The Technology Strategy Board and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council are to jointly invest over £4.5 million in eleven innovative research and development projects using genomics-based technologies.
The initiative seeks to highlight the opportunities created by the decrease in cost, and increase in speed, in high-throughput sequencing technology and to enable the development of new products and processes.
Will Barton, the Technology Strategy Board’s Head of Technology, said: “There have been incredible advances in genomics technology since the release of the draft sequence of the human genome just over a decade ago. There is considerable growth potential in genomic-using sectors and, given the significant role played by our commercial life sciences sector and our high-quality science base, the UK has the opportunity to gain a commercial advantage. The challenge for UK business is to capitalise on the opportunity presented by these technological advances, and I believe this funding can support and encourage this.”
Through accessing genomic information quickly and cheaply there are opportunities for advances in areas such as our understanding of healthy & diseased states, improving livestock & crops via selective breeding, the development of vaccines & antimicrobials and refining enzymatic processes. These areas can impact human and animal health, as well as the sustainable production of food and the production of bio-based products.
The lead partners of the eleven projects awarded funding are Anglo Beef Processors, Aquapharm Biodiscovery Ltd, Biotica Technology Ltd, Cygnet Plant Breeders Ltd, Ingenza Ltd (two projects), Landcatch Natural Selection Ltd, Limagrain UK Ltd, Oxitec Ltd, Population Genetics Technologies Ltd and Unilever.
The Technology Strategy Board will invest £3.65 million in the projects while six of them will receive investment totalling £936,000 from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Including contributions from the industrial partners, the total value of the eleven projects is nearly £9.2 million.