumer products.
4) Identify any barriers which may prevent adaption of identified potential cold-adapted enzymes by commercial enterprises.
5) Following primary research, conduct 10 interviews with the most appropriate companies, who may be interested to partner with us and test both the robustness of the identified enzymes and subsequent exploitation.

How will the commissioned research inform our understanding?
The independent market research will identify whether to continue with the planned development of the cold adapted digestive enzymes project by evaluating its commercial potential, and if so, which particular enzyme families to target in future studies.

How will the research shape the development and execution of our proposed Follow-On project work programme?
This report will inform whether BAS/UCam/NERC should continue to invest in the development of cold adapted enzymes for commercial use and it will provide guidance as to which enzyme classes provide the most commercially relevant targets. This will inform on how we target the research in the future and shape the development of the Follow-On Pathfinder bid next year.

Planned Impact

We anticipate that the development of novel cold adapted digestive enzymes will have a variety of societal, economic and environmental impacts, namely that the substitution of cold adapted enzymes in industrial processing systems that work more efficiently at lower temperatures than the current temperate/tropical enzymes will reduce the amount of energy required in industrial processes. It should be emphasized that Antarctic cold-adapted proteins do not need to be used at 0 degrees C to be effective (which would be costly in terms of energy needed for refrigeration of manufacturing processes). Antarctic proteins have been shown to work at standard room temperatures, but importantly they work more efficiently at lower temperatures and are more labile at higher temperatures; it is this increase in efficiency and the ability to inactivate more easily, which we envisage as the attraction for commercial applications. We anticipate commercial interest from either the detergents or food industries, as detailed in "Beneficiaries". Hence cold-adapted proteins present greener and low energy solutions to current manufacturing processes. We would aim to exploit these enzymes via licensing arrangements with interested companies. Royalty income would be generated for NERC/BAS/UCam which can be re-invested into scientific research.


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Description This award was to fund a market research report on the "Evaluation of the commercial opportunities and applications of cold-adapted enzymes". The funding for this report was awarded to Ithaka Life SciencesLtd and the report finalised in March 2017.
Exploitation Route This report has been used to support an application to the NERC Pathfinder Follow-On fund in July 2017 (decision unknown as yet 19/09/17)
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology