Glasgow Polyomics celebrates industry collaboration

Issued: Fri, 05 Oct 2018 13:31:00 BST

The team at Glasgow Polyomics are building strong partnerships with industry, helping to apply academic expertise within an industrial setting.

Working with industrial biotechnology company Ingenza, and with funding from the Technology Strategy Board (now known as Innovate UK), Professor Mike Barratt and Dr Karl Burgess have developed the first use of metabolomics to facilitate strain engineering.

The project created a wealth of data and the team realised that there was an urgent need for a platform – the Polyomics Metabolomics Pipeline - to analyse the information to help make intelligent decisions. 

Funding from the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), allowed Dr Burgess to create a novel real-time metabolomics system which can be used for the optimisation of synthetic biology cultures.

Dr Burgess said, “The system is a vast improvement on traditional methods of analysing samples and gives a more detailed account of the patterns of change in the fermentation process. We have worked very closely with Ingenza to develop the system and one of my PhD students is working on the software for the project within Ingenza’s fermentation department.”

The project is an excellent example of academic, student and industrial collaboration, using support from Innovate UK and the Innovation centres, to create new effective processes to give companies a competitive advantage. The proposal was rated as the highest to date from IBioIC, by a scientific panel including representatives from industry.

The real-time metabolomics system could potentially save the pharmaceutical industry millions of pounds if used for the monitoring of protein drugs. The system could prevent whole batches of drugs being lost due to failures in the biological process as it can quickly identify errors much quicker than traditional methods. The system could also have potential applications in the beer industry by supporting batch consistency and avoiding batch failures.

Glasgow Polyomics is forging new industry partnerships and is currently working with Scottish companies Marine Biolabs and CelluComp to investigate the composition of their waste products, with the aim to valorise by-products. The companies hope the outcome will be to generate revenue from these products or create a cost neutral solution to high waste disposal expenditure.